In your opinion, what is the primary responsibility of a male ally with respect to challenging the status quo and facilitating the forward progress of women in the workplace?
Women have been traditionally disadvantaged, and the time to make systematic changes is long overdue. I value my role as an ally in this space, and in my opinion, there are some fundamental principles all organizations should be enacting to facilitate real change. It comes down to providing women and people from diverse backgrounds with meaningful and purposeful opportunities, giving them responsibility, surrounding them with the support they need to follow through, and validating their efforts.
We at Dinsmore have been successful in attracting very talented women with ambition and strong work ethics. It is incumbent upon the firm to provide them with the tools for success. When it comes to providing meaningful opportunities, women should be afforded equal access to situations where they can succeed. It is not enough to give titles or hollow recognition, you have to put women in positions of material responsibility and opportunity. Once they are there, provide proper support for their endeavors. Whether female or male, your colleagues want to know you are in the boat rowing with them and contributing to their career growth. It is also crucial to validate your colleagues’ successes. Validation is a huge part of being a responsible manager, coworker, and ally. Fair compensation and recognition of a job well done are a must, but it is also imperative to build on your colleagues’ successful efforts by promoting them for future opportunities with clients and in firm leadership. When a woman has earned her right to be at the table, she should be properly acknowledged and respected for it. Respect, support, and validation are absolutely essential and, frankly, shouldn’t require reminders in any setting.
Selfishly, when managers, coworkers, and allies respect, support, and validate the efforts of women in the workplace, the organization will be immediately rewarded with positive results and positioned to attract additional talented women in the future. It is the right thing to do and a win for the organization.