Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

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5 Ally Actions | Jun 22, 2018

Each week, we share five simple steps to take to create a more inclusive workplace.

1. Check yourself

This week, we collaborated with Women 2.0 to bring you 50 Ways You Might Be More Privileged Than Your Tech Co-worker. By creating this list, we hope to raise awareness about both the benefits and the obstacles people can face in the tech industry.

As you review the list, keep a tally. Note any items that surprise you and make you wonder, “Does anyone actually face this challenge?” Consider facilitating a discussion about that topic at your own workplace, perhaps at a team meeting or over lunch. Discuss ways you can be more understanding of people with less privilege, and how you can foster a tech workplace environment where everyone can do their best work and thrive.

2. Give wholehearted recommendations for women

When giving recommendations for women, we should show complete confidence. No hedging (“she might be good”) or faint praises (“she’ll do okay”).

Wondering why we’re calling this out? Turns out that in a recent study of recommendations for academic positions, letters about women included more doubt-raising phrases than those about men, and that even one such phrase can make a difference in a job search.

Unconscious bias unfortunately strikes once again.

The next time a female colleague asks us to serve as a reference, let’s make it a wholehearted one.

3. Don’t sideline pregnant women

Earlier this week, The New York Times ran an eye-opening piece, “Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies.” They reported that many pregnant women have been systematically sidelined in the workplace. They’re passed over for promotions, raises, and bonuses. And they’re fired when they complain.

There’s a motherhood penalty, and women are facing it before they even give birth. Managers often regard women who are visibly pregnant as less committed, less dependable, less authoritative and more irrational than other women.

We can do better, people.

4. Don’t just offer thoughts and prayers

This post by Nicole Sanchez caught our eyes and our hearts. She writes about being a leader during times of major events that have racism at their core. Think Latinx children in US detention camps. Or police violence against Black Americans.

Read it and think deeply about how you can be a better ally to colleagues during such times.

5. Make sure you have (and enforce) a harassment policy

A new study discovered, “If employees believe that their organization takes harassment seriously, then harassment is less likely to happen.”

While we didn’t need a study to convince us of the importance of harassment policies, it’s a helpful reminder nonetheless.

Does your company have one? Is it enforced? If not, send the study to the powers that be, and ask that they make it so.

One last thing

Our friends at Women 2.0 have a great weekly newsletter with insightful content. And we have to admit we’re a bit jealous of their graphic designer. Consider subscribing.

Becoming an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference.