Asisterhood: women supporting women at work

Asisterhood: women supporting women at work

Written by Alexandra Fuller, Aleena Augustine, Summer Baxter2023.03.10

How to describe Asisterhood? At its core, it’s a resource for the female-identifying employees at Acast. Still, it’s more than that - it’s a community, a series of events, a shared space, an emotional release, and a place for meaningful discussions to take place.

We should probably begin by explaining what Asisterhood is and how it came about. Back in 2021, the news of Sarah Everard’s murder at the hands of a policeman shook both women and men nationwide. Women felt this shock, as it confirmed many of our worst nightmares. She was just walking home.

These fears women live with don’t stop whirring around our heads the moment we start work. Employees bring their hopes, fears and emotional state into work every day, whether we’re working from home or coming into the office.

Georgie Holt, our UK+ MD at the time (now MD of the Americas), came up with the idea of an internal group for our UK female-identifying employees, a space where we could share our emotions and experiences with the world around us while also having fun and connecting through social events, workshops and talks.

In the two years since the group started, the world has been continually changing at a rapid rate, with each major shift having an impact on our Asisters. One of the most heartbreaking events of the past year was the overturning of Roe v Wade. The shocking news turned our US Asisters’ lives upside down, and we in the UK’s Asisterhood group came together to show our support and solidarity. Our awesome Global Head of Brand Design, Guzzie Armitage, designed protest T-shirts that all employees in the UK could buy. The t-shirts were emblazoned with ‘My Body My Choice’ for our female-identifying employees and ‘Your Body Your Choice’ for our male-identifying employees. We ended up raising £650 for the National Network of Abortion Funds through the sale of the t-shirts.

We have also found huge success with various sessions that were run throughout the year. Tracy Forsyth ran a session to help us come to terms with and understand our imposter syndrome and how to deal with it in the workplace. Bola Sol and Emilie Bellet delivered financial empowerment sessions to help us navigate the current tricky economic climate, an essential resource particularly for women where the gender pension gap is 56%, and women save 40% less than men due to not feeling as knowledgeable about finances. As these sessions were run by women, they were empathetic and a safe space for us to be curious and talk openly.

While the workshops and presentations are invaluable, one of the real winners here has to be reserved for the humble Slack group. A place where memes are shared, anger is vented, and a bond is created through our collective female experience. It’s invaluable to know there is a sympathetic and safe space where we can all come together on both our good and bad days.

We are so excited to continue this in 2023, starting with an internal session for our Asisters. To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we set aside time to reward ourselves for our daily wins by having an evening off from the hectic and demanding lives we all lead. We used the time to reap the rewards of our hard work, recharge in a safe and empathetic space, and flex our creative muscles by painting together. There is so much pressure to be everywhere, do everything and be there for everyone all the time but the evening gave us permission to take a time out. This session is just the beginning - we will follow up with more in the second half of the year, and whilst we wait, our Slack group is always supported and motivated!

There is still a long way to go for gender parity in this world, but until then, we feel grateful to have our Asisterhood community for support and solidarity.