Working Wonders Talks – Episode 20

blog - 3 min.

A thematic table talk about all things life, work and wonderous. Theme: A True Ally


In the 13th century allyship would be very much realised through the
custom of marriage and stems from the Old French ‘_alier’ _which
means to “combine or unite”. However, in the 14th century a change of
meaning arose and allyship would transform itself into the forming of an
alliance by joining in association. Later on, the creation of allyship
through marriage would indeed dissipate and be replaced by an
understanding that ‘allies’ are united with another by treaty or
league. Becoming more and more associated with warfare when allies were
strategically created during WWI and WWII.

Now a century later we wonder what does _allying_ now mean or what
should it mean? Over the past 100 years we have experienced expansive
growth for few and an increase in disparity and hardship for many.

Traditional warfare is being replaced by other forces of power and
influence. What it means to join in allyship is something we can now
re-examine as our tools for connection and/or division are changing –
increasingly becoming more digital. Our means of joining forces and
gathering are triggered by different motivations adding gender,
classism, sexuality, ageism, race and education to the century old
motives for allying that were initially set up through marriage among
families to increase influence, land and wealth.

Now in 2020 millennial men prove to be effective allies on the journey
to a better workplace a Boston Consulting Group research shows. Why are
the attitudes of young men toward gender diversity different from those
of older men? One possible explanation is that when they were growing
up, their experiences—and role models—were vastly different from
those of previous generations. According to a 2014 study by _Working
Mother_, millennials of both genders are more likely to have grown up
with two working parents. Nearly half (46%) said that their mother had
returned to work before they were three years old, compared with only a
quarter of baby boomers.

It is there for not surprising to find that four out of five millennials
want business to get involved in addressing social issues and believe
businesses can and should make a greater social impact across all
attributes related to diversity. To exemplify; a large corporate
tweets’ their support for Black Lives Matter. The response from a
millennial was “thanks- but now send back a picture of your board and
leadership team. We need action not words”. Millennials are an
action-oriented generation and we wonder how a meaningful business and
impact driven allyship can demonstrate a commitment to bigger social


Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau // Envoy at & Co-Founder of StartupFestEurope
Geke Rosier // Founder of Rightbrains
Sacha Martina // CEO of Bureau Zwart Wit and Founder of Your Expat Agency

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