A Male Ally is someone who uses his power, position or inherent privilege to promote gender fairness and equity in the lighting community through active and public support and advocacy.
We acknowledge that this is not a role that is necessarily simple and straightforward. Many men will not instantly know how to be an ally and we understand it takes time to figure out gender equity but hopefully this starts you on your journey.
If you want more understanding before you make the commitments below we would recommend the book Good Guys and online the Catalyst website (particularly the MARC – Men Advocating Real Change section), the website LeanIn.Org and these two presentations from The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong - Engaging Men as Gender Equity Allies and Effective Gender Bias Strategies.
The skills gained in allyship to marginalised women are also applicable to other marginalised groups in the lighting community and we hope you will deliberately apply ally strategies with these groups whenever possible.
AN ALLY WILL:
- Make sure women’s ideas and voices are heard within the lighting community by advocating for the inclusion of women in all scenarios - at meetings, in speaking opportunities, in review panels and to “call out” gender inequities and biases in public and in private.
- Promote the accomplishments and achievements of women in the lighting community through mentorship, sponsorship and advocacy for women within the lighting community.
- Actively participate in gender, inclusivity and diversity related initiatives and events.
- Improve and maintain knowledge of gender issues through research, reading and conversations with female colleagues and friends.
- Promote allyship to male colleagues and help create a supportive environment where men can figure out how to understand, participate and grow as an ally.
As individuals in the lighting industry, we need to stand by, recognize and support our mentors, colleagues and friends. Equality is necessary in all aspects of the works place and life.
I am a Male Ally for Women in Lighting; because, they have been crucial to my growth in the industry. Women in Lighting are my coaches, mentors and they are the leaders of change.
My two daughters have the World at their finger tips and nothing but opportunities ahead of them. I hope the Lighting Industry and any other industry they decide to pursue, supports their success.
Let us all be the instruments that encourage change.
Realterm Energy / Canada
During my 12 years working in the lighting industry, I've met a lot of female colleagues/clients/students who were all experts and hard working.
Attention to detail, Order in work, and delicacy are some of the aspects that women bring with themselves to the workspace.
I totally support the WIL project as I believe we are equal and hope to see more women in the lighting industry.
The world is changing for the better and in a way that is so profound that our own consciousness is changing with it. Is not just about to change the narratives, but feeling and integrating them that allows us to recognize how incomplete and dark is the world without women being present, acknowledged and respected. My life is defined by a strong female energy that is present in every aspect of it, I can’t do anything but unconditionally support WIL.
Lightera / United Kingdom
The power of women is transformative, radiant and brilliant, just like light is. As someone who has grown up in a female-empowered family, I understand the role women play in shaping the environment, infusing it with delicacy and sensitivity. And I’m committed to fostering a climate of equality by breaking the boundaries which have long prevented women from diffusing their consummate beams across all areas of culture.
I fully and unconditionally support WIL and I pledge to work towards a more fair and equal dialogue across the spectrum, while realising that women bring a unique and irreducible contribution to art and design.
Cooper Lighting Solutions / United States
Advocating for gender equality will ensure a greater level of diversity in lighting, which is a good thing for everyone. The more voices that are heard, the stronger the industry becomes.
OCL Architectural Lighting (Legrand) / United States
Looking at my three-year old daughter and thinking about her not having the same level playing field as male counter-parts is alarming. I know she is capable of being successful at anything she wants to do and I want to do my part to be an instrument of change. It starts with educating myself, and having self awareness. Then educating others on how to best support and encourage gender equality.
In the right lighting design project, the balance of light and shadow is very important.
Often, in the design process our professional intuition and many years of experience help us in determining the right ratio and values.
In modern society, the balance of women and men in the professional field is very important.
And my intuition tells me that at the moment, men must support women in lighting design.
That is why, when I saw the Women In Lighting project, I decided to take part in it, so the world around us would be more balanced and harmonious.
I have met so many talented women in my journey....full stop
Lam Partners / United States
I've been a strong advocate of women's rights and voices since growing up in an egalitarian household and participating in activist experiences throughout my college years. Collaboration is at the core of our work in lighting design, and collaborating with everyone on equal terms creates the most fruitful environment for the design process. This sensibility pervades my work ethos as well as my family life. I strongly support the mission of Women in Lighting!
