Bentley Men of Alliance
There is a large body of research demonstrating the positive impact of gender diversity and inclusion on workplace culture and financial performance. Building understanding, respect, and stronger relationships between male and female colleagues improves our working lives, productivity, access to sponsorship, and women’s career advancement. However, these gains are only attainable when men are allies in advancing women and actively engaged in recognizing and eliminating bias.
The Bentley Men of Alliance student group was formed with the mission to improve gender equality at Bentley and in the workplace. Inspired by what they had learned about gender diversity during the semester-long Center for Women and Business Fellowship, the founding members felt an imperative to engage more male students in the conversation.
The Bentley Men of Alliance is the first organization of its kind at an undergraduate level. Through discussion, programming, and partnerships, it supports and advances gender equality by:
• Actively supporting women’s groups on campus.
• Raising awareness about workplace gender equity issues in preparation for future workplace engagement.
• Investigating the impact of issues such as implicit bias, gender intelligence, confidence, workplace culture, generational impacts, and privilege.
• Sponsoring expert speakers from academia and industry to discuss the role of men as allies.
In the first year, the Men of Alliance made great strides in opening the gender equity dialogue to include men. The founding 10 members worked with several student organizations on substantive, educational events. Events included a men as allies roundtable, where male students openly discussed what it means to be an ally, and a perspectives event, where students with different social identities were paired and asked to share reactions to challenging scenarios. Participants described these events as “powerful” and “eye-opening.” The Men of Alliance are role models on campus and are demonstrating that gender equity isn’t just a women’s issue.
Bentley has a history to be proud of—100 years and counting, in fact. Throughout that time, we have had a notable, longstanding commitment to ethics, inclusion and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds. Bentley has sought to create an educational community that connects young men and women with world-class faculty and staff, working in tandem to prepare for a world that needs bridge-builders, problem-solvers and civic-leaders. A critical aspect of participating in this community is recognizing that our view of the world may be different than that of those with whom we live, learn, and work. Through Bentley Brave, the Center for Women and Business Women’s Leadership Program, and the Bentley Men of Alliance, we believe our entire community will continue to better see, share and understand each other’s differences. Examining our own identities and learning about the experiences of others may require engaging in environments and situations that do not always feel comfortable. But that is what being brave is all about, and I’m proud of what Bentley does every day to advance these ideals.