International Allyship Day – August 8

I’m excited to share that August 8th is International Allyship Day! This is a global day to celebrate and promote allyship – the act of supporting and advocating for individuals or communities facing systemic barriers and challenges to their success and advancement.

At YWomen, we believe allyship is critical to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace. Effective allies leverage their personal privilege and influence to create more equitable and inclusive cultures — especially at work.

I’m often asked, “What are the steps to becoming an ally?” or “Where do I start?”

My suggestion and request of you on August 8th is to do one simple thing. 


Start your allyship journey by listening. Have (at least) one conversation with someone from an under-represented group at your company (link to listening article). For ideas about how to start a conversation, check out my article on listening for allies and advocates. Make an effort to truly listen to their concerns, even if they seem minor to you. Listening with empathy and without judgment is key to understanding different experiences and perspectives.

Since this is the first year to commemorate International Allyship Day, invite your co-workers and colleagues to participate with you. Here are a few ideas for becoming an effective ally based on YWomen’s Actions for Advocates pledge:

  • Listen, Learn and Understand by educating yourself about the challenges and biases faced by marginalized groups. Seek out resources and perspectives beyond your own experience.
  • Leverage Your Influence by amplifying voices, stories and calls to action from underrepresented groups. Recommend them for stretch opportunities or share their work.
  • Focus on Equity by advocating for diversity in hiring and promotions. Ensure interview panels are diverse and confirm that unacknowledged biases aren’t affecting their decisions.
  • Speak Up by calling out insensitive comments or microaggressions directly and immediately. Make it clear that these behaviors won’t be tolerated.
  • Make Space by stepping aside to ensure underrepresented groups are included in key meetings and projects. Actively listen to their perspectives.

Allyship requires ongoing learning and effort. It’s work that I continue to actively pursue as a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant. I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on how we can translate awareness into action. When people from all backgrounds feel welcomed, valued and supported, our businesses, communities and world benefit.

How will you demonstrate allyship on August 8th and beyond?

Post your success stories and please share this broadly with friends and colleagues.