Senior Lawyer Compliance & Co-chair, 4Womxn ERG Group
Fiona is a Senior Lawyer in Channel 4’s Legal & Compliance team, which is renowned for its enabling advice as part of the Channel’s unique risk-taking remit. She provides legal, compliance and ethical advice on all aspects of television programming – broadcast and online – before and after broadcast, including its promotion and marketing.
4Womxn ERG Group
4Womxn is Channel 4’s grassroots gender equality network, empowering women in our organisation to achieve success, whatever that looks like for them. It is chaired by Fiona McAllister and Pamela Bird on a voluntary basis on top of their day jobs.
4Womxn were the driving force behind the launch of Channel 4’s ground-breaking menopause policy back in 2019, which was updated and published publicly in 2020. At the time the policy launched, Channel 4 were the UK’s first media company to do so. The policy made global news and has had a huge impact. 4Women have supported several organisations with specific advice as they develop their own policies. They also regularly take part in interviews and panels that aim to address the taboo that surrounds the menopause in the workplace, ensuring the conversation goes on.
Continuing to support women’s health issues, earlier this year 4Women launched the world’s first pregnancy loss policy after speaking to their members and realising what an invisible issue this is and what a lack of support is available. Pregnancy loss can take many different forms and our policy aims to support all those who have been affected. The policy provides two weeks’ paid leave, guidance, information about pregnancy loss and its impact, as well as advice around speaking about loss.
This year, 4Womxn spearheaded Channel 4’s partnership with Hertility to become the world’s first Reproductively Responsible employer. Through this partnership, Channel 4 employees can order one ‘At-Home Hormone and Fertility Test’, completely free of charge, and have access to educational workshops each focused on different health issues. The NHS approved tests can tell employees, among other things, if they suffer from any reproductive health (such as endometriosis or PCOS) or fertility issues or if they are entering perimenopause/menopause. This level of specialist care would cost thousands in a fertility clinic so this partnership helps us remove the price tag and the waitlist for employees.
Following this, 4Womxn created Channel 4’s first ever period policy, alongside a brand-new partnership with pioneering sustainable period-proof underwear brand, WUKA. The policy is designed to enable employees who are experiencing difficulties with their periods to get the support they need in order to manage their symptoms at work. As part of the WUKA partnership, every employee is able to able to redeem a pair of reusable WUKA period pants free of charge, with any unclaimed underwear donated to humanitarian charity, Choose Love.
On the topic of health care, 4Womxn have also led campaigns focused on childlessness and encouraging employees to get regular cervical smear tests.
In addition to women’s health, 4Women continue to host a number of events throughout the year – these range from our informal Come Dine With lunches featuring Channel 4 women, topical panel discussions, training sessions, and talks from inspiring women in the industry.
Due to the tragic deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, 4Women are also looking at women’s safety. They have worked with Channel 4 to provide our staff with a ‘get home safe’ taxi card. This allows Channel 4 employees to order a taxi via our approved taxi provider, GLH, if they find themselves in a vulnerable situation. 4Womxn have also provided self defense classes to employees.