Ally Skills Workshop

The Ada Initiative Ally Skills Workshop taught men simple, everyday ways to support women in their workplaces and communities. Participants learned techniques that work at the office, at conferences, and online. The workshop taught skills relevant everywhere, with a focus on those most relevant to open technology and culture communities. At the end of the workshop, participants felt more confident in speaking up to support women, were more aware of the challenges facing women in their workplaces and communities, and had closer relationships with the other participants.

The Ally Skills Workshop materials are licensed Creative Commons Sharealike-Attribution and can be reused and modified without permission or charge. The materials have been expanded to cover race, sexuality, disability, age, class, and religion, as well as gender.

About the original Ally Skills Workshop (2012 – 2015)

Workshop structure

The Ally Skills Workshop is taught in person by an experienced facilitator, with 15 – 50 people in each workshop. The workshop begins with a short introduction to the basics of speaking up in a supportive way, then switches to discussion of 5 – 10 specific scenarios in groups of 4 – 6 people. Scenarios vary from introducing yourself to a woman at a conference to responding as a witness to sexual harassment or assault. After discussing each scenario, each group reports on their discussion and conclusions, and the facilitator makes suggestions for improvement or identifies insights. Scenarios can be customized in advance or suggested at the workshop. The workshop is 3 hours long with a 15 minute break at the 1.5 hour mark.

Archival materials (2012 – 2015)

More up-to-date versions of this workshop can be found via web search or here.

Ally Skills Workshop slides: Example slides for the Ally Skills Workshop (PPT) (PDF)

Handout: Printed handout for participants (PDF)

Facilitator’s Guide: A detailed facilitator’s guide to help people learn how to teach the workshop (PDF)

Schedule a workshop

The Ada Initiative shut down major operations in October 2015 and no longer teaches Ally Skills Workshops.

Many instructors are teaching a version of the Ally Skills Workshop derived from the Ada Initiative materials and are available to facilitate workshops or train other facilitators.