Dear Men: Please Don't Be An Ally. Be An Advocate.

4 Min Read

Dear Men:

You have heard all of the statistics before.

There are not enough women at the top, not as the CEO, not at the Board table, and not in the C-Suite. The glass ceiling sometimes seems like a concrete ceiling.

Women in middle management are dropping out of the workforce. There aren't enough women with sponsors to give them access to career opportunities and be there to help navigate their careers.

Women are still being told that they are too bossy, too aggressive, too confident when they ask for more money. Women are being told they are too passive, too timid, too shy when they don't.

Women are being told they can't be great mothers and great leaders.

Women are being told they just need more points on the board for that next promotion, when they have twice as many points as the men already.

Not enough women are being listened to and believed when they say: #MeToo.

And so Men, we have asked you to help. We have asked you to be allies. So many of you have raised your hands, been at the front of the line, have been proud to say, "Yes, I am an ally! I am here to help!"

But being an ally, well, it's just not good enough.

For the world to truly change for women, we need men to be agents of change. We need you to be advocates.

We need you to go beyond being allies — someone who sits on the sidelines and cheers when we score. We need you to become an advocate — someone who publicly stands up and actively fights to transform our workplaces. Because that's what advocates do.

So to all of the men reading this.

You want to help. You don't know where to begin. You feel anxious, unsure. You don't know if it's your place to do this.

We are asking you. We are giving you permission. We are telling you, you need to be advocates. Because if you don't do it, who will?

And so let me give you a place to start. Here are fifteen ways you can start being an advocate for women by transforming our workplaces, starting today:

  1. Make a public pledge to build a gender-balanced team. It doesn't matter how big or small your team is — you can advocate for gender balance. And influence others to do the same.
  2. Invest $$$ in external organizations for access to diverse talent pools. Second Shift, Society of Women Engineers, and Financial Women's Association are a few places to start. Invest your dollars with these organizations to invest in access to the pipeline.
  3. Actively work with recruiting to demand balanced and diverse slates for roles and work to hire the right person for the right role.
  4. Stop biased language. "She should smile more." "She lacks gravitas." "She is bossy and aggressive." Ask yourself — would you use that language to describe a male leader?
  5. Decline panel invitations where only men are panelists, and demand that women to be included. Give your spot up to make the point. Also, it's not enough if only white women are included.
  6. Be active on LinkedIn and social channels. Share your views by posting articles, commenting, liking, sharing. Don't be a silent advocate, show us and the rest of the world that you really are an advocate for women.
  7. Attend women's business resource group events, and try to bring at least three male colleagues with you. Show up. Be present. Engage.
  8. Fight for policies that impact us all: paid parental leave, mother's rooms, in vitro fertilization and egg freezing medical coverage, financial assistance for adoption, Milk Stork, phase back to work programs for new parents, offering resources to deal with teenage cyber bullying, job share opportunities, remote working and much more.
  9. Encourage women and men to take paid parental leave. Set the example. If you have the opportunity, take paid parental leave as well.
  10. Lead a mentoring/coaching circle for women. Offer your insights and guidance. More importantly, listen to the voices of these women. Learn about their experiences.
  11. Step up to do "menial" office work: take notes, order lunch, set up the technology for the meeting. If women are doing all the office work on your team, then intervene. Ask the men to step up.
  12. Publicly sponsor a woman. Use your political capital to help advance her career. Introduce her to other senior leaders. Get her on that taskforce. Put her name on the slate for a role she wasn't even on the radar for. Give her the access.
  13. Ask to be one of the Executive Sponsors for your company's women's business resource group instead of creating a "Men as Allies" group. Or join the business resource group's leadership team.
  14. Stop mansplaining. If you see a woman being interrupted. Her idea being stolen. A woman dismissed or ignored in a meeting. Stand up for her publicly — and not after the moment has passed.
  15. Stop bullying and harassment in its tracks. Don't be that leader who says or does nothing. And don't be that leader who waits for HR to jump in. Be the leader we need you to be.

Finally, find at least one other man in your workplace to join you in being an advocate for women. Ask him to do the above, and then do it together.

3 min read

Help! I’m Dating a Jerk!

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! I'm Dating a Jerk!

Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I've been dating my boyfriend for a year. After spending some vacation time with him and realizing he is not treating me the way I like I'm wondering — what do I do? I need him to be kinder and softer to me but he says simply, "chivalry is not his thing." I believe when two people decide to be together they need to adjust to each other. I don't think or feel my boyfriend is adjusting to what's important to me. Should I try to explain to him what's important to me, accept him for what he is, or leave him as I'm just not happy and the little gestures are important to me?
- Loveless Woman

Dear Loveless Woman,

I am saddened you aren't getting your needs met in your relationship. Intimacy and affection are important to sustain a healthy relationship. It's troubling that even though you have expressed your needs to your boyfriend that it's fallen on deaf ears. You need to explore, with a therapist, why you have sought out this type of relationship and why you have stayed in it, even when it's making you chronically unhappy? Your belief that couples should adjust to each other is correct to some degree. These things often include compromising and bending on things like who gets the bigger closet or where to go for dinner. However, it's a tall order to ask someone to change their personality and if your boyfriend is indeed a jerk, like you say, who refuses to acknowledge your love language or express kindness and softness, then maybe you should find a partner who will embrace you while being chivalrous.

- The Armchair Psychologist

Update to HELP! My Date is Uncircumcised and I'm Grossed Out!

Hi Armchair Psychologist,
Just wanted to let you know that your article was really offensive to read. Do you refer to women's genitals as: "gross," "ghasty," "smelly," or otherwise? Humans are not perfect, each of us is different and you should emphasize this. I hope that man finds a partner that will love and accept him rather than tearing him down. Which gender has a whole aisle devoted to their "special" hygiene needs? I can tell you it's not men.
With love,
Male Reader

Dear Male Reader,

Thank you for your thoughtful feedback to my Armchair Psychologist column. My email response bounced so am writing you here. I am so sorry I offended you. It wasn't my intention. I actually meant to be sardonic and make the writer see how ridiculous she sounded for the harsh language she used to describe her date. I obviously failed at this sneer since you think I meant to be offensive. Many apologies. I'll do better. Have a wonderful day and keep writing us with your thoughts.

- Ubah, The Armchair Psychologist

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