13 practical tips on how we can be allies to women in the workplace

Sharon Hegarty, mobile marketing director, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland, shares advice on how to be an advocate of conscious inclusion in the workplace.

women using a Samsung laptop

With women’s economic empowerment expected to decline for the first time in almost a decade, the need for conscious inclusion and allyship for female talent in the workplace has never been greater.

Getting together on International Women’s Day (March 8), this subject was discussed at the latest panel event from Samsung Pioneers – Samsung’s platform to champion equality, and bring together the most influential thinkers and advocates of women in technology to discuss and address the issues facing female talent.

While there is still much to do to achieve full equality for women at work, there are practical ways in which each one of us can consciously be allies. At Samsung UK & Ireland we know we are still on the journey, but are committed to working together with our colleagues and partners to drive positive change in gender equality. Together we can create an environment that supports, champions and empowers the incredible women around us. Doing so will blaze the trail for the young women and girls who will follow in their steps.”

Participants from Samsung and partner organisations everywoman and the Science Museum shared their practical advice on how to be advocates of conscious inclusion in the workplace:

Charlotte Grant, head of inclusion & engagement, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland:

1. “Recognise, interrupt and repair. If you witness something that you believe to be discriminative, interrupt it and in doing so – you also repair it.”

Jo-Ann Robertson, CEO UK, global client solutions, Ketchum:

2. “Actively acknowledge and recognise the differences facing women. Women face many more barriers to success in the workplace than men do – when men can overtly recognise this, and understand their path to progression is institutionally easier, that’s when they can start to actively support their colleagues and help remove those barriers.”

3. “‘Woman’ is such a generic term – there’s so many different levels of experience, different ages, differing parental responsibilities, varying education levels, and so on. As women, we should recognise this intersectionality and reach out across our differences to pull all women up together as one.”

Lee Shorney, senior manager, online marketing at Samsung Electronics UK:

4. “Make the effort and time to hear, not just listen. You can’t possibly hope to understand, learn, empathise, or support without giving people the opportunity to be heard. Also, make notes – mental or physical – that are free from judgement.”​

5. “Callout bad behaviour. Don’t be complicit and don’t let the unacceptable go unchallenged. Yes, you might feel uncomfortable, but just ‘thinking’ something is wrong never changed anything.”

Lopa Patel MBE, digital entrepreneur, chair, Diversity UK & trustee, Science Museum Group:

6. “Be collaborative as opposed to competitive. This is relatively new in the workplace but being collaborative is now more important than competing for a role, project, or contract. The pandemic has shown us that it is only by being collaborative, that we can solve some of the global challenges we face.”

7. “Don’t surround yourself with people like you. It is a natural human tendency to gravitate towards people like yourself, so consciously network and collaborate with people unlike yourself as this will enable you to understand other perspectives and avoid groupthink.”

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman:

8. “Inclusion is about difference. If you want people to share their different stories, experiences, and journeys, you have to create opportunities for that to happen. Make space and ensure the quietest voice in the room is heard.”

9. “Women are 48% more likely to volunteer for tasks that benefit the organisation – but don’t contribute to career advancement. Allies can volunteer to share these tasks, freeing up women to invest time in career advancing activities.”

Sachiko Nagaoka-Toop, online operations manager, Samsung Electronics UK:

10. “Look around and see the people around you as individuals and what they bring, and also those who are missing or being overlooked.”

11. “Use your voice to help others be heard, making sure to echo great ideas and attribute the contributor to invite them to share their experience.”

Sharon Hegarty, mobile marketing director, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland:

12. “Create a safe culture of inclusion and diversity in your teams. Celebrate it and acknowledge differences.”

13. “Where you can, create networks and opportunities across functions where different teams can work together. This doesn’t have to be related to day-to-day work tasks – it could be a return to work or working parents network.”

To hear more stories from Samsung employees, visit: https://news.samsung.com/global/interview-growing-together-for-a-better-tomorrow-samsung-employees-talk-about-the-value-of-diversity

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