Top 10 Ways To Be a Male Advocate for Technical Women | National Center for Women & Information Technology
1. Listen to women’s stories. Male advocates in technical workplaces identify listening to their female colleagues’ and bosses’ stories about their experiences at work as one of the key drivers for their advocacy efforts. The women’s stories alerted them to pressures and circumstances they might never have noticed. Let women know that you are interested in hearing their perspective if they are willing to share.
2. Talk to other men. Male supporters say talking to other men is critical. They raise awareness about why gender diversity is important, share what they have learned from women’s stories, and intervene privately to correct discriminatory treatment, as needed. They suggest practicing what you might say in difficult conversations.
3. Seek out ways to recruit women. Because men outnumber women in tech, women must be actively recruited. [See also: This study from the Anita Borg Institute on Solutions to Recruit Technical Women.]
4. Increase the number and visibility of female leaders. Male advocates recognize that having role models for a diverse range of employees is important for recruitment, retention, employee satisfaction, and productivity.
5. Mentor and sponsor women. While female role models are important, women actually benefit greatly from powerful male mentors. These mentoring relationships should be tailored to the individual’s needs, but two common suggestions are helping women navigate “hidden rules” in the organization and making technical women’s accomplishments more visible in the organization.
6. Notice and correct micro-inequities or instances of unconscious bias. Despite our best intentions, we are all subject to biases. When you see instances of unconscious (or conscious) bias in your organization, take action.
7. Establish accountability metrics. Effective male advocates describe establishing metrics to diversify internship programs, new employee interviews, hires, promotions, and even the make-up of project teams. When you make diversity part of what individuals are evaluated on in performance appraisals or for funding allocations, changes occur.
8. Model alternative work/life strategies. People in positions of power need to model work-life balance if these practices are to become respected and accepted.
9. Make discussions of gender less “risky”. Sometimes it is easier for men to bring up gender issues because they are unlikely to be perceived as speaking in their own self-interest.
10. Reach out to formal and informal women’s groups. Male advocates stressed the importance of requesting invitations to technical women’s meetings, participating in women-in-tech groups, and making sure that other men, especially top leadership, attend as well.
Abridged from the original. You can also download the full report here.