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The Seven Ally Tips


We have lots of male AVA followers and we’d like to share some great tips on how you can be an ally to women in the workplace.

The top seven:

1. Include Women

Reduce belonging uncertainty among women by inviting them to all work-related gatherings. Don’t allow a woman to be left off an important invite list. During a meeting, if a woman’s ideas are being shared or her clients being discussed, push back and ask for an adjournment until she can be present.

2. Listen Generously

Listen to women with the intent to understand, demonstrate empathy and validate their experience — not fix their problems. Be a patient, willing and reliable sounding board.

3. Assume Women Are Capable and Competent (Then, Stop Assuming)

Scrutinize your automatic — often false — assumptions about women, including what they might want (or not want) to pursue in their personal lives and careers. Then, deliberately signal clear assumptions that they are talented and competent, and make these assumptions transparent in the workplace.

4. Decenter

Intentionally step out of central roles; make physical space for women in meetings. Step out of the spotlight, handing women the mic, and calling out their expertise and publicly asking for their input is a terrific way to ensure that more women are included and heard.

5. “See Something, Say Something”

Practice vigilance in sifting the workplace environment for sexist comments and behavior; then, be clear and decisive in shutting it down. Remember that bystander paralysis sets in within seconds following a harassing comment or sexist joke. Break this paralysis by immediately noting what didn’t land the right way with you.

6. Sponsor Talented Women Loudly

Women don’t receive as much sponsorship as men. Talk about talented women publicly — even when they’re not around — and call out their talent, achievements, and preparedness for opportunities. Share your own social capital to recommend women for stretch assignments on the basis of potential, not experience.

7. Engage in Women’s Initiatives and Inclusion Events

Participate in gender inclusion events and women’s conferences. Then show up with a genuine learning orientation, and ask how you can most effectively support efforts toward gender inclusion and equity in your organization.

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