3 Tips to Hone Your Allyship Skills

Advocating for Women of Color / Honing Your Allyship Skills

A recent issue of Diversity Woman Magazine featured a poignant reminder that improving gender diversity for all women isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, making the workplace better for women of color must be intentional and inclusive.

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, the Women in the Workplace 2021 report, conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn.org., found that only 14 percent of companies are doing Allyship training. And as Minda Harts notes, “The report shows that Black women receive less support and advocacy from their managers compared to the white women who were surveyed.”

In the article “Improving Gender Diversity for All,” Dr. Sheila Robinson and the Diversity Media team feature data from the report which is based on research from 423 companies and surveys of more than 65,000 employees from 88 companies.The report highlighted an allyship gap among women:

Women in the Workplace 2021, conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn.org. Diversity Woman Media

  • While 80 percent of white women see themselves as allies, only 10 percent of black women say their strongest allies are white.
  • Women of color and white women value the impact of ally actions differently. Put another way, different groups would prefer different actions from their allies.
  • Women of color believed the most meaningful action allies could take was ‘advocating for new opportunities for women of color.’
  • For white women, the most meaningful action cited was working to confront discrimination against women of color if and when they see it.
  • Women of color also placed a higher level of importance on being mentored or sponsored by workplace allies.

This month, as we celebrate Black History Month, let’s remember to view allyship through different lenses in order to create inclusive and equitable workplaces.

Honing Your Allyship Skills

Here are three ideas to hone your allyship skills:

  1. Read the Improving Gender Diversity for All article and discuss the findings as a team.
  2. Have your team listen to my podcast interview with Dr. Sheila Robinson or Minda Harts and jot down a couple of notes on key takeaways. During the meeting, discuss their findings.
  3. Complete the “Self-Check” below.


  • Have you had a private conversation with a woman of a background different from your own to ask about her experience in your company and industry? If not, reach out in order to listen, learn and understand.
  • Take the Gender Advocacy Assessment to get a better sense of how you put your personal beliefs into action on a daily basis. As you take the test, answer the questions from your point of view on advocating for women of color.
  • Channel your intentions into daily actions. Check out the Actions of Advocates for steps to leverage your sphere of influence.