Why Inclusion for Life Matters to Me as a Professional and a Parent

March 8th, 2024

By Rebecca Hall, Group HR Director, Golin London

We work in a female dominated industry which, in my twenty plus years in PR, has always been the case. But we don’t have the same propionate number of women in leadership positions across the industry, and I have often asked myself why. What happens to cause this in the employee experience and lifecycle somewhere between entering the PR industry and retirement? My conclusions aren’t rocket science, but the reality is far more complex than it might at first appear because there are historical barriers in the way of female progression, from society’s expectations of how to act and behave, to stereotyping and biases. Over time, women have learned to conform and mask parts of themselves to fit in with a workplace historically designed by and for men. To survive, let alone progress, women have often needed to overcome, ignore, or accept ways of working that are not inclusive of them or designed with their needs or success in mind.

Both in my role as a leader in the UK business, but also as a parent to 3 school aged daughters, I am passionate about women not just in the workplace but in all aspects of life, having an authentic equal playing field. This means being confident and comfortable to be themselves, to ask for help and support without fear of judgement and not having to mask their true selves to thrive. For this to happen, we need to think, act and talk truly inclusively, in all walks of life allowing people to be themselves, to ask people for what they need because to treat people fairly and equally takes time, effort, intention and empathy. It’s a world where differences are celebrated, not just tolerated or worse.

In the UK office, we have put a lot of thinking, time and intention behind our people, learning and DEI work, words and actions. This includes enhancing the terms (including remuneration) for our gender-neutral Family Friendly Leave and focusing on the time spent re-onboarding back into the business for those returning from family leave. We also recently introduced a range of new policies to support employees at critical life moments, including menopause, fertility, and menstruation. We have partnered with a women’s health charity, The Eve Appeal, to raise awareness of gynecological cancers. In the year in which our Global DEI theme is focusing on Mental Wellbeing and Neurodiversity, in the UK we are deepening our longstanding work around wellbeing in the workplace through our ‘How Are You’ approach to open up conversations, mental health talks and a planned programme of ‘movement’, for 2024. We believe that these programmes and actions help us to better understand how to support and encourage everyone to feel empowered to overcome the hurdles in their way and to proudly be themselves, asking for what they need to succeed.

Making sure that everyone, including women at all levels and stages of their lives and careers, is seen and heard, and we are doing all we can to understand them and their needs, whether that be through wellbeing, career progression, neurodiversity, life as a working parent – whatever that might be. This is our goal.

Golin Global’s 2024 DEI priority is Taking Action: Advancing Mental Wellbeing and Neurodiversity.