Male allyship may be instrumental in advancing gender equity, a new report from a University of Texas at Austin researcher suggests.
Insiya Hussain, an assistant professor at the McCombs School of Business, posed a range of questions — with help from University of Maryland and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill colleagues — to 3,234 survey-takers. The questions dealt with various gender equity initiatives, ranging including L&D for women regarding salary negotiation and recruiting best practices so that at least 50% of candidates for leadership positions are women.
While the research appears to deal only with binary concepts of gender, as in just men and just women, the results advocated for mixed-gender coalitions for inclusion as opposed to women-only or men-only advocacy committees.
According to the report, mixed-gender groups, with the inclusion of men, “were able to signal that gender equity is an important issue for the organization,” a press release for the report said. In turn, the participation of women signaled “that they had the right to speak up about gender equity issues.”
Hussain’s findings harken back to a 2022 SHRM Inclusion session on how White men can be better allies. Acknowledging that microaggressions, despite the name, cause major damage to marginalized people’s psyche, the session presenter also underscored that these “subtle” acts of exclusion don’t always feel subtle.
That subtlety, the presenter continued, is typically what enables these harmful moments to “keep flying under the radar and keep happening.” Another takeaway from that SHRM Inclusion session: More than turning a critical lens inward, White men should also take accountability for their actions. Instead of defensiveness, lead with empathy and understanding — and use difficult conversations as an opportunity to grow.