Male Allyship for Gender Equality
"Allyship includes action and advocacy, crucial to creating lasting,
impactful change. It is a lifelong practice [...]."
Aspen Russell, "Attention Men: How to Be an Ally," Association for Women in Science.
Why Gender Equality?
Achieving gender equality is one of the most important tasks of our time. While numerous studies and reports highlight the positive benefits of more gender-equal societies for everyone (including men), ultimately this is, first and foremost, an ethical obligation. As long as roughly 50 percent of the world's population are subjected to discrimination, violence, and unequal treatment simply because they are female (or queer), we're neglecting our human responsibility for each other.
We support and commend all peaceful efforts to establish, promote, and foster gender equality at home, in the workplace, in our politics, culture, and media. Since the quest for gender equality is about raising the overall quality of life for all people – including men – men can and should support these movements as active allies for gender equality.
For us, male allyship is essential in achieving gender equality in our societies and world. In practical terms, male allies listen to and believe women. Male allies proactively inform themselves on the impacts and mechanism of structural sexism, violence against women, and other prevalent forms of discrimination – at the work place, in politics, in media or private life. Male allies recognize that women, girls, and queer people are (generally) subjected to a much more hurtful, violent, and structured form of sexism than they are – this difference is summed up in in the concept of male privilege. Male allies reflect on and question their own (past) behavior and seek to adjust it for the future. Male allies are active against discrimination and sexism when they see it or hear about it. Male allies speak up against sexist jokes or comments. And when male allies fall short of doing so, they try to do better next time.
For us, male allyship feels like a lifelong journey of listening and learning. And just because we publicly talk and write about it, host workshops and give keynotes on it, this never means that we fully understand this concept and are done trying. The contrast is true: we seek to appreciate every interaction we have, every conversation, every event we do as an opportunity to learn and grow, challenge and reflect.
Male allyship is a role for all men willing and interested in supporting women, girls, and queer people. Our work at HERR & SPEER is dedicated to activating more men for this mission. Yes, men can and should be feminist allies. It is the key to a more balanced and healthy life, the path to more successful, innovative and competitive businesses, and fairer and more inclusive political environment.
HeForShe Catalysts Germany
In 2018, we were called upon by UN Women Germany to serve as two of four HeForShe Catalysts (that group has since grown to six catalysts). The HeForShe movement is all about male allyship. HeForShe believes that we need more men who talk about gender equality with other men, who publicly promote gender equality, and act as role models for other (or younger) men to join the cause.
We are grateful for our fruitful and continued cooperation with the wonderful team of UN Women Germany on this and other topics. Please check out their important work in general here and their information on the German HeForShe campaign here.
Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) of the G7 (2022)
In 2022 we were called upon by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to serve on that year's Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) of the G7. The council, first established in 2018 by Canada, advises the G7 leaders on all matters of gender equality and gender equity. The 2022 edition featured 21 experts from 14 countries and was chaired by sociologist and author Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger. The GEAC 2022 developed policy recommendations in 7 areas – as, for example, in the field of foreign policy, financial policy, issues of care work or security – and builds on the commitment of G7 countries to make gender equality a key priority.
We made a focus on male allyship a central element of our contributions to the council. For the final report, Martin worked with the group on intersectional policy, while Vincent was part of the group on the caring economy. The final report with all its recommendations was published in late 2022 and submitted to Olaf Scholz, who chaired the G7 in 2022.
Our work on the 2022 GEAC was meaningful and instructive. It has broadened and sharpened our international view in the area of gender equality. We learned more about different perspectives on the issues at hand, the importance of group cohesiveness and teamwork, and policy consulting on an international and governmental level. This experience will continue to guide and support our work for male allyship and we are happy to support other stakeholders with our expertise and experience.
The GEAC Report 2022 – A shared vision for gender equality
Press Statement of German Chancellor Scholz and Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger (German)
Statement by the G7 leaders on the German presidency and the work of the GEAC