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5 Ally Actions - Nov 9, 2018

Better allyship starts here. Each week, we share 5 simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace.

Know someone who wants to be a better ally? Forward our newsletter to them. Received a forwarded copy? Sign up here to get 5 Ally Actions delivered to your inbox every Friday.


Push back on office "masculinity contests”

Earlier this week, Harvard Business Review published How Masculinity Contests Undermine Organizations, and What to Do About It. The authors share their research that uncovered four masculine norms highly correlated with organizational dysfunction:

“Show no weakness” - never admit doubt or mistakes.

“Strength and stamina” - celebrate endurance (e.g., by working extreme hours).

“Put work first” - don't let anything interfere with work, even family.

“Dog eat dog” - lack of trust coupled with competition between employees.

If your workplace culture has any elements of these masculinity contests, here are three ways you can push back and create a more functional organization:

* Encourage people to express doubt. Hold retrospectives on every project to learn from them.
* Don’t view extreme hours as a badge of honor. Leave “loudly” when you take off early for personal reasons.
* Treat coworkers as colleagues, not competitors.


Support women who ask for things they need to get the job done

Over on Twitter, we noticed this viral tweet by David Frum:

“A female friend just lost a job for being ‘difficult.’ As she narrated what had happened, it struck me: a difficult woman is one who asks for the things I get without having to ask for them.”

Let’s all think about the things we get without having to ask. Steadfast support for our ideas? Guaranteed promotion after a job well done? Co-workers who consistently trust our data or always assume our source code isn’t going to break things? Invitations to important networking events? Administrative assistance? Access to VIPs?

Whatever it is, now look around. Do underrepresented genders and minorities have to ask for these same things that we get without asking? And if they do, what can we do to support them so they’re not labeled as “difficult?"


Use stock photos of marginalized people in positions of power

Do you use stock photography on your web site, in blog posts, in presentations, or in training decks? It may be understated, but the simple act of using photos that feature people of color or members of other underrepresented groups can help disrupt bias in its tracks.

Need some sources? Here you go:


Make sure you know how to pronounce “Latinx”

Last month, Merriam-Webster added “Latinx” to their dictionary. Definition: a gender-neutral word for people of Latin American descent.

Given it’s gaining traction, let’s make sure we know how to pronounce it correctly:

\luh-TEE-neks. (Like Latina or Latino, but with an “x.")


Watch out for these “red-flag” phrases

We told you about this resource a few months back, and we decided it was worth mentioning it again.

We offer a mini-poster of phrases that should be red flags for anyone who wants a more inclusive workplace. Things like “That candidate wouldn’t be a culture fit” and “I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend anyone.” Download it, print it, raise awareness, start a conversation.

Becoming an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference.

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