Advocates and Allies are men committed to personal action in support of women and gender equity. Advocates and Allies programs equip men with the knowledge, skills and strategies to effect positive personal, unit and organizational change. Advocates and Allies programs emphasize men working with other men while maintaining accountability to women. Allies are trained men who promote gender equity through an emphasis on personal and local action. Advocates are allies with an established record in support of gender equity who dedicate significant time and effort to the Advocates and Allies program. Like Allies, Advocates are committed to personal and local action, but they also lead Ally workshops, organize Advocates and Allies activities, and work with women colleagues to set Advocates and Allies priorities and strategies. The Advocates and Allies concept is grounded in grassroots social justice work and was created by North Dakota State University as part of a 2008 NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant (HRD-0811239).
Based on success of the Advocates and Allies program, NDSU helped establish Advocates and Allies programs at Lehigh University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Maine and West Virginia University. In 2015, NSF awarded NDSU and The Ohio State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of North Texas and the University of Wyoming an ADVANCE PLAN-D grant (HRD-1500604) to refine, expand and systematically study the effectiveness of Advocates and Allies programs.