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Allyship Vs Advocacy: What’s the Difference?

By: Jessica MousseauDiversity Insights
Allyship Vs. Advocacy: What’s the Difference?

In today’s world, many of us are trying to understand the role we play in advancing racial and social justice, but often lack proper guidance on how to start this journey. Allyship and advocacy are words that we often hear in the workplace, but what do they mean when it comes to diversity and inclusion training?

In this blog, we will explore the meaning of both terms and offer suggestions on how to become a more meaningful supporter of marginalized groups.

Exploring the Definitions of Allyship Vs Advocacy

Allyship involves actively supporting marginalized groups, while advocacy goes a step further by taking actions to  inspire positive systemic changes, such as addressing gender inequality or racism.

While often used interchangeably, allyship and advocacy have distinct roles. Allyship focuses on support, while advocacy pushes for systemic change and influences decision-makers. Advocates use their privilege and/or platform to bring attention to these issues and help advocate for change.

Allyship Vs Advocacy in the Workplace

As an inclusive leader, your priority should be to create an inclusive culture where everyone feels understood, valued, and accepted. This helps to create a positive work environment where employees can thrive.

Your DEI workplace initiatives must be clear, effective, and cognizant of all employees. Being aware of implicit or unconscious biases ensures you’re working toward better awareness, educating others in your organization and taking impactful advocacy actions to encourage positive change.

How to Avoid Performance Allyship

Performance allyship is when an organization publicly supports a cause but fails to address related issues within their own workplace. It’s not enough to simply declare allyship. It involved doing the hard work of changing behavior to align with your public statements.

In navigating the complexities of allyship vs advocacy, it’s vital to recognize that both play a crucial role in shaping a more inclusive and equitable world. Understanding the benefits of inclusion in the workplace and learning practical strategies are essential steps. To dive deeper into these topics, try out a free trial of our online Diversity Calendar.


What’s the difference between advocacy and allyship?

A workplace advocate uses their position of power to provide support to underrepresented groups. An ally will defend or speak out on these groups’ behalf to ensure they are treated fairly.

Like a workplace ally, a workplace advocate often utilizes a position of privilege, but rather than just providing support to an underrepresented group, an advocate will defend, write, or speak on their behalf to ensure fair and accurate representation.

What are the 3 C’s of advocacy?

The three major C’s of advocacy include connection, communicate, and collaborate. Building connections involves creating networks that support and amplify advocacy efforts. Effective communication is key to raising awareness and influencing change, while collaboration allows for pooling resources and knowledge to tackle complex issues more effectively. Together, these components can drive significant progress in advocacy campaigns.

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