Integrating Women Leaders Foundation (IWL) Unveils State of Allyship-in-Action Research Study Results

June 14 12:06 2022
Integrating Women Leaders Foundation (IWL) Unveils State of Allyship-in-Action Research Study Results
Integrating Women Leaders Foundation Unveils Allyship-in-Action Study Results
Nonprofit announces first-of-its-kind comprehensive survey focused on allyship in the workplace

Unveiled at its Annual Women’s Leadership Conference last week, Integrating Women Leaders Foundation (IWL) presented the topline results of its 2022 State of Allyship-in-Action Benchmark Study. This is the first comprehensive study to measure the perceived practice of allyship to women in corporate America today, and one that not only surveyed women but also captured the perspectives of men. The study was launched on International Women’s Day, ​​on March 8, 2022, and ran until April 10, 2022.

​“Allyship is critical to moving the needle on gender equity and our research validates that much more education, awareness and calling out of devaluing behavior is required. Women and men have different perspectives on how allyship is and isn’t showing up in their organizations,” said Kim Graham Lee, CEO of IWL. “While our focus was on gender differences for this benchmark effort, in future years we will be expanding the scope to measure allyship towards other marginalized and underrepresented groups.” 

To capture the perspectives of both women and men, IWL distributed the survey to mid-market (300-2,000 employees) and large enterprise organizations (2,000+ employees). Most of the large enterprise organizations surveyed had over 10,000 employees. 

Nearly 1,200 people responded to the survey with 75% being from large enterprise companies and 25% from mid-market organizations across numerous industries. Of those reporting gender, 62% of respondents were women, 36% were men and 2% were non-binary. Participants represented a mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as roles and tenure. 

Survey topics included employees’ general attitudes towards their organizations, the perceived advancement of women and minority groups and workplace behavior, including the frequency and prevalence of microaggressions and specific allyship actions taken and not taken within their organizations.

The following are key learnings from the research study: 

Overall, most respondents (all genders) had high commitment levels to their organization (85% recommend it as a great place to work and 83% are loyal/plan to stay). Gender differences began to emerge in the following attitudes:

% Strongly Agree and Agree with the following statements:

● My organization is making great progress in advancing women into leadership roles – 72% women, 88% men

● My organization is making great progress in advancing other underrepresented groups into leadership roles – 55% women, 77% men

● My organization is very transparent with information and metrics around the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups – 46% women, 60% men 

Distinct differences were further seen between how women and men perceive their workplace environments and the practice of allyship. As an example, survey respondents were asked to identify the stage of allyship for the men at different levels of their organization on a five-point allyship continuum: Anti, Ambivalent, Aware, Active and Advocate. At each level of the organization (Executive/C-Suite, Middle to Senior-Management and Lower Management), men viewed other men as being Active or Advocates nearly twice as often as women. 

Microaggressions were a particular focus of this study. They are the subtle, often unconscious messages that devalue, discourage and impair workplace performance. Key learnings here were:

● The top five microaggressions (out of a battery of 12), identified by women as happening to them “always” or “frequently” were:

○ Being interrupted more often than others (46%)

○ Being asked to do “office work” (schedule meetings, take notes, etc.) (41%)

○ Having their judgment questioned in their area of expertise (35%)

○ Being overlooked for a promotion or stretch assignment (35%)

○ Not being given credit for contributions made (34%)

● Men reported the most frequent microaggressions happening to them about as often as they perceived them happening to women, and reported personally being “overlooked for a promotion or stretch assignment” slightly more often than they believe the same things happen to women.

● White women and women of color both perceived every one of the top microaggressions happening to women overall 3 to 4 times more than the male respondents and happening to them personally 2 to 3 times more often than the men reported it happening to them.

“Too often we hear men call themselves allies for gender equity, assuming they are doing the work and that the playing field is level for women in the workplace. The groundbreaking Allyship-in-Action study by IWL reveals a significant aspiration/execution gap when it comes to male allyship at work. This new benchmark study casts a bright light on the discrepancy between what men think they are doing and what women experience. Providing insights across industries and professions, the Allyship-in-Action study will immediately improve our gender intelligence (GQ) while serving as a road map for better ally behavior in the workplace,” said Brad Johnson and David Smith, co-authors of Athena Rising and Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace.

IWL will be sharing additional learnings from the data at its first ALL IN Virtual Allyship Summit on September 14, 2022. The event will kick off with Stedman Graham, an American educator, author, businessman, and long-time partner and ally of Oprah Winfrey. David Smith and Brad Johnson will address this research and facilitate a panel.

In addition, IWL will be further distributing benchmark study information in partnership with the D.C.-based Women Business Collaborative (WBC), an alliance of over seventy women’s business organizations and hundreds of business leaders building a movement to achieve equal position, pay, and power for all women in business.

For more information and to download the results from the research study, visit:

For more information about the IWL ALL IN Allyship Summit, visit

About Integrating Women Leaders Foundation

Integrating Women Leaders Foundation (IWL) is a 501(c)(3) organization focused on inspiring and empowering authentic, inclusive leadership in corporate America and around the world. Since its start in 2010, IWL has been focused on accelerating the advancement of all women to drive individual and organizational growth and impact. Our mission is even more critical today. A focus on gender equity is the gateway to the other equally important conversations and actions that also need to happen in support of other talent that is often marginalized or underrepresented. Doing this work successfully requires allyship.

IWL’s signature annual Women’s Leadership Conference offers an impactful personal and organizational experience and has grown to a global reach. Our programming throughout the year includes workshops, corporate engagements and other events supporting women’s empowerment and progress on allyship journeys.

We believe companies, communities, and lives are better when all people can be who they are and have equal access to limitless possibilities for success. Creating safe spaces for courageous conversations on gender equity and beyond helps achieve that goal. When we talk, we create awareness. When we create awareness, we open the door to action. And when we act, we make a difference.

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Company Name: Integrating Women Leaders Foundation
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City: Indianapolis
State: Indiana
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