Inspiring inclusion starts with the individual: International Women’s Day 2024

Rachel Friend

08 Mar 2024

Women face different challenges in the workplace to men. But they also face different challenges to other women. While one might be working around childcare, another could be managing the menopause alongside client meetings.

To thrive – both at home and at work – women need a workplace that truly supports them: that can allow them to fulfil each of their unique roles, without compromising either their progression or wellbeing. For employers, that means understanding each woman’s unique situation and needs.

But it’s one thing to say it, and another to make it happen. Inspiring inclusion requires consistent effort so that every woman is empowered – no matter their age, background or current situation.

For this year’s International Women’s Day, we’ve asked women across Harvard and Eat the Fox on what inspiring inclusion means to them:


“To me, inclusion means having a space where I feel comfortable to be myself, a seat in the room that is not performative and a voice that is heard and acknowledged. Inclusion at a company level encompasses understanding all intersectional factors about a person, and ensuring that they feel completely understood and represented within their teams. Inclusion goes beyond mere performance; it’s about numbers and visual representation.” – Monique Noel Brown

“Different women have different challenges and priorities, just as they have different goals and strengths. To me, inspiring inclusion means taking an active role in ensuring inclusion, creating spaces that are truly inclusive and understanding and advocating for the different contributions true inclusion fosters.” – Rachel Harris

“In 2023 economic challenges revealed that so many still think that DE&I and a healthy bottom line are mutually exclusive. Some deep-thinking about what inclusive businesses look like in 2024 is needed. For example, women and minorities are feeling the “burden” of DEI work and it needs to be addressed. And that 2024 is a US and UK election year – on both sides of the pond sadly that means culture wars, even more divisiveness and marginalised people feeling unsafe.” – Jo Franklin-Wright

“Inclusion? To me, it’s like being the DJ at the world’s most eclectic party—where every song played makes someone light up because it’s their jam. We’re tuning into the diverse beats of our team, making sure everyone’s music gets airtime. Let’s keep spinning the dial towards inclusivity, ensuring everyone feels heard, seen, and, most importantly, like they belong on the dance floor.” – Nimisha Godhwani

“Inspiring inclusion, to me, means creating a space where everyone feels valued, respected, and can be themselves. A big part of that is recognising that everyone is different and shares a unique experience or perspective – even when it comes to being a woman, every single person will share a different perspective of what that means or will have had different experiences. By actively listening to and engaging with people, we can challenge our own assumptions, gain new insights, and cultivate an understanding that goes beyond individualistic views.” – Alicia Pearce

“Creating an inclusive work environment starts with creating a culture of listening, feedback and empathetic leadership – and crucially, having the willingness to always learn and evolve with new perspectives and ideas. To me, inspiring inclusion means creating an environment where everyone, no matter their background or experiences, can feel safe and heard. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to inclusion – every woman is different, with unique challenges and perspectives, so the support and guidance given needs to be intersectional and reflect the individuality of the person.” – Joanna Jones


Each contribution highlights the diversity of thought and individual perspectives needed to inspire inclusion in the workplace. And they speak to an industry that is gradually becoming kinder, educated and more thoughtful as a result.

In the 90s, the PR industry was predominantly led by men, but we’re now seeing a cohort of hugely successful women in very senior positions – both in-house and at agencies. And this cohort is bringing with it a sisterhood that’s built on support for the individual and their unique experience.

At Harvard & Eat the Fox, we’re taking steps to inspire inclusion through our people-first policies, DE&I pillars and employee-led initiatives. For example, we offer 6 months paid parental leave for primary care givers and 3 months for secondary so the gender balance in parenting is there from the outset.

To improve knowledge and understanding, we hold talks, panels and events around important issues like return to work, menopause, and hormonal imbalance. We have developed and now run our “Championing Change” programme to nurture our future female leaders. And we take part in PRWeek’s Pay Gap Report to take accountability for the change we want – and need – to see in the business.

Ultimately, we can’t ask employees to bring their whole selves to work without knowing how to support everyone individually. We must listen to our people and evolve our policies according to our own needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all for any person – or organisation – when it comes to inclusion. And it’s only in understanding this that we can help the industry continue to be kinder and more caring, for all.,

For more on how we’re inspiring inclusion at Harvard & Eat the Fox, check out our DE&I Report here.