Sometimes, particularly when you work in a small supportive team, its hard to remember that women sometimes face different problems in the workplace.
As Startups magazine put it earlier this month “the Startup ecosystem is affected by patriarchal structures just like the wider working world” and we need the advocacy of supportive male colleagues to change that.
Here are 8 little tips to make sure you are part of progress and not the problem!
1. Go to the source
Just ask people in your team how you can help! By asking women, non-binary people, people of colour and other less dominant groups if they need sponsorship, mentorship, learning opportunities or anything else you can be of actual help. Make sure you are supporting those around you.
2. Acknowledge the impact of unconscious bias
Unconscious bias can have a huge influence on women in startups as well as in tech and understanding that is key. Research from the journal of social issues has actually shown that 'increasing heterosexual privilege awareness helps to increase internal motivation to respond without prejudice', so basically taking a moment to reflect on your privilege can be really productive.
3. Support women
Create mutually beneficial, cross-gender partnerships. Be a team, and make sure you are working together in reciprocal and diverse partnerships. Women working closely together with male allies create a stronger force than one gender pushing for equality alone.
4. Mentor a woman
Men are 50% more likely to have a mentor throughout their career than women so help close that gap by mentoring a woman. In fact, women with a mentor are more likely to progress to take on leadership roles, and as only 20% of startups are led by women, encouraging this progression is really important.
5. Educate yourself on what women bring to the industry
There are differences in what men and women bring to the industry, recognise the benefits of this. For example, take note of the differences and similarities between the way you and your female counterparts talk about yourselves or present to a group (if there are differences) and recognise that these differences help give a wider perspective. If in doubt, do a little research!
6. Speak up
Don't let gender discrimination or sexism go unchallenged. Make sure to report and challenge this sort of behavior to make sure it isn't repeated. Challenging this sort of behavior also publicly shows you to be an ally which is really powerful.
7. Promote your female colleagues
Advocate for them, celebrate their achievements, remember that recognition should be inclusive. Make sure your workplace is one where everyone is celebrated.
8. Create an inclusive environment
Make your environment inclusive and ensure it is a safe place for women to assert themselves. Remember that a male-heavy team can make it harder for a female colleague to contribute openly, be mindful and listen to them.
And remember, women do not need male saviours, they just need conscientious allies.