n. The state or condition of being an ally to people or groups that have historically been marginalized, oppressed, or discriminated against.
Finally, it is imperative that leaders create a work environment that supports allyship itself — a workplace where curiosity, courage, confidence, caring, and commitment are valued traits.
—David G. Smith & W. Brad Johnson, “Lots of Men Are Gender-Equality Allies in Private. Why Not in Public?,” Harvard Business Review, October 13, 2017
But in many businesses, the most important conversations about growth and strategy still happen in majority white spaces, like boards, management committees and executive confabs. And this is where speaking up about issues of race and inclusion—also known as ‘white allyship’—can make the most difference.
—Ellen McGirt, “raceAhead: How To Be A White Ally,” Fortune, August 18, 2016
Allyship is not showing the world how good you are being, it showing the world how backwards it is, and constantly producing counter-narratives that promote equality.
—Jay Dodd, “The Myth of Allyship: Complacency of Small Victories,” The Huffington Post, February 02, 2016
1999 (earliest)
This distinction is a theme in the talk of the women: as Eleanor remarked about some White women being "politically correct" in having one Black friend, she reminded me that this is not enough. This kind of relationship is what author [Jamie Lee] Evans called "politics without heart," in describing allyship within the lesbian community.
—Mary W. McCullough, Black and White Women as Friends: Building Cross-race Friendships, Hampton Press, February 01, 1999
An older form of this word refers simply to the state or condition of being an ally, most often with respect to groups or nations that join forces for some common cause, usually in wartime. This sense of the word is quite old, dating to at least the mid-19th century.