Exploring Male Allyship

Allyship is a key part of diversity, equality and inclusion and being an ally is all about supporting, listening, standing up for and making sure individuals have a safe space within your workplace and life.
In this #YesSheCan blog, we are going to be looking at male allyship, explaining what it is, why it’s important and giving tips on how to be the best ally you can be.

What is Male Allyship?

An ally can be defined as someone who is not necessarily a member of an underrepresented group but who takes action to support that group. They are an advocate is a person who stands up, supports and advocates for a social group they don’t belong to.
In the context of being an ally for women, male allyship is all about understanding the importance of feminism and doing your best to raise awareness of issues women face across the world. It also means treating women with respect and dignity, as well as helping to change the norm of traditional gender roles and harmful stereotypes.
A male ally is someone who can understand their privilege and the dominant standing they have in society to encourage, empower and showcase an inclusive attitude and behaviour for all women.

The Importance of Male Allyship

Male allies are important as they help promote and create a more equal society for men and women. Additionally, for men who identify as allies, it shows that you’re aware of the barriers faced by women and gives you a greater understanding of how to support the women in your life with whatever challenges they are going through.
Equally, it’s important to be aware of different forms of sexism, so that you can educate those around you, even if they don’t realise they are being sexist.
Allyship is especially important today, with the rise of sexist content creators, such as Andrew Tate, it’s essential to educate young men and those around you on how to treat women properly and fairly, as well as how to spot sexist content so they can avoid it.

How To Be A Great Male Ally

The most important step to being the best ally you can be is to listen to what women want. Don’t just assume that you know best on how to help women, even if your intentions are good, it’s important to pay attention to what women are saying about how you can help, so you can take the right steps towards helping out. 
Another way to be an ally is to be mindful of how women may feel by your presence. For example, if you happen to be walking at night and there’s a woman in front of you, she may feel scared by your presence. Obviously, you probably aren’t following her, but she may still feel uncomfortable or scared, just due to the amount of men that do actually follow and attack women who are on their own at night, so try to take steps to avoid looking like you’re following her like crossing the road for instance.
Additionally, you should also call people out if they’re being sexist, harassing someone or making them feel uncomfortable. This may be scary, as a lot of people are afraid of confrontation, but it’s important to make sure that people are stopped and can understand and be educated on why they need to stop this behaviour. This might seem intimidating at first, but it is greatly appreciated by women and also will discourage whoever was exhibiting this behaviour in the first place from doing it again.
This is most needed and effective, especially for your friends or people close to you. Their behaviour should not be excused as a ‘joke’ or remarked as ‘they don’t do this usually’ and ‘they don’t mean any harm, calm down.’ Again, we know this can be a difficult conversation to have, but speaking up can be the difference between enabling the attitude and damaging viewpoint and being a role model for creating positive change.
Amplifying women’s voices is important to being a male ally as well. This could be something small such as sharing posts on social media, creating space for them in your group or during a meeting or something big such as attending protests. However small an action it may feel, it has a massively positive impact in terms of raising awareness of gender-based issues and creating genuine change in societal attitudes towards women.
Another important step is to showcase other male allies and role models. Alone you can make small changes, but together with other allies, you can make bigger and widespread shifts in society. We recommend looking at some of the stories from #YesSheCan male allies on our blog here.
When you share and learn about other male allies, you will also naturally move towards individuals with similar values as yourself.
Hopefully, this blog post has given a helpful insight into the positive impact of male allies and given directions for you to be an ally yourself!

“Good allies learn, show empathy, and we take action in ways that benefit the people around us. Who wouldn’t want to be an ally with this definition? After all, we would want the same for us!”

– Vince Pizzoni

This blog was written by Tom McDonald during his work placement with #YesSheCan.
You can read more educational blogs from us here
If you’re looking for male advocates and allies, take a look at our Male Advocate blogs.

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