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Women & Hi Tech's OperationALL: Advocates for Gender Equity

11/18/2020 5:00 PM | Anonymous

On November 5, 2020, Women & Hi Tech hosted its 3rd Annual OperationALLTM, an event uniquely tailored for men and focused on improving and increasing diversity and gender inclusion in the STEM community. Facilitated by author and TEDx speaker Julie Kratz, this virtual workshop included a robust discussion with actionable tools and strategies for giving and receiving candid feedback, the importance of challenging people equally, and how to coach women and those who are different from yourself.

In a recent Executive Women’s Forum, we covered leveraging the gift of feedback, how to validate and ensure advice and feedback is consistent and on point with opportunities to improve, and how to convert feedback into a game plan for personal growth. But as Julie points out, women are less likely to receive candid feedback and are more likely than men to experience micro-aggressions, negatively affecting how and what feedback is provided (e.g., Potential vs. Performance gender bias). The workshop highlighted fears that can often be the root of providing candid feedback and challenged participants to evaluate how candid they are in giving feedback to women.

Breakout sessions throughout the workshop provided a safe space for men to discuss providing candid feedback to women and to practice various frameworks and models to build their skills. What became apparent by the end of the workshop is that leaders with good coaching skills applied equally to everyone net the most positive results for their organizations. Coaching focuses forward with the goal of changing future actions and behaviors based on the goals we want to achieve. Using coaching models like the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, Will) not only provide a strong framework for providing feedback, they also provide the opportunity for men to learn new perspectives from women and to embrace and encourage free thinking within their organization.

The roots of gender bias are buried deeply within our culture and work environments. In many cases, men (and women) are unaware of micro-aggressions and how unequally challenging women prevents women from excelling and negatively impacts their self-esteem and career potential. We host this event annually to continue to inform, support and engage our male allies in our mission to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.

We are grateful to our male allies who attended this year’s event, whether for the first time or in addition to past OperationALL events. We encourage all gender identities to become members of Women & Hi Tech, and to attend our events and engage with the other professionals and students committed to gender equality in STEM fields.

We also recognize the importance of the women who attend these events to help better understand how to engage our male allies – thank you! As Julie Kratz states in the introduction of her book One: How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality, “This is not a tug of war; it’s not a zero sum game. We all stand to benefit when we welcome men into the conversation. Women are not going to solve this problem alone. We need the support of men to win together.”


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