Forté Foundation Launches Men As Allies Initiative

AUSTIN, Texas, December 7, 2016

Today Forté Foundation announced its new Men As Allies Initiative to help male students benefit from, and get involved in, enhancing gender equity on business school campuses and to take that experience back to the business world.

The new initiative leverages insights from male ally programs started on 10 business schools campuses — including Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, and Columbia Business School — and is part of a growing movement in recent years to enhance gender equity in business and society, including the United Nations’ HeForShe initiative, Catalyst’s Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), and the White House’s Let Girls Learn.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of interest from men in getting involved in issues of gender equality on business school campuses,” said Elissa Sangster, Executive Director, Forté Foundation, a non-profit consortium of leading multinational companies and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women. “Many men have felt like outsiders and did not know how to get involved. Our initiative sheds light on what male MBA students can do to enhance diversity on campus, which will create a positive ripple effect both at school and when they return to the business world.”

Sangster added, “We may have reached a tipping point as more women are pursuing an MBA and more men are interested in supporting gender equity. While we are making great progress, and getting closer to 40 percent women’s enrollment at our member business schools, initiatives like this one that foster inclusiveness, will help us get to gender parity faster.”

The initiative, designed to foster the creation of male-led gender equity groups on campus, includes a new “Men as Allies” website, which contains a toolkit for male students at business schools interested in creating their own initiatives on campus to enhance gender equity, but who need more information to move forward. The toolkit includes insight on reasons to start a group and how to do it, what activities and events are successful, and how to adopt gender-supportive behaviors and work effectively with the Women in Business club on campus.

The website also features insights and podcasts of recent MBA graduates who played a leadership role in the male ally group at pioneering business schools that have walked this road and can share best practices and stumbling blocks. The podcasts feature male allies discussing why they wanted to get involved, what they’ve learned, and what they took back to the workforce. In addition, the site contains valuable research that provides ample evidence of the positive impact of gender diversity in business.

The Forté Foundation initiative launched with help from its business school members and diversity experts, including Anne Weisberg and Lisa Levey, and thanks to generous financial support from Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper School of Business), Cornell University (Johnson School of Management), and Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business).