Supporting your sista: Creating alliances with women at work

  • Rossella Forlè
  • Caroline Scapin
  • Sarah Kestenbaum

An anchor is described as an object that holds something in place. In a symbolic sense, a sister is like an anchor - someone that keeps you grounded and focused, even in the face of discouragement and defeat. When women are able to anchor each other, it is powerful, liberating, and transformative. In school, female friends are our confidantes, our safe haven and our compass for navigating life. They encouraged us, fought for and with us whenever our reputation was challenged. As we grow up, navigating professional spaces with women can often be a huge paradox—while women can be our biggest supporters and encouragers, they can also be our worst enemies. We often fail to recognise that while women may not possess the power to be sexist in an institutional sense, we are still forced to live in a society where sexism is an integral pillar of many of our workplaces. This internalised sexism has far-reaching consequences. Women discriminating against other women damages relationships, validates female stereotypes and encourages continued discrimation. Whether you’re in charge of a company, working in a mid-level or starting in an entry-level position, strategic sisterhood alliances are still critical for your success. Science has long established that sisterhood is good for your health, but that’s not the whole story. In sisterhood women are empowered; because in sisterhood you’re essential, and what you say, feel and think matters. During this panel we will discuss: Why there is a necessity for sisterhood at work How to build and sustain alliances with women in the workplace How to help build and strengthen each other’s social capital How we can back each other up in the workplace Speakers Bailie Milton, Business Development Consultant/Motivational Speaker Irnande Altema, Founder, FirstGenRISE Hannah Swirsky, Campaign Coordinator, Centenary Action Group