How Your Leaders Need to Support Women as Allies - Innolect, Inc.

How Your Leaders Need to Support Women as Allies

Painting by Rebecca Ripley

With Women’s History month, we encourage you to gain a deeper understanding of the women around you. What is their experience in your workplace and how might you become an effective ally? With greater self-awareness, we can all learn to model behaviors and institute practices that advocate for women and others within underrepresented groups.

Numerous articles point out disparities women face. According to Pew Research Center, about four-in-ten working women (42%) in the United States say they have faced discrimination with pay, job promotions, getting credit for work performed, opportunities, being heard, etc. A recent book, The End of Bias: A Beginning by Jessica Nordell, highlights how bias not only blocks women from advancing, but also leads to their resignations. Organizations can’t afford the brain drain caused by women’s exodus.

Recent reports demonstrate that women have experienced greater stress, burnout and fatigue during the pandemic than men. In the last two years, more women—especially working mothers, those in senior management and Black women—have opted out of the workforce (McKinsey, 2021). As we strive to become better allies and create more inclusive workplaces, it is important to examine our own expectations and how unintended bias may lead to inequities for women—especially Black women.

While many leaders promote equity in the workplace, some don’t know how best to support women, particularly women of color. Since often the burden of proof is placed on these women to “explain” examples of and the impact of inequities, it can be frustrating. How might you minimize this frustration? First, be curious. Make time to read, listen, observe and learn how to recognize gender inequities. By doing your own homework, you’ll be more informed and respectful when asking what you can do to serve as a better ally.

Remember, developing new habits and skills takes time. You may make mistakes along the way. If so, learn from greater self-awareness and keep practicing. To learn more about how to serve and support women and other underrepresented groups, download our Allyship Checklist Activity.

For more information, contact:
Kittie W. Watson, Ph.D.
President & Founder