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September 10, 2020

Becoming an Agent of Change in the Workplace

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After working in what he describes as a ‘homogenous culture with virtually no diversity’, Jac Price is now SVP for Supply Chain and Manufacturing Operation at Abcam — a WORK180 Endorsed Employer dedicated to creating a workplace where everyone feels encouraged and empowered. Here he is able to be a valuable male ally and play an active part in the positive change he wants to see for women in the workplace.

In our endeavor to help more men become male allies, we recently caught up with Jac to hear his story and see if he had any advice for aspiring male allies.

Why is being a male ally important to you?

While many people will point to business results as a motivator, for me it is more ingrained in my growth as a person over the last three decades. I came from a very homogenous culture with virtually no diversity. Women were generally expected into certain roles and treated differently.

Whether it’s been family, strong personal friendships, exposure to a very active Society of Women Engineers (SWE), or numerous professional encounters over my professional career — I’ve observed how structural norms impact women’s ability to contribute. I’ve seen how much harder some women have had to work to get similar recognition. I’m compelled to help be an agent of change to improve.

How can men be better allies to women?

One of the most important actions men can take is to become better educated on topics that impact women in their professional lives. Becoming much more aware of societal, structural (internal and external), and unconscious behaviors that impact women in the workplace will bring more actions oriented at systemic change. I think it starts with more awareness and then moving on to role model better behaviors.

What can a male ally do on a day-to-day basis in the workplace to drive gender equality?
I think an ally needs to be consistent in their approach to all genders and underrepresented groups while being adaptable to new learnings. Actions include adjusting language and stopping outdated, inappropriate colloquialisms; ensuring a safe environment for everyone’s inputs to be really heard; and double-checking self-behaviors for gaps. I know that I sometimes get it wrong, and I need to be humble enough to acknowledge and learn from it. I believe it’s a daily practice.

What are the behaviors you role model at home as a male ally?

For the most part, I’ve tried to make the roles that my partner and I play be as neutral as possible. This is probably the most difficult place to act as my partner is a stay at home mom. She chose to give up her professional career to focus on parenting our daughter. Additionally, my partner was raised in a similar form to myself where there was structural bias in the roles of men and women, so she is quick to fall into those patterns without awareness. It’s therefore important that I make time to try to help with shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. I also frequently tell stories of her regarding professional accomplishments and capabilities. It’s not easy, but I go back to the fundamentals of awareness, reflection, and practicing new behaviors daily.

Ready to find a supportive workplace like Jac’s?

WORK180 is here to help! You can explore a range of exciting roles with trailblazing Endorsed Employers like Abcam on our jobs page.

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About the Author
WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.