Advocates and Allies are men committed to personal action in support of women and gender equity. The Advocates and Allies initiative equips men with the knowledge, skills and strategies to affect positive personal, unit and organizational change. Advocates and Allies programs emphasize men working with other men while maintaining accountability to women. Our foundational assumption is that gender-equity is a concern across all our social institutions and that men play a central role in deconstructing (and/or perpetuating!) gender-inequities. Moreover, we acknowledge that gender is not experienced separately from other social identities (ethnicity, race, (dis)ability, citizenship status, Indigeneity, etc.).
The Advocates and Allies 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.
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.
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.
Our method is specifically designed for academic settings to support men faculty, in consultation with women faculty, in gender-equity efforts and includes two essential components:
1) recognizing the implicit and explicit intersectional manifestations of gendered discrimination and
2) effectively and systematically generating individual behaviors and institutional policies that interrupt inequities and foster gender justice.
The Advocates and Allies initiative was developed through our National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE FORWARD Institutional Transformation Project (HRD-0811239) and is a signature program designed to improve gender equity through the direct and proactive engagement of men faculty.
Although our Advocates and Allies approach was developed by a cohort of NDSU faculty and administrators, we acknowledge the essential work of numerous community-based social justice groups that provided crucial grounding for the program in the Journal article, Cali Anicha, Canan Bilen-Green, Ann Burnett. NDSU ADVANCE FORWARD Advocates & Allies: The Succession of a Good Idea or What’s in a Meme? July 2018. Studies in Social Justice 12(1):152-164.