MoFo litigation partner Carrie H. Cohen led an interactive discussion on advancing women in the legal profession by engaging men as allies during Corporate Business Counsel Journal's "Women in Business & Law" event on November 21, 2019.
The panel, titled "Engaging Men to Advance Women in the Profession," included Moda Operandi General Counsel Samira Shah, former U.S. Marine and current CEO of ENODO Global James Sisco, and executive vice president of CNA Insurance Doug Worman. The interactive discussion's topics included:
- How men and women can work together to advance diversity and inclusion;
- How to be an ally, sponsor, and mentor while understanding the similarities and differences of those terms; and
- How to engage men in the conversation.
The panel was part of a broader agenda that included themes such as client engagement, collaboration, change, and compensation with regards to building more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Carrie, who serves as co-chair of the firm's Women's Strategy Committee and its Workplace Misconduct Investigations Task Force, was also a featured speaker at the 11th Annual Conference on Women in Law, sponsored by Ms. JD, and at the New York State Bar Association, Commercial & Federal Litigation Section's 2019 Spring Meeting earlier this year.
Carrie noted that being an ally is "more than just raising your hand and agreeing with the efforts of others. And, perhaps more significantly, you can be an ally to multiple people." She also pointed out that, while allies don't always have to be male, when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96% of organizations see progress – compared to only 30% where men are not engaged.
During the panel, Carrie explained how men can take a more active role in advocating for their women colleagues, referencing key points found in the ForbesWomen article "5 Things Men Can Do To Be Allies To Women In The Workplace." These include: genuinely listening to women's voices in way that inspires trust and respect, speaking up in meetings and behind the scenes, going where the women are, and forming a male ally group.
Carrie also referenced several excerpts from Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women – a book for men about how to mentor women deliberately and effectively. The co-authors David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson explain how profound and enduring the effects of mentorship can be on individuals and entire organizations. They also point to evidence suggesting that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men. Perhaps more importantly, the idea of male allyship is gaining greater traction every day as we get a better understanding of its importance and how to employ it effectively in the workplace.
Learn more about the many ways MoFo is creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace here.