Managing Director of Designplan / United Kingdom
As a male supporter for Women in Lighting, you are asked to ‘make sure women’s ideas and voices are heard', not a big ask! This sentiment is important. Small disadvantages over a career can hamper development, leading to low diversity at the top. I have been influenced by some strong female characters in my life and with two daughters just about to hit the job market perhaps I am particularly sensitive to this subject. If you’re in a position where you have influence over people’s progress, fostering diversity & inclusion must be high on your agenda. So, for those of us in the lighting industry, where better to start than Women in Lighting. If you need more reason than the obvious moral one, then note, diverse teams get better results.
NDYLIGHT / UK
I am originally from the theatre, film and TV industry which has always been years ahead in its attitude to inclusion towards talented women, though in all likelihood there are still glass ceilings to break through there. All my career I have been fortunate to work in industries that by and large embrace and support incredibly talented, strong and innovative women and I have joyously worked alongside them. I wholeheartedly support equality in all its forms and stand shoulder to should with my sisters and women in lighting, you have my full support in anything that I can do to champion your cause; and besides, us girls have got to stick together.
King David / Russia
First of all, woman’s energy is the energy of creation, the creation of life. It is always about the Union of two energies: male and female, when life is born. And my vision of the world is that women should make an equal contribution in all areas, and in areas that are related to organization and atmosphere at home, even more.
Because I strongly believe in the power of women.
To paraphrase Daisaku Ikeda, the third president of the Soka Gakkai, women and mothers are truly the sun that illuminates the existence of people and society.
Ström / Sweden
The message of equal representation of women in lighting (and surrounding lighting) has reached me by a number of different media and people. It's become clear to me that the movement has reached a tipping point whereby it just appears to me to be an obvious issue to actively try and help resolve and promote by sharing the great content and arguments for it that already exist.
Vode / United States
Women have been the primary educators, mentors, and champions of my dreams and aspirations for my entire life. I would not have a career in lighting without the help of women like Nazzi Nazeri, Catherine McGroarty, Alison Brown, Joanna Assas, Colleen Peach, Anne Frederiksen, Sabra White, and most importantly, Su Sazama. I am an ally.
eldoLED / Netherlands
100% support for this initiative; it’s no-brainer!
Equality in gender, inclusivity and diversity rocks 😊
LDT Lighting Design Team / Italy
I grew up in a predominantly female family. This taught me the utmost respect for others, regardless of their gender or ethnicity. By chance, I chose to work in the lighting industry, where female professionals are numerous and essential. In my opinion, Light = Woman... These are some of the reasons, why I consider the Women in Lighting project fundamental. I also believe it must be supported in every way, with the utmost commitment. I pride myself on being a male supporter.
Light Unwrapped / United Kingdom
I’ve worked in a male dominated industry for 35 years and seen women slowly be accepted. Yet in that same time women, when allowed, have often contributed more to the success of projects, teams and me than men.
I’m a father of three girls and a boy, as they have grown up I realised what an unfair privilege it is to be a man (and white in a prosperous nation), that they face challenges I do not simply due to their gender and that I have a responsibility to provide all those I meet and work with fairness of opportunity and equality. Some times that means equity rather than equality though its often difficult to judge.
I am the husband of a strong woman. She has achieved so much and should go on to lead in her field. Even with her strength she needs my support from time to time to remind her she can do great things.
To not support women in everything I do is not an option, simply it is the right thing to do. I hope the women in my life continue to support me when I get it wrong from time to time.
JPLD / UK
My first position in lighting design was in a practice entirely made up by strong, talented women, in fact I was the only male, so initially my slightly polarised view of the industry was not realistic.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long before I experienced sexism and gender bias first hand, in those early days in lighting I recall a couple of incidences where I was on site with more senior female employees and witnessed site managers talking in a condescending manner or even ignoring them, I have also been in meetings or on site where there are no females present and it seems this can be carte blanch to role out the sexist comments.
If you're in a meeting or group at work where only men are present, it doesn't make sexist comments okay just because no women are hearing those comments. Sexist attitudes in the workplace affect everyone!
In those early days I didn’t know what to do or say, however now I am in a position where hopefully I can both do, and say something and when I was asked to be a male supporter of the WIL programme I was more than happy to be involved.
Achieving this paradigm shift in attitudes and behaviours to even out the playing field can only help everyone in the industry.
Copper Candle / UK
In my career, the most influential and inspiring colleagues I have worked with have been women. To make it as a lighting professional in theatre, you need good communication, imagination and, sadly, a thick skin. The job is tough, but even more so when you are a woman in what has traditionally been a “man’s world” and your opinion may be disregarded or your abilities put in doubt. Being an ally, for me, means that I call out when something is wrong, support my colleagues when they need help and help others think forwards to a future where we have parity and respect for female lighting professionals whose work has such an influence on our industry.
