What To Consider As a Female When Interviewing At A Male Dominant Workplace

In the process of climbing up the ladder of the workplace, women face a significant amount of obstacles. Mommy-track narratives […]

In the process of climbing up the ladder of the workplace, women face a significant amount of obstacles. Mommy-track narratives and exclusion from professional and social networking are just two examples of structural barriers than prevent us from gaining access to the same level of opportunities as men. Another struggle is identifying allies who can help us shift the workplace into a more balanced environment.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Allyship is defined as a strategic mechanism used intentionally by individuals who strive to be collaborators, accomplices, and coconspirators. Allies are deeply invested in challenging and disrupting the status quo, dismantling systemic inequities, and shifting the power structure within an organization. Allyship is a practice that needs to be embedded within an individual’s sense of everyday commitment to equity. Thus, an ally must be invested in the larger goals of fighting for equity and be accountable for his actions.”

Men often sit in powerful positions, therefore male allies who stand behind the importance of equality in the workplace can be the ones who ultimately help us make the shift toward a more inclusive workplace culture.

Breaking Down The Barriers

At your current job or when on the search for one, there are a few ways that you can identify a male ally.

Scan the environment for indicators of growth and opportunity.

If you don’t recognize anyone from marginalized groups represented with opportunities for growth or in positions of power, that could be a red flag. The lack of inclusion could be a sign of weak allyship within the organization.

Harvard Business Review recommends you ask yourself:

  • Do you see people advancing, or is it a portfolio of diversity with high attrition and no clear path?
  • Are there embedded practices and policies that address issues stemming from gender, racial, and other forms of inequities?

Performative allyship is when individuals claim to be in solidarity with racial, gender, or other types of equity projects without actually committing to doing the work. Instead, they are doing surface-level work – social media posts, gestures, or statements – to protect their image and limit the penalties of their actions.

We’ve heard it since we were kids, “actions speak louder than words.” Authentic allyship comes with a genuine attempt to advocate both publicly AND privately for marginalized groups.

Recognize patterns in the details.

When trying to identify an ally in the workplace Harvard Business Review shared questions for yourself:

  • Does this person speak up in pressured moments, exercising their voice, deploying their privilege by stepping in and raising eyebrows to the inequities witnessed?
  • Is there a pattern of performance when it comes to public displays of support that do not add up to concrete results?
  • Are there people who are already in existence that have a genuine interest in advancing marginalized individuals? If so, who are these people?

All in all, a true ally won’t let their marginalized colleagues feel alone. They pay attention when someone is speaking, they respond in ways that challenge another’s privilege, and they step in when they notice something is wrong.

Your Voice Deserves To Be Heard

Don’t be afraid to speak up and make your voice heard. You deserve that at the least.

  • Don’t let failure ever stop you. Everyone experiences it but it’s how we deal with it that makes the difference. Learn to grow from mistakes or shortcomings rather than be defeated by them.
  • Your opinions are just as important as your colleagues. Don’t be overly apologetic for thinking differently. In fact, find an organization where thinking out of the box is encouraged.
  • Be involved. Don’t allow yourself to be placed on the outskirts of meetings.
  • YOU ARE AS CAPABLE AS ANYONE to do your job and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.