Why Do I Want an Ally?
When you face a situation such as harassment within an office, having a friend call out another employee for bad behavior directed at you can be the only way to reduce that harassment. Few people want to be called out on bad behavior; everyone believes what they’re doing is “normal” and acceptable, so when a third party suggests the contrary, it can be effective. If the ally in such a situation is in a position of leadership or is the sort of person the aggressor identifies with, so much the better: no one wants to look bad in front of peers or a manager.
Allies can also be helpful in less obvious situations. It’s not uncommon for institutions to make climbing the ladder harder for someone without any particular privilege. Consider the wage gap: women in the US earn 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. For a woman asking for a raise to bring her wage somewhere near parity with her male peers, having access to allies who will back up her request can be crucial in convincing managers to authorize the raise.
Simply stated, having allies outside your own cohort adds legitimacy to your voice.