Lighting & Electrical Distributors / Australia
As Director of Lighting & Electrical Distributors, I have an important role to ensure equality in the workplace. Equal opportunity for women, and supporting women's rights is part of my DNA. I support women in sport and the work place, with my business working in the lighting industry, it therefore seems natural for me to support 'Women In Lighting'. Anything I can do to help grow awareness in this area I will put my name to.
Gottlie Paludan Architects / Denmark / Email
As the husband of an executive woman who has gone all the way to the top, not only have I seen that a woman can do anything but also know that women hold concerns unimaginable to men. The two genders think, feel and respond differently. In most cases, the insecurities women hold concerning themselves and their interactions in a masculine context, evaporate once they get an idea of how males think. On top of that, women are more likely not to say what they want, ending up with something else. Therefore, I invite women in lighting who would like a man’s reflection on their situation to just ask.
John Bullock Lighting design / United Kingdom
I’ve been involved in lighting design specifically and the construction industry generally for over forty years - a period that more or less parallels the growth and development of the global women’s movement, and it’s embarrassing to see how male dominated we still are as an industry. I’ve chaired too many conferences and seminars where there is hardly a female presence on the platform. I think we're getting better - but there is still such a long way to go.
Zumtobel Group / Netherlands
Gender equality should be a given but as conversations with women, the things I’ve seen personally, and surveys amongst other things consistently bear out: this is simply not the case. As the years have gone by I’ve become more and more aware of the privilege both my gender and the circumstances of my upbringing have provided me and that this grants me a position of luxury within the industry and often, unfortunately, life in general, which isn’t right.
The situations women all too often find themselves in shouldn’t happen, but do. If I in my position can do anything to help to right the balance then I will do my utmost to do so. I also want to state that my knowledge and understanding of this issue is in no way complete (and likely never will be), but as the years go by I hereby also pledge to keep learning. Together, we can.
Everyone asks me because in our team we are 90% women.
Do not respond, but the reality is that I have the best team in the world!!
Les Éclairagistes Associés / France
We shouldn’t have to use such words as gender to define an issue caused by some. We’re all equal.
Lirio Lopez Lighting Design Consultants / India
I am grateful to be in a profession that has such a large pool of strong, creative and successful women lighting designers that have proven, without a doubt, their abilities in all aspects of design and execution. In every attempt to promote the fledgling Lighting Design industry in India, I’ve encouraged and supported the inclusion of women in various roles, not because it is “appropriate” or trendy, but because it is imperative that at this nascent stage we are able to set a standard for the construction industry at large that should’ve been the default a long time ago!
Lorenzo de Bragança Tremiterra
formalighting / UAE
Create a world of only men and darkness, and matter is all you’ll ever have. But if you add on light and women, then life, and all that comes with it, becomes possible. As such, and especially within an industry that has the ambitious assignment of illuminating the world on a daily basis, it would be presumptuous not to acknowledge the relevance of women’s input in the act of creation. As a man that was raised by a single mother, and having had a little sister under my watch, this is something that is very personal and dear to me, and I’m happy and proud to see movements like WIL striving.
M Storydesigners / Spain
I owe my passion for light thanks to Esther Torelló, the WIL ambassador for Spain. Besides having worked with many well-known male lighting designers, I must say that my overall perception of lighting design and the knowledge of all possibilities which light give us within the light art sphere, would not be as complete as they’re now if I hadn’t worked hand to hand with female lighting designers. Women have a special eye to understand the world which is as necessary as males. It’s not about a competition, but to enhance visions together.
MS Lighting Design / United Kingdom
Why support Women In Lighting? I have seen, on countless occasions, female colleagues and employees ignored in design meetings and on sites, with others just speaking to me. I have a team who just happens to be comprised entirely of women, so how can I not support them getting the recognition they deserve? Raising the profile of over half the lighting design industry is something that will benefit everyone, and set an example for future generations. I feel that is worth supporting.
