NOW Hear This

NOW Hear This: June 21, 2024 Newsletter

Message from National NOW President Christian F. Nunes


Greetings Feminists,

How does allyship build stronger ties among women?

An ally is any person who supports, empowers, or stands up for another person or group.

Allyship is empathy in action. It’s seeing the person next to us—and the person missing who should be there—understanding what they’re going through, then helping them succeed.

Allyship is learning by reading, observing, listening, and hearing other people’s lived experiences. Allyship is stepping up and stepping in as an advocate—even sometimes stepping back—so our colleagues can thrive. Allyship is also leading the change, taking action to correct unfairness and injustice. We remove barriers so everyone can rise and ensure no one is unfairly held down.

Allyship shows up in places where no one is watching, when there are no women present, and when there are no other allies in the room. Allyship speaks up and shuts down the comments and bias and asks why there are not women in the room when decisions are being made.

Allyship makes space for women at tables they’re not at. It ensures women are in the room. It uses personal privilege to make space for more female voices. It doesn’t settle for the status quo; it demands greater diversity and equality (and equity) in every room they are privileged enough to sit in.

This report from John Hopkins Carey Business School’s Center for Innovative Leadership reminds us that, “Failure to fully engage female talent in the workplace particularly in leadership roles is not only unfair on the individual and a waste of talent, it also has a detrimental effect on economic performance. Despite progress being made since the days of 1970s feminism, the private and public sectors are both far from achieving gender equality.”

The author of the school’s study of the underlying causes of gender inequality, Dr. David Smith, says, “Gender equality has stalled and will take another 257 years to achieve at the current pace of progress.”  Of course, we have no intention of letting that snail’s pace continue.

Tech executive Gavriella Schuster writes about becoming an ally and breaking through the gender equality divide here, where she describes a Ted talk she gave “about feeling invisible at work as if I’m wearing an invisibility cloak that I just can’t take off.”

Her recommendations include:

  • Connect | Make intentional connections with women in your network. Reach out and give women access to you and everyone in your community.
  • Outreach | Examine recruiting practices, hiring practices, and supplier selection practices. When you post a job, do you screen out candidates, or do you screen in for diversity?
  • Mentor | I would not be where I am today without the many men and women who have mentored me along the way. When you mentor, you blaze a trail for others to follow.
  • Empower | The most impactful thing you can do for another human being is to empower them—to lift them up and create an inclusive environment that gives voice to everyone and allows people to be heard and seen for who they are.

We can all do a lot to transform workplaces, open up opportunities, and be effective allies. That’s part of NOW’s essential mission—and what unites us as intersectional feminists.

In Solidarity
Christian F. Nunes