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Dear Men: Advocate for Women, But Do Not Speak Over Us

Dear Men—

At every stage in your career, learn how to create and support diversity and equity. Advocate for women. Change can be slow, but you can be part of it. 

Ways to show up and create change

  • When you hear something, speak up.
  • When you see behavior, stop it.
  • When your peers make a joke, don’t laugh.
  • When your bosses forget us, remind them.
  • When you are leading, include us.
  • When you know something’s not right, act.
  • When your advocacy is criticized, breathe.
  • When someone says you didn’t do enough, learn.
  • When you are in charge, create space and change.

If you have the power to open spaces to women, create a culture for women to thrive, not just survive. Get us in the room, and we will get the job done.

Use your power, your position and your male privilege to create change and elevate those who are not respected, included and appreciated in the spaces you occupy. Make the spaces you occupy safe for all of us. The women you know may not want to be in those spaces, but many who you don’t know do.

On this journey for equity, remember that no one can do it all all the time. You will make mistakes. We all do. And sometimes you need to take care of yourself before you push against the system again. That’s okay. We do that, too.

Women’s History Month reminds us that women accomplish great things in all industries. As women, we welcome men who recognize the issues and work for change, who understand that we want doors unlocked, not held. Advocate for women, but do not speak over us. Accept that there are women smarter than you, who aren’t in the room because the door is locked. Help those women get in the room.

Sincerely, Women

Read more insights on inclusion from female entrepreneurs and the Innovation Women community.

About the author

Suzanne Drapeau

Suzanne Drapeau taught writing at the high school and college levels for 30 years and recently joined Carlton PR & Marketing. She spends her “free” time working/volunteering for the Hyperemesis Education and Research (HER) Foundation, where her main role is managing social media and building partnerships with other maternal health nonprofits. She lives in Michigan but hopes to become a digital nomad when her children finish their educations.

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