In recognition of International Women's Day and Women’s History Month, we present a special installment of our Inside Edelman series, featuring a thoughtful conversation between Elyse Galloway and Ana Hernández. Reflecting on their personal experiences, they explore the importance of inclusion, intersectionality, and the strides still needed to achieve gender equality in the workplace.

Can you share a moment in your career where you felt particularly included or excluded? How did that impact you?

Ana Hernández: A memorable experience was participating in a workshop aimed at empowering women in STEM fields, which are often seen as male-dominated. Despite my usual role being in the background as a translator and copy editor, I was invited to be actively involved. This opportunity made me feel valued and part of a team in a direct way, highlighting the importance of every team member's contribution.

Elyse Galloway: My journey includes navigating the "angry black woman at work" stereotype. Early in my career, I worked at a firm where I was one of the very few black employees — I felt treated differently, uncared for personally and professionally, so I just focused on delivering quality work. During a performance review, I was told that my colleagues had a negative impression of me. I was advised to work on being softer and agreeable, as well as help others get their work done. After that, I retreated personally and professionally, eventually leaving the firm feeling isolated and misunderstood. While painful, this experience taught me to not tolerate discrimination and the importance of advocating for a workplace where everyone can feel included.

What do you see as significant barriers to advancing gender equality in our industry, and how can we address them?

Ana Hernández: The workplace, in a way, is a microcosm of the real world so inevitably we are bringing our prejudices with us to work. To address this, we must continuously question the status quo and leverage our positions and privilege to promote representation and empowerment. Small changes in our immediate environment can have a profound impact on the broader goal of gender equality.

Elyse Galloway: Right, women—particularly women of color, LGBTQI+ women, those living with disabilities—encounter significant barriers in advancing to leadership positions, as well as face microaggressions within the workplace, mirroring broader societal challenges they navigate outside of work. Promoting gender equality must involve transparent salaries, flexible work options, and training opportunities. This requires sustained allyship and advocacy from individuals who don’t identify as a woman, but genuinely care about their lived experience. It is only through collaboration that this type of progress can be made and sustained.

How do you personally try to foster an inclusive atmosphere on your team and within the organization?

Ana Hernández: My work in language and content allows me to advocate for inclusivity through the materials I develop. By ensuring communications are as gender-neutral and inclusive as possible, I contribute to changing how we perceive and communicate with each other, pushing for a broader understanding and acceptance of diverse perspectives.

Elyse Galloway: It’s incredibly beautiful that you take so much care and time to ensure that what you're communicating is inclusive in nature.

For me, it’s in the little moments. Fostering inclusivity involves creating moments of genuine human connection. Whether through mentoring, facilitating introductions, or simply sharing personal milestones or passions, these interactions contribute to a culture where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. It's about nurturing an environment where everyone can bring their full selves to work.

Ana Hernández: Absolutely, it's about preserving our humanity and remembering that, although we are here to work, we also spend most of our day interacting with colleagues. And so, it's essential to make our work environment positive and ensure a fulfilling experience, given the substantial amount of time we dedicate.

Can you share a book, article, or event that significantly changed your perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Ana Hernández: Yes, a piece that’s a bit old but still relevant in my opinion. It is “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” by Latina author, Flavia Dzodan, enriched my commitment to the feminist cause. It served as a powerful reminder of the critical importance of inclusivity, privilege recognition, and continual self-questioning. By highlighting the necessity of embracing all experiences and realities, it underscored the essence of advancing feminism and inclusion. The piece reiterates the importance of recognizing and valuing the diverse experiences of women.

Elyse Galloway: One of my favorite books of all time, which also reflects the intersection of feminism and diversity, is called "Hood Feminism" by Mikki Kendall. Kendall argues that mainstream feminism disregards the needs of the overwhelming majority of women. She brings to readers awareness the disparate treatment of women of different races, classes, sexual orientation and ability. She evaluates how food insecurity, access of quality education, safe neighborhood, a living wage and medical care are all feminist issues. It's a compelling reminder and fierce call to action to recognize the need for intersectionality in our feminist efforts.

Ana Hernández is a translator & copy editor based in Mexico City‬ and Elyse Galloway is an SVP on the Corporate Health team based in New York.