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Male allies can play a powerful role in combating chauvinistic behavior toward women but they can also unintentionally contribute to sexism, according to a new study from a social psychologist at Rice University.
"Helping or Hurting? Understanding Women's Perceptions of Male Allies" examines sex-based discrimination toward women in the workplace. Eden King, an associate professor of psychology at Rice and the study's senior author, said the research was prompted by an increase in the number of sex-based discrimination charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in recent years.
Lot - Research - Women - Sexism - Workplace
"A lot of research has already been done about how women can fight sexism in the workplace," King said. "What we were interested in studying was how men play a role in this."
King and her fellow authors evaluated 100 women of varying ethnicities, ranging in age from 19 to 69, with total work experience ranging from one to 50 years. These women took an online survey about male ally behavior in the workplace and were asked to recall situations when they thought their male allies were effective or ineffective in helping them fight sexism.
Researchers - Men - Allies - Number - Ways
The researchers found that men can effectively act as allies in a number of ways, including doing things to advance a woman's career (such as offering special projects or promotions), putting a stop to bad behavior by peers or simply lending support when they're asked.
The women surveyed described a number of positive side effects from having male allies, including feeling grateful, happy, confident, empowered, supported and more comfortable in their workplace.
Ally - Behavior - 'heard
"The ally's behavior made me feel valued and 'heard,'" one participant wrote.
However, the women answering the survey also pointed out situations where...
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