Light Reading's Women in Comms initiative to provide information, networking, mentorship, access to jobs and support for women in the next-gen communications industry was never really just about women. Supporting, empowering and promoting women in the workplace is an everybody issue.
It's good for business, it's good for culture and it's good for everyone when companies make diversity and inclusion a top priority. But, even for men in the industry who recognize this (which we know is many of you despite what past incidents like that ex-Google engineer's manifesto suggests), it can be hard to know how to best be an ally to the women in your company. Yet, it's so important you do so! Women in comms need you on our side -- it's really the only way we'll see true and lasting change in our industry. (See Google Fires Engineer Over Gender Manifesto.)
In preparing for WiC's upcoming networking luncheon on this very subject -- why male allies matter -- I came across a great resource for men in the tech industry that provides actionable, easy ways for them to support their female colleagues. The site, Male Allies, even has a Bingo card you can use to master tech diversity. (The site's author tells me the card was created as a positive spin on a Bad Ally Bingo game the Union of Concerned Feminists made for unhelpful things men like to say at conferences. like name dropping Sheryl Sandberg.)
The site's Twitter handle and newsletter also offers daily doses of wisdom for men in the industry on how they can be allies, including things like:
- Pledge to call out statements offensive to women, even if there aren't any women in the room.
- Amplify the voices of women and underrepresented people in meetings and on social media.
- Listen to female co-workers, and believe them even if you've never experienced the same thing.
- Give women and underrepresented people promotion-worthy assignments.
- Don't exclude members of the opposite sex from invitations to out-of-the-office activities, but give options.
These are some of the ideas that we will be discussing over lunch with our Women in Comms members and their male allies at our next networking event in the UK on Nov. 1. We are thrilled to have some incredible speakers lined up, including:
- Carolyn Dawson, the managing director of TMT at Informa's Knect365, who runs over 100 tech events;
- Catherine Michel, the CTO of Sigma Systems , who has built an impressive technical career in the comms space, including founding and selling a company, Tribold Systems, in 2013;
- Oliver Cantor, an associate director of Business Network & Security Solutions at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), who focuses on SDN and NFV and advises companies on digital transformation;
- and Neil McRae, a chief architect at BT , who has been driving innovation and leading technical organizations in the comms industry for over 20 years now.
Our panelists will speak with Light Reading's Editor-at-Large Carol Wilson first about why diversity in the workplace matters and why men should care about it as well. We'll also tackle how men can be better allies to women in ways big and small through mentorship, inclusive leadership, amplification and more. As always, we'll leave plenty of time for networking and taking your questions as well. If you are part of the people of comms, be sure to register for this free event today, taking part during Light Reading's OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV conference. Find out all the details and register right here.
— Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms