FEATURE27 January 2022

Forming alliances

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Features Impact Inclusion Innovations Trends

Allyship is necessary to building truly inclusive environments, so how can businesses be better allies? By Katie McQuater

Leaf cutter ants creating a chain with their bodies

For the past few years, there has been an understanding of the urgent need for greater diversity, inclusion and equity in several industries, and market research is no exception.

Increasingly, there is also an awareness that, to invoke this change, the majority must advocate for the minority, practising social justice and recognising their privileged position in the process. Hence, the term ‘allyship’ has entered the mainstream consciousness.

There are various definitions of what it takes to be an ally. In 2018, diversity, equity and inclusion leader Sheree Atcheson, writing in Forbes, defined allyship as “a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalised individuals and/or groups of people”. Crucially, Atcheson noted, allyship is ‘not self-defined’; allyship efforts must be recognised by those you are seeking to ally with.

Roshni Goyate, co-founder of The Other Box, which provides organisations with training courses on allyship, cautions that, with so many different definitions, it can become confusing and ...