Advocates & Allies
Advocates and Allies are men committed to personal action in support of women and gender equity. Advocates and Allies programs equip men with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to effect positive personal, unit, and organizational change. Advocates and Allies programs emphasize men working with other men while maintaining accountability to women. Allies are trained men who promote gender equity through an emphasis on personal and local action. Advocates are allies with an established record in support of gender equity who dedicate significant time and effort to the Advocates and Allies program. Like Allies, Advocates are committed to personal and local action, but they also lead Ally workshops, organize Advocates and Allies activities, and work with women colleagues to set Advocates and Allies priorities and strategies.
Advocates & Allies enlists men faculty in on-the-ground forms of support for equity for women faculty and women with familial responsibilities and under-represented women faculty in particular, changing the locus of responsibility from lone actors to networks of men faculty who listen, learn, and act in response to identified issues. Both the CIMC and A&A programs create proactive processes for recognizing how local conditions—such as regional factors—impact lived experiences and for championing initiatives toward more innovative campus policies, practices, and resources around relations of race/ethnicity and caregiving support.
Figure 1 graphically illustrates the main components and processes of a typical Advocates and Allies program. This Word document is an accessible version of this schematic.
North Dakota State University (NDSU), through its National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Initiative, developed and implemented the Advocates & Allies (A&A) approach, a signature program designed to improve gender equity through the direct and proactive engagement of men faculty. The A&A approach includes:
Advocates, senior men faculty who educate themselves about issues of gender [in]equity; and
Allies, men faculty whom the Advocates train as proponents for gender equity in their departments.
These men serve as change agents, committing to be active and vocal proponents of gender diversity and equity specifically in terms of increasing the number of women faculty, encouraging the hiring and promotion of women faculty in administrative positions, and ensuring the fair and equitable treatment of women within their units.
Getting Started (5 Steps)
It is pretty easy to feel a little (or very) overwhelmed on how to be an ally for gender equity or how to start an Advocates and Allies program. To help get started, we recommend five steps for individuals and five steps for institutions. The steps for individuals are easily completed with little or no assistance. The steps for institutions may benefit from the assistance of experienced Advocates and Allies trainers.
- Attend an 2 hr Allies Workshop
- Take a few Implicit Association Tests, such as the Gender-Career or Gender-Science IATs: implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
- Watch the 10-minute video “5 Ways Men Can Help End Sexism” www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1ZctJat4pU
- Read the ASEE WIED Tips to Promote Gender Equity
- Begin a Personal Action Plan and write down the first action you will take to promote gender equity
- Convene a small campus advisory group, composed of women and men, to organize and oversee the Advocates and Allies program.
- Complete the template slides to allow custom Ally Workshop materials.
- Offer Ally Workshops to men campus-wide.
- From Ally Workshop attendees and recommendations of advisory group members, recruit and vet 6-8 men to serve as Advocates.
- Organize an Advocate Facilitation session to help direct and launch a campus Advocates group.
While there are many individuals that are involved with Advocates and Allies programs, the following are the lead contacts for the founding partnership members.
Dr. Roger Green (NDSU): firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.ndsu.edu/forward/advocates_and_allies/
Dr. Raj Raman (ISU): email@example.com
Dr. David Flaspohler (MTU): firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Steve Bertman (WMU): email@example.com
Dr. Canan Bilen-Green (Overall Partnership, NDSU): firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocates and Allies workshop participants provided decidedly positive responses on evaluation instruments*:
- A majority (92.47%) of participants either agreed or strongly agreed that their knowledge of unconscious bias and its impact on campus increased due to the training.
- A majority (84.03%) of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they would be able to implement new strategies to promote a more equitable climate on their campuses.
- Data from Ally Workshops conducted at two annual professional conferences reflect even stronger positive responses (93.33% - 96.43%).
- Comparisons of pre- and post-survey responses showed an average increase of 23 (range of 16-27) percentage points with 82% (range of 77-87) of participants selecting “Strongly Agree” in response to the statement “"I am personally committed to addressing issues of gender bias and discrimination experienced by women faculty at my institution” following an Ally Workshop.”
