Male Allies: We Need You

I gave this lightening talk at O’Reilly’s Women’s Community Meetup at the Strata+Hadoop Conference, February 18, 2015.


A few months ago, the Grace Hopper Celebration took place. How many of you were there? Where Satya Nadella famously said that women should rely on karma for raises? Where men were invited to be on a panel about male allies? Well, ahead of time, there was a buzz about that panel. Why were men taking the stage away from women at this women’s conference, and if they were such great allies for women, why didn’t their companies have better diversity?

A group calling themselves Concerned Feminists created a Bingo card with phrases they expected to hear from the panelists, the phrases that would show that these men still had a long journey ahead of them before they became true male allies. They handed out the Bingo card to the attendees. And women started shouting out, “Bingo” as the panel progressed.

I was disappointed when I heard about this Bingo card. It caused the audience to focus on the negatives, preventing them from hearing what these men are doing to improving gender diversity at their companies.

Bingo card of phrases we want to hear from male allies in the tech industry.So, I decided to make an aspirational version. A Bingo card with phrases I want to hear from men in tech. Phrases that show they are taking a stand to improve diversity and not just paying lip service to it.

I partnered with another like-minded technologist, Cate Huston, and we crafted a new Bingo card. Kathryn Rotondo was our editor and designer. We created maleallies.com to host it, started tweeting the phrases daily @BetterAllies, and wrote about it for The Daily Beast.

Now, we need to leverage it. Please take a card back to your office and let us know if you use it to improve gender diversity. We’re collecting success stories, and we look forward to hearing yours!

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