The Path to the
C-suite for Women: The Importance of Allyship in the Workplace

The important role of peer allyship in the workplace in driving gender diversity.

On the challenging climb up the corporate ladder, it’s often assumed women are competing with one another for the top spot. However, in truth, women recognize the value of allyship in the workplace – mutual support and collaboration in driving positive change.

Research by Credit Suisse reveals that female CEOs are 50% more likely to appoint female CFOs and 55% more likely to place women in other key business unit roles. This progressive thinking not only challenges every-woman-for-herself stereotypes but demonstrates how women in leadership are directly influencing the career trajectories of other women.

So, what impact does this have on your career journey and what can you do to capitalize on it?

Visibility in the corporate world is a currency, and women leaders have the power to help others accrue it.

The Importance of Corporate Allies

When evaluating your role, it can be tempting to use the bottom line as a benchmark for progress.  

However, success isn’t just about numbers, it’s about playing a longer game. It’s about bringing diverse perspectives to the table, which will lead to more innovative and effective decision-making for the business down the line. This is the type of thinking at which women leaders excel. 

A McKinsey report found companies with gender-diverse executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies with less diversity. 

On an individual level, The State of Allyship Report shows that professionals with at least one ally are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and satisfaction in their roles. Importantly, over 90% of respondents, regardless of gender, noted the value of allies in their career advancement. 

For women in executive positions, allyship plays a vital role in breaking down barriers and fostering an environment where women can thrive in traditionally male-led environments. 

When you look at things through a longer-lens, being an ally is likely to result in better outcomes for individuals and for the business. 

So, how can we help each other on the way to the top? 

Creating Visibility and Opportunity

One of the most impactful ways senior women can help is by coaching and sponsoring other women.

One of the key roles of a mentor is to help mentees navigate the often-opaque pathways to leadership. This means not only offering advice and support but actively creating opportunities for visibility.

Whether it’s recommending women for challenging projects or advocating for their promotion, these actions can have a profound impact on a woman’s career trajectory.

Visibility in the corporate world is a currency, and women leaders have the power to help others accrue it. The knock-on effect of this is gender ‘wealth’ that filters down the ladder to enable others to climb.

Cultivating an Inclusive Environment for Women Leaders

Inclusivity is not just a buzzword; it’s a crucial component of a healthy and productive workplace. This includes everything from challenging unconscious biases to advocating for policies that support a better work-life balance. By fostering an inclusive culture, women leaders can help create an environment where all employees, regardless of gender, feel valued and empowered to contribute their best work.

Importance of Allyship in the Workplace

Networking: The Power of Connections

A strong professional network can be a game-changer in a woman’s career. Senior women leaders, with their extensive connections, can play a critical role in facilitating these networks for emerging leaders. By introducing up-and-coming women to key contacts and opportunities, they can help them build the relationships that are often crucial for career advancement.

Celebrating Success

A Culture of Recognition. Recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women in the workplace is not just about giving credit where it’s due. It also sets a standard for how women’s contributions are valued within an organization. Public recognition can boost morale, increase visibility, and inspire others to strive for excellence. 

Allyship is not about sacrificing personal advancement but about ensuring fair opportunities for all. Rather than a solitary competitive climb, the journey to the top should be a collective effort where we all get to enjoy the view.  


So, what small change can you make today that will have an impact on your women peers?