“Being an Advocate is as much a process of self-education as it is educating others, and so it’s both an advocacy group but also a study group.”**
* data published in Anicha, C. L., Bilen-Green, C., Burnett, A., Green, R., & McGeorge, C. R. (2020) reference included below
** Anicha, C. L., Bilen-Green, C., & Burnett, A. (2018) reference included below
Advocates and Allies Resources and Materials:
Advocates and Allies In the News
O'Donnell, G. (2019). STEM Fields Need Male Allies to Advocate for Greater Gender Equity. INSIGHT Into Diversity. September issue; Online August https://www.insightintodiversity.com/stem-fields-need-male-allies-to-advocate-for-greater-gender-equity/
Publications Regarding Advocates and Allies Theory, Model, and Evaluation Findings
Anicha, C. L., Burnett, A., & Bilen-Green, C. (2015). Men Faculty Gender-Equity Advocates: A Qualitative Analysis of Theory and Praxis. Journal of Men's Studies, 23(1), 21-43. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1060826514561974
Anicha, C. L., Bilen-Green, C., Burnett, A., Froelich, K., & Holbrook, S. (2017). Institutional Transformation: Toward a Diversity-Positive Campus Culture. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 23(2). https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/00551c876cc2f027,611065c054afe923,5444577e08b6079e.html
Anicha, C. L., Bilen-Green, C., & Burnett, A. (2018). Advocates & Allies: The Succession of a Good Idea Or What’s in a Meme? [Dispatches]. Studies in Social Justice, 12(1), 152-164. doi: https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/SSJ/article/view/1613
Anicha, C., Bilen-Green, C., & Green, R. (2020, May 19). A policy paradox: Why gender equity is men’s work. Journal of Gender Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2020.1768363
Anicha, C. L., Bilen-Green, C., Burnett, A., Green, R., & McGeorge, C. R. (2020). Just UnDo It: Men Faculty Addressing Gender Inequities in Academia. ADVANCE Journal, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/ADVJRNL.1.2.4
Anicha, C. L., Bilen-Green, C., Burnett, A. (under review August 2021). The Men Need to Be Involved: A Critical Frame Analysis of Gender+ Equity Narratives. ADVANCE Journal special issue in honor of the 20th anniversary.
Bilen-Green, C., Burnett, A., McGeorge, C.R., Anicha, C.L. (2013). Engaging Male Faculty in Institutional Transformation. Paper submitted for ASEE Annual Conference 2013, Women in Engineering Division. https://peer.asee.org/engaging-male-faculty-in-institutional-transformation
Bilen-Green, C., Carpenter, J., Doore, S., Green, R., Horton, K., Jellison, K., Latimer, M., Levine, M., & O’Neal, P. (2015). Implementation of Advocates and Allies Programs to Support and Promote Gender Equity in Academia. 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, Washington, June 2015. https://peer.asee.org/implementation-of-advocates-and-allies-programs-to-support-and-promote-gender-equity-in-academia
Bilen-Green, C., Froelich, K., & Wolf-Hall, C. (2016). Policies and Practices to Level the Playing Field for Women Faculty: The Case of North Dakota State University. In M. Sternadori & C. Prentice (Eds.), Gender and Work: Exploring Intersectionality, Resistance, and Identity (pp. 90-110). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. https://www.amazon.com/Gender-Work-Exploring-Intersectionality-Resistance/dp/1443889822
McGeorge, C. R., & Bilen- Green, C. (2021). Engaging men as allies for gender equity higher education: An evaluation of an advocate and ally program. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 27(2), 25–59. https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/ru/journals/00551c876cc2f027,6faa0b56537600ec,03cdfb0c3b4a3968.html
Examples of Studies Related to Advocates and Allies Model
Anderson, A. O. (2017). Men Faculty Engagement in Gender Equity Work in STEM: The Radicalization of "Doing the Right Thing". PhD, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. https://researchrepository.wvu.edu/etd/5103
Shoger, S. G. (2018). Engaging the gatekeepers: Empowering male collegians to promote gender equity in engineering. PhD, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. https://ezproxy.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/docview/2125437061?accountid=6766