20 Ways to Be an Effective Male Ally

20 Ways to Be an Effective Male Ally

By Megan Dalla-Camina, Women Rising Founder & CEO

We encourage you to share this article with your male manager, colleagues, team or partner. 

One of the most critical factors in women’s career success and breaking through barriers for gender diversity, is the prevalence and effectiveness of male allies.

Harvard Business Review defines male allies as members of an advantaged group committed to building relationships with women, expressing as little sexism in their own behaviour as possible, understanding the social privilege conferred by their gender, and demonstrating active efforts to address gender inequities at work and in society.

Men stepping up alongside women as effective male allies are a critical piece of the puzzle to enable more equal workplaces for all. In fact, we can’t do this without them.

The ally continuum model from Jennifer Brown is a model that can be applied to any type of allyship and is highly relevant for this work around male allyship. Take a moment and think about where you are on this continuum.



1. Listen and Empathise: Actively listen to the experiences and challenges faced by your female colleagues. Educate yourself on gender equality issues through reading and research, fostering a deeper understanding.

2. Mentorship for Growth: Offer valuable mentorship to women in your team, providing guidance and support to nurture their professional development and advancement.

3. Amplify Voices: In meetings and discussions, proactively amplify and acknowledge women's ideas and contributions, ensuring their voices are heard and respected.

4. Challenge Unconscious Biases: Identify and challenge unconscious biases that may exist in your workplace, both within yourself and among others, to create a more inclusive environment.

5. Advocate for Opportunities: Advocate for and sponsor talented female team members, offering them opportunities to lead visible projects and achieve career growth.

6. Achieve Pay Equity: Ensure gender pay parity within your team by examining and addressing any existing disparities, promoting fairness and equality.

7. Promote Inclusive Discussions: Encourage diverse perspectives in all discussions and decision-making processes, fostering an inclusive and enriching work environment.

8. Be an Ally in Action: Be vigilant and vocal in calling out inappropriate behavior or interruptions that may silence women in meetings, promoting a culture of respect.

9. Supportive Work Culture: Advocate for family-friendly policies and initiatives that promote work-life balance, supporting the well-being of all team members.

10. Empower Leadership: Champion and endorse women for leadership roles and promotions, empowering them to take on key responsibilities and excel in their careers.

11. Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of female colleagues, promoting a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

12. Sponsorship for Visibility: Actively sponsor women to represent the team in external events or industry platforms, boosting their visibility and recognition.

13. Address Gender Representation: Analyse and address gender representation in your organisation, advocating for a diverse workforce at all levels.

14. Encourage Continuous Learning: Promote ongoing learning and development opportunities for women, supporting their professional growth.

15. Implement Flexible Policies: Advocate for flexible work arrangements to accommodate varying needs and responsibilities.

16. Recognise Privilege: Reflect on your own privilege and power, considering how it may have influenced your career opportunities.

17. Create Safe Spaces: Establish safe spaces for open discussions on gender-related issues, encouraging dialogue and learning.

18. Evaluate Hiring Processes: Review and improve hiring processes to eliminate bias and ensure fair opportunities for all applicants.

19. Recognise Intersectionality: Be aware of intersectionality in your approach, considering the unique challenges faced by women from diverse backgrounds.

20. Lead by Example: Demonstrate gender-inclusive behaviours and attitudes, inspiring others to follow suit and create a workplace where gender equality thrives.

Remember, being an effective male ally requires ongoing effort and dedication to create positive change in the workplace. By taking these actions, you contribute to a more equitable and supportive environment for everyone.


Take action today:

If you found this helpful and you’re committed to improving the workplace for women and creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all, then take these actions today:

  1. Join the 8-week Male Allies program to get the training, coaching and peer support to be a more effective male ally.
  2. Register the women in your team or business for the Women Rising program. Open to women in all roles, levels and sectors globally.

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