Research reveals surprising benefits for men when they fight sexism at

How one can behave like an ally

My colleagues and I examined these hunches in a new study published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinities.

We recruited 101 pairs of female and male colleagues employed in male-dominated departments throughout 64 analysis universities in america and Canada. We requested division heads to distribute our survey to feminine college members, and we then invited the ladies who responded to appoint a male colleague they work with usually to take a companion survey.


We requested the ladies to what extent the male colleague they nominated behaved as an ally, similar to by taking public stances on points going through ladies and standing up when he sees discrimination. We additionally requested ladies if they felt just like the colleague appreciated them—which is seen as a sign of inclusion—and the way enthusiastic they felt working with him.

We requested the men to what extent they thought they behaved as allies, similar to by studying up on the distinctive experiences of girls or confronting sexist colleagues. We additionally needed to know the extent to which they felt their assist for ladies helped them “do higher issues” with their lives and purchase new abilities that assist them grow to be a “higher member of the family.” All solutions had been reported on a scale.

Extra inclusion for ladies, extra progress for men

Slightly below half of girls rated their male colleagues as robust allies. We discovered that girls who perceived their male colleagues as allies reported greater ranges of inclusion than those that didn’t, which can also be why they stated they skilled better enthusiasm in working with them.

In different phrases, having men as allies in male-dominated workplaces appears to assist ladies really feel like they belong, and this helps them perform enthusiastically with their male colleagues on the job.

This sample has necessary long-term implications. If ladies really feel energized and included, they could be extra possible to stick with their employer—reasonably than stop—and try to alter a sexist office.

Men who had been extra prone to act as allies to ladies reported proportionately greater ranges of non-public progress and had been extra prone to say they acquired abilities that made them higher husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. This tendency suggests the likelihood that being a male ally creates constructive ripple results that reach past the office.

An necessary first step

Regardless of these promising outcomes, our analysis has a number of caveats.


Our examine discovered men and ladies usually have differing perceptions of who’s an ally. For instance, 37% of girls whose male colleagues noticed themselves as robust allies disagreed with that evaluation. And simply over half of the men who had been perceived as robust allies by ladies didn’t see themselves that approach.

But, men benefited from seeing themselves as allies whether or not or not their feminine colleagues agreed. And importantly, ladies gained from perceiving their male colleagues as allies, even when the latter didn’t view themselves that approach.

Our findings are additionally restricted given the small pattern dimension. And we don’t know what the men who recognized themselves as allies have truly accomplished, if something, to assist ladies. However which may be considerably irrelevant.

In the end, even men’s mere signaling that they wish to be good allies is a vital first step towards a shift in the best way many men have historically treated the women of their lives. We consider it additionally results in extra office equality.

When ladies understand men as supportive colleagues, it makes them really feel extra integral to the office. This implies start line for men who wish to be allies: discover extra methods to precise that assist at work.

Meg Warren is an affiliate professor of Administration at Western Washington University.