By Ben Varhula, Senior Midwest Community Manager
Gender equity and equality is one of the hottest topics in the workplace in 2020, including right here at Moishe House! We’d like to pull back the curtain a bit to share what we’ve been doing to promote gender equity and ask for your help in Living the Pledge to be better allies.
I recognize the irony in a male-identifying person writing this article, and I have to recognize literally every person on staff (no seriously, check them out at moishehouse.org/about-us/our-team/) for inspiring me and for inspiring these actions we’ve taken so far.
Back in August 2019, the Jewish communal world was called out by some of our own. The article “The Week That All Jewish Women Turned Invisible”, whose authors were credited as, “By the women* you can’t see and whose voices you can’t hear (*but who are listed at the bottom of the piece to give credit to the women behind the words)” brought to the forefront the lack of women in powerful positions at many Jewish institutions and forced the community to wrestle with what it would do to fix this problem. While many organizations were working on small changes they could make to promote equity, a group of brilliant women (Rachel Gildiner, Haley Schreier, and Tilly Shames to name a few) were working on a project entitled “Ally is a Verb.” The premise behind this was simple: don’t just sign a pledge to do better – actually do better. The authors of the original article had been inundated with questions like, “How can I show up?” and this was their response!
The crux of this movement was to empower every human to Live the Pledge of being an ally in the workplace. So what did Moishe House do? While we already had some more external plans moving, we wanted to continue the conversation internally too. A group of us worked together to figure out the most efficient way to share ways we can be better allies. We created a new channel on our internal message platform, Slack, that is specifically a place to share and celebrate actions of allyship. This has not only inspired the virtual sharing of ideas, but has helped us “Live the Pledge” in each of our own offices.
But what else are we doing besides a Slack channel? Firstly, and most importantly, we’ve made the conversation a part of our everyday lives. Because we’re all holding each other accountable, it’s not on one person or group of people to be advocates for gender equity and ideas can come from every type of person. On January 23, we had our first ever “Moishe House Respectful Workplace” webinar with friends from Keshet, a Jewish LGBTQ organization, and we’ll continue to hear from other partners on how we make Moishe House a more equitable place. Additionally, we’ve started to post salary ranges on all of our job postings so that everyone can go into an interview on a level playing field. Big shoutout to our Senior Director of Human Resources & Risk Management, Ann Baumgarten, for implementing both of these! These are just a start for Moishe House, and we’re working hard in the background to be more equitable every day.
No one is perfect, but we can all be better. What have you done with your Moishe House to promote gender equity?
Share it in the Moishe House Residents Facebook group! Have any ideas to help make Moishe House a more equitable place? Talk to your Community Manager or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you’ll join the staff at Moishe House in agreeing to Live the Pledge!