Advocates and Allies: Men Allies for Gender Equity

What is Advocates and Allies? 

Advocates and Allies are men committed to personal action in support of women and gender equity.  Advocates and Allies programs equip men with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to effect positive personal, unit, and organizational change.  Advocates and Allies programs emphasize men working with other men while maintaining accountability to women.  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. 

History of Advocates and Allies  

The Advocates and Allies concept was created by North Dakota State University as part of a 2008 NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant (HRD-0811239).  Based on success of the Advocates and Allies program, NDSU helped establish Advocates and Allies programs at Lehigh University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Maine, and West Virginia University.  In 2015, NSF awarded NDSU and The Ohio State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of North Texas, and the University of Wyoming an ADVANCE PLAN-D grant (HRD-1500604) to refine, expand, and systematically study the effectiveness of Advocates and Allies programs.   

More recently, NDSU-led Advocates have led Ally Workshops and/or conducted Advocate facilitation at other institutions and organizations including theAdams State University, the American Society for Engineering Education, Arizona State University, Auburn University, Bucknell University, Clarkson University, Clemson University (HRD-1629934), the Colorado School of Mines,Indiana University, the University of California Santa-Barbara, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Dayton, the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Pittsburgh,the University of Portland, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the US Institute of Theatre Technology,and the Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN).  In 2019, NSF awarded NDSU, Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University, and Western Michigan University, an Advance partnership grant (HRD-1935960), which includes a component to further establish and develop Advocates and Allies programs. 

Advocates and Allies – a Critical Component of THRIVE@ECU 

A core component of THRIVE@ECU, Advocates and Allies offers an intersectional approach to disrupting entrenched hierarchies The program recruits, trains, and deploys members of historically privileged groups on campus to interrupt and correct interpersonal and procedural biases “on the ground.” They are everyday agents of change, helping to shift culture, create accountability, and enforce university-level policies that formally prohibit biases. In particular, Advocates and Allies creates teams of men faculty and administrators to become change agents on behalf of women faculty in STEM, including the most marginalized faculty. This program is critical to THRIVE in several ways. First, it helps to correct entrenched power imbalances. Second, it takes the onus from marginalized faculty, who report feeling socially isolated and exhausted from fighting bias fatigue at work and in their communities. Third, it recognizes that lasting change requires ongoing interventions for including diversity. 

Launching Advocates and Allies at ECU! Register for the Workshop

THRIVE@ECU is launching Advocates and Allies through Men Allies for Gender Equity workshops.  The two-hour interactive workshop encourages and equips men to serve as effective allies for gender equity in STEM settings.  While the history of this program is in STEM, the concepts can be applied across all disciplines. First, the workshop will highlight East Carolina University data on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women as well as the importance of institutional climate.  Next, an overview of recent literature that helps explain why and how gender inequity occurs will be provided.  Lastly, concepts, vocabulary, actions, and practical skills to promote gender equity will be introduced and developed.  The workshop is structured as an interactive conversation with opportunities to learn, ask questions, and practice skills through scenario-based exercises.    

The virtual workshop will be held on March 19, 2021 at 10-12pm (Register Here) and 1-3pm (Register Here).  Men from all campus departments, including the health sciences, are encouraged to attend. 

Workshop Leaders

This workshop will be led by Dr. Roger Green (Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Dakota State University) who has conducted Ally Workshops at universities throughout the country since 2009.Dr. Roger Green is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Dakota State University, where he teaches, conducts signal processing research, and serves as Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Since its inception in 2008, Dr. Green has been a lead member of the NDSU Advance FORWARD Advocates, a group of men faculty dedicated to effecting departmental and institutional change in support of gender equality. As part of this group, he regularly trains men, at NDSU and other institutions, to better serve as gender equity allies. Dr. Green received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming. 

Roger Green

Dr. Roger Green

Dr. Robert Gordon

Dr. Robert Gordon will serve as the co-lead.  Dr. Robert Gordon is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University, where he also serves as Undergraduate Program Director; his research focuses on visual attention and on mental representations of scenes and objects. Until 2017, he was an Associate Professor of Psychology, and Associate Dean, at North Dakota State University. While at NDSU, Dr. Gordon was a member of the NDSU Advance FORWARD Advocates, working as part of that group to facilitate institutional efforts to promote gender equity. His efforts have included helping men at NDSU and at other institutions learn to work as allies for gender equity. Dr. Gordon received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999.


National Impact of Advocates and Allies 

Over one thousand men have attended Ally Workshops, and more than 90 percent of those who completed workshop surveys agreed or strongly agreed that their knowledge of unconscious bias and its impact on campus increased as a result of the workshop.  Similar strong majorities (>80 percent) of participants agree or strongly agree that they would be able to implement new strategies to promote a more equitable climate on their campuses.The WEPAN’s President’s Award is given at the discretion of the WEPAN President and recognizes exemplary accomplishment by individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to WEPAN’s goals and objectives.  2017 WEPAN President’s Award Recipient: North Dakota State University (NDSU) Advance FORWARD Advocates and Allies.