Becoming an ally to women is an essential step towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society. Here are our top 10 effective ways to support women during Women’s History Month, in both their personal and professional lives to work towards a more gender-equal future.
10: Be open to feedback
Being open to feedback is critical to being a good ally to women and promoting gender equality. It involves being willing to listen to women's feedback, taking it seriously, and using it as an opportunity to learn and grow. This means being receptive to criticism and willing to change your behaviour and attitudes.
09: Recognise your privilege
Men have historically held a privileged position in society, which has given them advantages and opportunities that are not available to women. This can include higher salaries, greater access to leadership positions, and more opportunities for career advancement. It's important for allies to recognise and acknowledge their privilege, and to use it to support women and promote gender equality.
08: Amplify their voices
In order to amplify women’s voices, allies can promote women's ideas in meetings and discussions, and give them credit for their contributions, for example. It could also involve sharing their work, such as articles, research, or projects, with your personal and professional networks. By sharing women's work and ideas, men can help to create more visibility and recognition for their contributions.
07: Support women-owned businesses
By supporting women-owned organisations and causes, allies can help elevate women. There are many organisations that work to advance women's rights and promote gender equality, such as advocacy groups, shelters, and organisations that provide support for women's health and wellbeing. By supporting these organisations, either through financial donations, volunteering, or advocating for their causes, allies can help to empower women and create a more just and equitable society.
06: Create inclusive environments
Creating a safe and inclusive environment is essential for promoting gender equality and empowering women. When women feel valued and respected, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work or community, and are more likely to achieve their goals and aspirations. By promoting a culture of respect and equality, men can contribute to a more just and equitable society, and help to create a better future for all individuals.
05: Share the household burdens
Sharing household and caregiving responsibilities evenly in the home is an essential step towards achieving gender equality. By sharing these responsibilities, allies can alleviate some of the burdens that historically fell on women. This can include taking an equal part in parenting, cooking, cleaning, and other domestic chores, which will not only free up time, but promote more balanced and fulfilling family dynamics, too.
04: Support women's career advancements
As gender-based discrimination limits women's opportunities for career growth and advancement, it's important for allies to take an active role in addressing this issue. One way to support women's career advancement is through mentorship. Mentors can provide guidance, advice, and support to women as they navigate their careers, helping them to build the skills and knowledge they need to advance.
03: Speak up
Calling out bad behaviour and speaking up when discriminatory events or situations take place is essential for challenging attitudes and becoming an ally. When you stay silent, it can suggest that you condone such behaviour, and it can allow it to continue unchecked. Therefore, by speaking up, you send a message that sexism and discrimination will not be tolerated.
Listening to women's experiences and perspectives, and learning from them, is a key part of being an ally. It involves actively seeking out diverse voices and opinions and being willing to listen and learn from their experiences. It's important to take these experiences seriously and not dismiss them as unimportant or irrelevant. For example, if someone shares an experience of sexism or discrimination, it's important to be supportive.
To gain a better understanding of the challenges that women face and how they can be supported, read books, articles, and blog posts written by women. This can provide insights into the experiences and perspectives of women, such as "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay, "The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir, or "Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Solnit can be a good starting point.