On February 2nd, Women & Hi Tech hosted our annual OperationAll panel to share messages about male allyship in STEM. Here are some of the perspectives, statistics, and observations shared by our panelists and moderator.
Prasanna Parthasarathy, CEO, Medvantx: In a survey I saw recently from McKinsey, only 8% of men thought their gender played a role in their not getting a raise or promotion, while 37% of women felt the same way. I am a fan of actions over words and we all have a responsibility to ensure our workplaces are a meritocracy. We have to ensure we are being humble and inclusive within our workplaces. You want to have all different ideas from different perspectives and the best and brightest ideas. I would also highlight flexibility is essential for all genders. Everyone should be allowed to shift their priorities depending on what is going on with their life so they can continue to flourish.
Dan Byrne, Associate Vice President, Market Access Diabetes Incretins, Eli Lilly & Company: Male allyship to me starts within. We have to be willing to admit and accept that we might not have earned everything we think we have earned. I can convince myself I am supporting minority people in the room, but if I haven’t taken the time to understand why I might not be hearing them or their approaches might be different, I’m not being an active ally. I didn’t used to remember my acts of bias because they didn’t happen to me. My least favorite word is “piggyback”—because it’s usually a man repeating a comment and then getting credit for it.
Darrick Hooker, Partner, Intellectual Property Counselor and Litigator, Barnes & Thornburg LLP: True allyship is hitting the reason women are underrepresented head on. There’s the aspect of coaching them in their work and giving them feedback so women feel supported and included. There’s also the aspect of elevating their voices and helping them to be heard in the workplace. You also must speak up against the stereotypes. If a woman in the room provides a suggestion, don’t take that and adopt it as your own. When women provide their diversity of thought, make sure it is attributed to them. Women are not powerless spectators—they are on the team to speak to their background, depth, and abilities and contribute to moving work forward.
Ben Phillips, Director, Audit and Assurance Services Group, Katz, Sapper & Miller; Treasurer, Women & Hi Tech: To me a male ally is any man that is willing to advocate and speak up as a force of gender equality. This can be sharing opportunities, sharing the workload, celebrating womens’ achievements, and simply being intentional with your actions. In any industry there is unconscious bias around who opportunities are given to. You can’t make assumptions about what individuals do or don’t want to do—if you’re saying a woman won’t want a project or opportunity because of her family life, well, have you asked her?
These are just some of the amazing insights and tips from the first half of the panel! Watch the full video on our YouTube channel here.