WILA Lighting / United Kingdom
When my journey started in lighting 21 years ago, I can honestly say that there was only a handful of Women in this industry. I am delighted to say that I have seen a huge shift towards Women, in this great world of Lighting. Working for a Lighting manufacturer, gives me the opportunity to work closely, with some of the best of these individuals on some great projects. And seeing some of the younger generation of Women, working on some of these fantastic projects and working up through the ranks is great to see. If I can help support the journey for a fairer gender equality, well I am more than happy to support such a great cause.
arc magazine / UK
I always think of that line from the Peep Show, “I’m a very strong feminist, so I believe women should have whatever mad thing it is they want.” Although it’s intended as a joke, it’s true. It makes no logical sense to define or discriminate anyone based on their gender, or race, or sexuality, or religion. So we should absolutely be doing all we can to make sure that women are given the same opportunities and representation as men. And if initiatives like WIL help to do this and to boost the profile of the wonderful women in this industry, then I’m absolutely all for it. Why wouldn’t you be?
ERCO / France
As light creates life and reaches out to everyone in an equal way it is the perfect way to promote equality. All my own inspiration comes from people who have managed to push aside, often against the odds, prejudices and not only succeed, but really triumph above the rest.
SDA / United States
I support women in lighting because I am a feminist and support women in all endeavors. I have had so many strong women in leadership roles through out my career that I sometimes forget that there is still work to be done. Times I have been reminded are when I walk onto a job site or into a meeting with a female superior. I have been addressed as if I were the one in charge when I might have been there simply to take notes.
I appreciate WIL for taking this opportunity to help us all become better allies.
Fos Lighting / Australia
It’s a no brainer. WIL is a great organisation, and diversity and gender balance in those in our industry can only be a good thing.
(mmossdesign) M. Moss Lighting & Design, LLC / United States
I believe that it should not be a decision to support women, but should be a natural mindset for the world and every community. I also believe that without this, we have truly failed. It is time we educate and empower to be the change. The easiest thing I have ever done is to support women in everything, but I am proud to say I support Women in Lighting.
Lumenpulse / United Kington
When I joined the Lighting Industry seven years ago, I was ignorantly unaware of the gender inequalities that existed within our industry.
We go by our everyday lives blissfully unaware that until we make a change, we are part of the problem.
Since then, it’s become clear to me that we need to do more to support the incredibly talented Women who not only form part of our industry, but helped to shape it and create what it is today. As a community, we are all equal.
We must do more as a collective to support change and make it habitual, every day.
Elektra Lighting / UK
Supporting women is not an optional add-on. Its supporting people in their fundamental human rights, its like being opposed to slavery. I never “became” a feminist, I’ve grown up thinking this was normal and it shocks me to find others don’t or to find injustice or inequality. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t stand by and idly witness a racial attack on a train, I stand up and say “No”. (From experience, only do this if you are prepared for everything that could happen). So here I am, standing up and saying no.
Lighting Design Mag / Greece
I personal admire all the people running WIL these last years. WIL is a global and phenomenon for our industry creating value for members and supporters.
I am awed by the women who are role models in the world of performance lighting, but sadly I recognise that women are still woefully underrepresented in this industry.
I believe that a more balanced representation in our business will open the door to electric collaborations, a more open-minded approach to our work and ultimately, a wider and more universal creativity. As individuals we should all look for a more equitable future, and in my own practise we have always sought gender parity amongst our team. This deliberate choice has noticeably benefitted our group: ego tends to be left at the door, there is greater sensitivity in the room and putting talent centre stage has become fundamental to our work.
I’m proud to be a supporter of Women in Lighting. Our industry delights in imagination, but imagination is not enough to create a richer and fairer experience for women in performance lighting: it is within our grasp if we actively – and collectively – reach for it now.
Paulo Van Cuijck
Spot On lichtontwerp / The Netherlands
I strongly support gender equality, in the field of lighting design and in life as a whole as I believe it makes the world more creative and diverse. A woman, Paulina Villalobos, was my guiding light into lighting design, she triggered me with her enthusiastic and creative approach and made me go study at KTH in Stockholm. Many other women inspired me, each with their unique approach to lighting and design. Women in Lighting have done a tremendous job creating a shining platform for women to connect and expand.
Thorn Lighting Ltd / UK
The question is not why do you support, it should be why would you not? Equality and respect are not optional gifts, they are a basic right.
FPOV / Singapore
I may not have been vocal and outspoken about gender equality earlier but that needs to change. I was blessed to grow up in Sweden, having a diversity of role models and leaders around me, including several women that were able to perform to their full potential. To me, it was natural that men and women work alongside each other.
Somehow, I feel the world has gone backwards since then and I can’t be quiet anymore. To me it is absolutely obvious that women are just as creative, competent and skilled as men and it deeply bothers me when women are held back by convention, stigma or stereotypes. I hope to be part of a changing landscape and together I’m sure we can make the world a more diverse, equal and inclusive place – because it benefits all of us.
noorderlichtadvies en vormgeving / Nederland
Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to perform work in which he/she is given the space to demonstrate his/her qualities. Regardless of gender. As long as the environment can be there to show knowledge and enthusiasm.
