Male Allyship: Role of leaders as male allies


The 30% Club Malaysia and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad co-hosted an event to discuss and highlight Male Allyship and advocacy towards diversity, equity and inclusion.

The event was focussed on role of leaders as male allies, why it is important towards obtaining gender equity, advocacy continuum and really what leaders can do to become effective male allies, beyond mentoring and supporting career growth.

The event began with an opening address by Datin Seri Sunita Rajakumar, Chair Climate Governance Malaysia, Chair Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad. This was followed by Dato’ Ami Moris, Chair, 30% Club Malaysia; Advisor, Business & Sustainability, Maybank.

In her opening address, Dato’ Ami Moris shared a five prong shoutout to male allies. These are: 
• Share the load of dishes and laundry, other household chores between spouses (etc)
• Speak out about inappropriate behaviour at the workplace
• Invite women to the table 
• Don’t be a silent male ally
• Don’t accept the line “boys will be boys”

The panel discussion moderated by Anjali Velayudhan Menon, Human Resource Director, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad included Syed Feizal Syed Mohammad, Group Chief Executive Officer of MSM Malaysia Holdings Berhad Berhad, Ramjeet Kaur Virik, Managing Director, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad and Raja Amir Raja Azwa, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad.

The panellists shared their personal experiences with male allies, including the language that could be used to set the right tone at the workplace, tips on how to spot talent then mentor and coach or sponsor a female executive who shows capability.

Both male allies Raja Amir Raja Azwa and Syed Feizal Syed Mohammad shared that they were raised by a single parent and they learnt a lot from their moms. These have stayed with them and they have brought these life learnings to their workplace. The gentlemen truly understand and appreciate that women are juggling multiple roles. While Syed is motivated by his principle of correcting unjust practices to create equality in workplace, Raja Amir is driven by having diverse views to achieve business goals.

In the course of the discussion, Ramjeet Kaur Virik Kaur also shared how her former MD as a male ally encouraged her to take on his role as a successor. She was reluctant as she was not ready. When he asked her to rate her readiness to take on a larger role, she rated herself as only 80-85% ready. The MD then said, “I only expected 60%! So, 80-85% ready for the role is great!”. This indicates how women tend to apply too high standards to themselves, letting go great opportunities.

The hybrid event was held in-person with many others who followed the event virtually.