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“Manbassadors” Help Haas Address Gender Inequality

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UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business recently profiled the Manbassadors, a student organization that provides men with tools to “better support their female friends, girlfriends, wives, and daughters when they’re no longer blind to how women often have to deal with unfair situations.” Dean Richard Lyons will present a “Question the Status Quo” award to Manbassadors Founder Patrick Ford ’17.

Ford explains that a “Manbassador” is a “male ally who works to end gender discrimination by supporting and being an advocate for women.” He explains the impetus of the organization: “There’s a growing awareness of how significantly unconscious bias affects our behavior.”

Male students fill out the manbassador commitment pledge and check boxes for each commitment they’re willing to make. Ford says, “The most committed members plan events, write short educational emails, and evaluate and improve the program as a whole.” One commitment could be to “consciously check my thoughts and actions as I work with and lead gender-diverse teams” while another could be to have “private conversations with male professors when women in class have concerns about potentially sexist materials.”

Two Manbassador initiatives include “Guy Talk” sessions, which “provide structured time for guys to learn more about women’s experiences and to engage in conversations about gender equity,” and “Interview a Woman” lunch sessions, in which men “interviewed women about their experiences as women drawing questions from handouts that Ford provided.

While the Manbassadors program has had a tangible impact on Haas men, female classmates have also responded positively, including one who wrote, “For me, the existence of our Manbassadors program was significant because gender dynamics are not just seen as a ‘woman’s problem,’ but as an issue both men and women need to address together.”

Ford concludes, “Almost all the top U.S. business schools have a Manbassador program (though not all of them call it that) in some stage of development. Many graduates will be going into high-level roles at Fortune 500s and a wide range of enterprises around the world. They can have a huge impact where they work.”

Clear Admit would like to note that the Manbassador program is just one of many coordinated efforts on the Haas campus to help women’s voices be heard and increase female enrollment at Haas. Check out these other pieces from our archives to learn more:

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