How Men Can Be Allies

Although men want to be allies and to show their support they are feeling unsure how to do this. They do not want to make missteps or cause offense. Many men are trying to adapt and understand the pervasiveness of sexual harassment as well as unequal access to opportunity. For some, this may be the first time they are starting to grapple with this reality.

It is easy for women to get frustrated with men “that don’t get it.”  But we need to address this issue, and while the burden of educating men should not fall solely on women, we should realize they are trying to offer support. Just as women need safe places, so do men.

A survey done by cosmopolitan in 2015 found that 71% of women do not report sexual harassment because they fear retaliation. Bystanders rarely report the harassment they have witnessed. If we want this to change, we all need to take responsibility “If you see something, say something”. Sexual Harassment can be experienced by anyone, yet of the incidents of sexual harassment that are reported, cases involving women are more than double.

Here are 5 ways men can be allies

Don’t be a bystander

It is easy to turn a blind eye, but choosing to ignore it can cause harm. How many people remained silent for years, enabling Harvey Weinstein. If you see a coworker being sexually harassed, or hear demeaning or derogatory comments about women Say Something!

A simple “This makes me uncomfortable” will signal to the harasser this is not acceptable.

Stand up for coworkers even when they are not there

Being an ally for women means speaking up all the time, not just in their presence. Next time there is “just locker room” talk call them out.

There is a difference between passive and active gender inclusion.

Passive gender inclusion would be attending gender diversity workshops.

Active gender inclusion would be demanding respect for women even when no one’s watching.

Speak to co-workers directly.

Do not report sexual harassment without first talking to your co-worker.

Ask your co-worker how they are doing, tell them you would like to action and take their lead. Make sure they want it reported.

If they want you to report the harassment follow your company policy.

It often helps when people dealing with sexual harassment have a group that is supporting them.

Talk to the women in your life

The #MeToo campaign has led to positive outcomes; men are starting to realize how immense the problem is. They have taken the next step and have started talking to the women in their lives. This is fine, but remember sexual harassment and assault are traumatic, and you may find women do not want to talk about it, but checking in and asking shows that you are an ally we count on in the future.

This would be a time to check your privilege; this is the time to do your own reflection and the time to educate yourself. Educating you is not the job of women. Google can be a good source.

What is your company policy?

If your company’s policy is not clearly defined or training, you should talk to your superiors. Ask for training. Ask for a clear company policy. Ask for procedures on reporting.

Action #1

Reflect on your experiences and your beliefs.

Ask yourself:

If you’re unsatisfied with or unsure of your answers to any of these questions, those may be areas that can offer paths to greater education and awareness. Discuss these issues with other men who are not survivors of sexual violence.

List compiled by

Action #2

Design your own plan of action. There are several paths to dismantling sexual harassment and violence.

List compiled by

Action # 3

See Actions on Sexual Harassment Reforms

Action #4

Sign the Petition to End Sexual Harassment in the Music Industry


Defining Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment Training Doesn’t Work. But Some Things Do

The Reality That All Women Experience That Men Don’t Know About

Men—here’s your chance to listen to what women deal with since a too-young age. Here’s why #MeToo is a thing.

Dear Men Who Wish to be Allies: 12 Things You Need to Know

6 Ways Men Can Be An Ally To Women In The Battle Against Sexual Harassment Don’t tell us ‘not all men


Men paralyzed by #MeToo: Here’s why you need to speak up—and how

Podcast Women and Sexual Harassment – How to Be an Ally to Women at Work

Men, you want to treat women better? Here’s a list to start with

I’m a Man Who Was Sexually Harassed by a Woman

So You Want To Kiss Her During a Songwriting or Recording Session

On Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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