The workplace plays a vital part in achieving gender equality. But with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reporting a clear disparity between men and women’s level of pay and position in the workplace, it’s clear there’s still work to do — work that requires the support of male allies.
A male ally is a man actively supporting gender equality, which means they believe all genders should be able to access the same opportunities and resources with the same level of ease.
I think allies need to keep an eye open for any unconscious, or indeed conscious bias. We need to make sure that gender is never a selection criteria and that evaluation and assessment are inclusive. We should also not avoid the conversation if it is needed.
For me, it is as much about setting an example and role modelling the right behaviours, challenging the wrong behaviours and encouraging others to speak up and do the same, as well as being open to learning about the challenges women face and the role that men play in them (whether intentionally or not). And of course, being respectful, empathetic, supporting and understanding of the challenges that women face.
I’m a father to two daughters, uncle to a niece, and grew up in a family with values that supported women members of the family in all aspects of life just as equally as the men, so the behaviours I’ve mentioned already are important to me in my family life too.
Of course, I want opportunities for my daughters and other family members and see allyship as an important aspect of my role within the family. So, I do encourage the conversation, ensure there is space to discuss issues that arise and maintain a supportive environment – which includes challenging and being open to being challenged myself.
I hope that the behaviours we demonstrate now and the work we put into being inclusive in all aspects of life will mean that my daughters and their generation will have equal access to opportunities and be treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.
Hear how Spirit measure up, and what we’re doing in this space by reading our Gender Pay Gap Report.