International Allyship Day is celebrated annually on August 8. This holiday dedicates the day to celebrating and promoting the power of allyship across the globe. On this unique day, we come together to recognize the importance of standing up for one another, fostering inclusivity, and building bridges of support and understanding.
Dictionary.com defines allyship as the status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership: Genuine allyship does not come with special recognition — we do not get awards for confronting issues people have to live with every day.
History of International Allyship Day
International Allyship Day is a holiday founded in 2023 to celebrate the incredible strength in unity. It is a day to embrace diversity, celebrate differences, and foster a sense of belonging for everyone!
This holiday encourages communities to show up authentically and work together to create positive social change. Networking, workshops, events, and community gatherings can achieve engagement, inspiration, and connection to advocate for others in the workplace and at home.
Multiple national studies indicate that four out of five US-based employees are familiar with or have participated in unconscious bias training. This training, while being extremely valuable, is only the beginning. International Allyship Day exists to enforce and encourage the practice of allyship. Awareness without action does not move the needle. Active and genuine allyship is about consistency and continuously taking action despite biases to treat all others equally and equitably.
This holiday highlights now as the time to tackle equity, as we can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to devaluing behaviors, and create inclusive environments.
International Allyship Day timeline
President Truman signs Executive Order 9981 into effect to desegregate the armed services.
DE&I takes root in Corporate America through the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
Frameworks for workplace diversity, along with anti-discriminatory practices, come into play.
Gender diversity education begins to emerge.
Education within the US expands to assist and focus on the inclusion of other underrepresented groups like disabled persons, communities of different ethnic groups, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
DE&I evolves into a new practice of allyship, turning unconscious bias and awareness into action.
Dictionary.com names allyship its "word of the year," the first time a new word receives the title.
International Allyship Day FAQs
What is the significance of August 8?
This holiday was set for August 8 as the number eight has associations with unity, harmony, and a feeling of connectedness.
What is allyship?
An ally is one who actively works for or with a marginalized group within society, despite not being a member but standing in solidarity with the struggles faced. These acts apply without the desire or expectation for rewards or special recognition.
What can I do to be an ally?
Allies leverage their privilege to support underrepresented individuals and communities through both reactive actions, like calling out devaluing behaviors and microaggressions (e.g., individuals being interrupted or spoken over, being asked to do the office work in meetings, having their judgment questions in their area of expertise, etc.) when witnessed, and proactive actions include actions which create equitable opportunities, such as ensuring diverse slates of candidates for positions, advocating for the promotion of underrepresented individuals, etc.
How To Observe
On International Allyship Day, why not read up and share some resources with those in your social circles? You can plan an event to discuss allyship and how to apply it to your community. Or take an allyship assessment to see where you are on the allyship continuum and what you can do to be a better ally to others.
In celebration of this holiday, we recommend having an honest conversation with a member of an underrepresented community, discussing their experiences and what can improve them. You can even ask what you specifically can do to be a better ally for them.
Allyship is not a project with a start and finish. It’s a process, a journey. Consider the progress your organization has made and celebrate the practice of allyship and those individuals who “walk the talk” to make their work and home environments more equitable. Bring your teams together and commit to continuing the work.
Five Thought-Provoking Facts About Allyship Day
Diversity drives performance
78% of organizations prioritize diversity to improve workplace culture, while 62% aim to boost financial performance. Research from TeamStage: Women in the Workforce 2022 shows that even a 10% increase in gender-focused diversity can positively impact and increase total profits.
Allyship practice in the workplace is in its infancy
Despite 84% of employees reporting being part of unconscious bias training, the Integrating Women Leaders Foundation 2022 State of Allyship-in-Action Study illustrates only 47% included allyship training while only 34% included participatory communities.
The gender gap is prevalent…
The McKinsey/Lean In 2022 Women in the Workplace Report highlights heartbreaking truths. For every 100 men getting their first promotion, only 87 women receive a promotion. Similarly, these numbers are notably lower for women of color or members of similarly underrepresented communities.
…and gets worse at the top
The Harvard Business Review brought to the public’s attention that the CEOs of large companies are significantly more likely to be a man by the name of John or David than a woman.
Is progress progressing?
The World Economic Forum’s 16th Global Gender Gap Report illustrates the gender wage gap expects to close, but not for another 132 years at the current speed and rate of change.
Why International Allyship Day is Important
We can all be allies to others
We all have privilege over others, and as such, all have an opportunity to practice allyship. Now is the time to capitalize on the growing momentum around concepts of allyship. And now is the time to tackle equity as we can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to devaluing behaviors, and create inclusive environments.
Collective activism in the form of allyship will drive change
Research indicates that those who participate in ongoing allyship practices (communities, not one-and-done training) bridge the “allyship gap” in thought and action.
Allyship continues even when the holiday is over
Allyship is more than a day of conversations at work. Allyship is a journey. Gather your teams together and continue this work.
International Allyship Day dates