After sharing the ways in which they support women in the workplace, we asked a group of male allies to tell us how they continue this at home. After all, as a place many share with partners and children, the home plays a vital part in the progress of gender equality.
From sharing the mental load to supporting their daughter’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, their responses demonstrate just how varied the vital role of a male ally is.
How do you continue your role as a male ally at home?
Robert Hicks | Group HR Director, Reward Gateway
Maybe my wife would be a better person to answer this! But what I try to do is lead by example. I have two boys at home and they see both parents working, doing household chores, and being active in their school lives.
Being supportive of my wife’s commitments to work, hobbies, and growth is as important to me as mine are to her. Believing in equality isn’t just something I turn on for work, it’s just as important to strike that balance at home, and in every aspect of your life..
Thinking about these questions has made me realize the impact you can have if you just start with life at home. We’re not perfect by any means, but I’d like to think that when friends or family visit, and see how we run our home, they take that away with them.
Maybe the biggest aspect of ally ship I do is talking about what we do in this space. How diversity matters to me, and also why it matters to me. This takes me back to leading by example; if you do that, then you create small impacts that ripple out and not only help others now, but also in the future.
Rob Boland | Chief Operating Officer, Reward Gateway
I try to make sure my wife has the time she needs to do the things that are important to her. She works for a charity on top of her 8-5 job, so she is extremely busy and her charity work often has to get done in the evenings, but I know that her charity work is something extremely important to her, so I try to ensure she gets the time she needs to do whatever she needs to and if there is ever anything I can do to help, I try to.
Patrick Ahern | Vice President of Client Success, Reward Gateway
As the father of two young daughters, I have the chance to model ally behavior daily. Whether it’s helping my daughters understand what challenges they are faced with in their lives or helping them see they can be anything they want to be, helps them see I am supporting them. Maybe it’s me talking to them about typically male dominated industries or roles and helping them see that if that’s what they want to be when they grow up, they can. When I see instances where men are being the opposite of an ally to women, pointing those out so my daughters can be aware of the unfortunate behavior they may experience in their life which highlights I understand what they might face in their lives, but no matter what, I am here to support them.
Jac Price | SVP for Supply Chain and Manufacturing Operations, Abcam
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 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 about awareness, reflection, and practicing new behaviors daily.
Clive Evans | Head of Customer Management & Technology, Air Liquide UK
The behaviors I role model at home are similar to the ones I focus on at work. In the outside world people have less constraints on their behaviors. These sometimes include anti-female bias, ranging from hidden to overt. I am an ally to the women in my family by helping them identify situations where they are being disadvantaged and providing guidance on behaviors to adopt to try and negate this bias. I doubt whether my partner would ever describe me as a “role model” though!
Michael Stange | Global Head of Product Engineering, Iress
I acknowledge and am conscious of the roles my wife and I play at home as parents and as role models to our children. Our actions, behaviors and the language we use when we communicate play a significant role in shaping our children’s world view. We openly discuss topics such as sexism, racism and misogyny at home with and in front of the children, ensuring we are clear on our values and beliefs.
Our lives have been heavily influenced and shaped by our professional career choices and by the inherent community values. These have become convenient excuses to maintain the status quo of home workload inequality and habit forming. What I need to do at home to be an ally, is ask what I can do to be an equal partner and create a plan that works for us both and which seeks to ensure an equal and unbiased allocation of the domestic responsibilities.
Danny Vaughan | Head of Metrolink, Transport for Greater Manchester
I try to encourage my daughter to take an interest in everything, especially STEM subjects.
Stephen Rhodes | Customer Director, Transport for Greater Manchester
I see myself as an equal part of a partnership with my wife. I encourage my daughter to explore all career pathways — regardless of their stereotypical gender profile.
Anthony Murden | Deputy Head of Projects Group, Transport for Greater Manchester
I listen rather than offering advice — not just going into problem solving mode. I tell people I believe in them and listen to/recognize their qualities, which will enable them to realize their potential.
I don’t see roles as being determined by gender. I base them on personal preference and strengths, not gender.
Nick Gorton | Procurement and Supply Chain Director, Spirit Energy
As a father to two daughters, uncle to a niece, and part of a large family of successful women, the behaviors I’ve mentioned already [in the previous article] are important to me in my family life too.
Of course I want opportunities for my daughters and other family members, and see ally ship as an important aspect of my role within the family. So I do encourage the conversation, ensure there is space to discuss issues that arise and maintain a supportive environment – which includes challenging and being open to being challenged myself.
I hope that the behaviors we demonstrate now and the work we put into being inclusive in all aspects of life will mean that my daughters and their generation will have equal access to opportunities and be treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.
Neil Cooper | Head of Change Delivery, Vaultex
I try to facilitate an environment that doesn’t conform to stereotypes. Jobs are anyone’s regardless of gender; I’m as happy cleaning a toilet as a car and try to always encourage that as a mind-set and example. I have two teenage daughters who are strong independent young women and I constantly try to support them in thinking, challenging, and talking about fairness and gender equality in situations they face.