Many of the early pioneer lighting designers on Broadway were women, but sadly that has not been reflected around the world until recently. I am pleased to see so many excellent women lighting practitioners doing wonderful work in all areas of performance lighting. I know the benefit of the support this sort of networking can provide.
Lighting Design Workshop / Italy
I have always been fascinated by intelligence and beauty. I was lucky enough to meet female colleagues who combined these above with a profound sensitivity for the mysteries of light.
As the poet Francesco Petrarca wrote:
“Da lei ti vèn l'amoroso pensero,
che mentre 'l segui al sommo ben t'invia,
pocho prezando quel ch'ogni huom desia;
da lei vien l'animosa leggiadria
ch'al ciel ti scorge per destro sentero,
sí ch'i' vo già de la speranza altero.”
For this reason, I strongly support the WIL project, so that even more female students can become lighting designers and more women could elevate their profile in the lighting designers' community. They deserve to be recognized for their professional merits.
Stoane Lighting / UK
I helped to organize an industry event last year and Florence Lam pointed out an “ALL male line up”. My first reaction was “Well maybe, but they’re all very good”. I didn’t even think of gender balance. A split second later the penny dropped: “That’s the whole point, that you didn’t think Roger, you idiot.” If there’s unconscious bias in any segment of a society - racial, age, sex, whatever - then, quite apart from the morals involved, that society will be at a commercial disadvantage. It needs fixing and I’ll try to help whenever I can.
Lytei / USA
Recognizing Women as equals puts our best foot forward, however, we can only walk with them as they rise to their full potential when we outwardly support them. I encourage all Men (and women) to acknowledge the unconscious bias society has created. One of the best ways we can all do this is to have the hard, real and honest conversations with your peers when something is wrong. By reflecting on this and listening we can create change for the better. It's proven that women are not only equal to men in a professional environment but can outperform them. Furthermore ,they create the necessary diversity to have a well rounded team. Join me and empower Women in Lighting by standing up for what's right and give them an opportunity to do it all.
3LR Lighting / United Kingdom
The very fact that we need WIL Allies is why I am one. To me, it’s not about a declaration, it’s about how you talk, think, and behave. I am an ally.
New York School of Interior Design & RAB Lighting / United States
In my role as an educator, I actively recruit faculty who expand our department's diversity. Our balanced perspectives help our students, who are predominantly women, to identify role models and career paths as they pursue careers in lighting.
In my role as a department head managing a team, I identify opportunities for them to advance, take thought leadership roles and grow. This also covers the challenges of balancing parenthood with a career in lighting - supporting them through this change is one of the most satisfying parts of my role.
F Mark Ltd / United Kingdom
I support equality in all its guises! The representation of women in lighting design is growing well. Next will be to increase representation within lighting product design!
zencontrol PTY / United Kingdom
Equality in this day and age is something we really shouldn’t need to have a discussion on. Discrimination in any form is something that is not acceptable and I totally support women in lighting and everything they stand for.
L+D Magazine & LEDforum / Brazil
I grew up in a matriarchal family. Everything centered around my grandmother, the mother of four women. My illiterate, though intelligent, grandma always fought hard for her daughters’ education. Despite her limited means and the challenges of keeping them in school, she always said that education was the only way her daughters would be truly free to tread their own paths in life. With her humble intelligence, my grandmother knew – even in the 1950s – that education offered a chance at equal opportunities for women. I am the husband of a pharmaceutical executive and the father of a beautiful five-year-old daughter. Chores in our house are not assigned by gender; there’s no “father knows best.” Traditional roles have been switched, they’ve been shuffled up, they play off each other – and, in so doing, our world and our possibilities are so much broader. I hope we are no longer discussing gender by the time my daughter is my age; gender equality is not a question of ideology or personal conviction. It’s a matter of dignity, civility and human rights.
Equality is essential for living and working in this world. Women in lighting are creative, inspiring and smart and should be regarded as equal when leading meetings and projets. I am grateful for many inspiring collaborations - especially with Katia Kolovea working on several topics from research, education to social media.
Phos / United Kingdom
Two of the most important people in my working career have been women. One, a loyal ally of the British Neuroscience Association (Elaine Snell) and the other, the incredible Dr Shelley James. Both have taught me, inspired me and given me my vocation and I am in awe of them. I want to do all I can to support the incredible female minds in our industry.