#InspireInclusion: International Women's Day

International Women's Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. At VSI, we strive to inspire inclusivity in everything we do and provide equal opportunities to all employees. We're proud to celebrate our employees who champion change and continue to work together to #InspireInclusion.

See what some members of our VSI Group have to say.


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?  

Unfortunately, I feel that International Women’s Day doesn’t achieve the goals that we should be aiming for in our daily lives. Usually, on this day we hear “Happy Women’s Day” and people hand out flowers or chocolates, and that’s not what we’re looking for, by far. Awareness of equity needs to be present every day and being on this front line at VSI Vox Mundi I feel I can actively contribute to this, always thinking about equal rights for everyone in the workplace and giving opportunities without any preconceptions. I’m very proud to be in a place where women have a very prominent and commanding place, but we still have a lot to fight for. 

Marília Prochno - Operations Manager (São Paulo)

What does the 2024 theme #InspireInclusion mean to you?

The 2024 theme "Inspire inclusivity" to me means that as individuals and as an organisation we care to consciously work towards eliminating a monoculture in any specific area: race, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability and religious belief. The way we can inspire inclusivity is by allowing the opportunity for areas of growth for everyone and by providing a safe space for different visions and perspectives to be embraced.  

Nadja Holt - Dubbing Producer (Los Angeles)



What are the benefits of having gender equity in leadership positions?

By fostering a gender-balanced leadership team, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce and leverage the wealth of skills, perspectives, experiences and expertise that diversity brings to the table. Moreover, it allows for a more comprehensive and well-rounded and creative approach to problem-solving and decision-making, thus helping innovation and enhancing employee engagement and organisational performance.  

It is crucial, as such, for businesses to prioritise and champion gender balance in their leadership teams and empower female role models. As senior leaders, we must lead by example and ensure that emerging women leaders are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts to showcase their abilities, stretch their roles, network with senior leaders and promote their visibility at the executive level. 

Last but not least, a diverse leadership team demonstrates our commitment to equal opportunities, social justice and progressive values, and helps us attract top talent from different genders whilst we continue to foster an inclusive culture that encourages collaboration, innovation and creativity. 

Cornelia Al-Khaled - Group Chief Operating Officer (London)

How do you support women coming into the localisation industry?

I think our industry has enabled important positions to be filled by women, amazing women. This has strengthened values like empathy and respect. And also added real value to work in every position within our company. From the first day a woman (or anyone) comes into our studio, we try to make them know that we are a team, and as a team we let other parts of our lives help develop our growth. Every woman in VSI knows that we are working in an environment free of violence and harassment, and it’s a place where everyone’s opinions and feelings are truly valued.

Sonia Santiago Macías - Project Manager
(Mexico City)


How can we actively inspire women to achieve and progress in their careers? 

To inspire women in their careers, fostering supportive and inclusive environments is crucial. We should emphasise inclusivity and break down barriers for equitable access to opportunities. We need to celebrate female achievements and amplify their voices and contributions. By creating nurturing environments where women feel empowered and valued, they can thrive professionally and personally. Encouraging their advancement not only benefits individuals but also enriches organisations and society. Lastly, recognising and addressing challenges women face in their careers, and in their lives, is fundamental for building a more equitable and inclusive future where everyone can contribute their talents and perspectives. 

Jochem Zentveld - Junior Translator (Amsterdam)

How can we increase awareness for inclusion and equality for all?

First of all, it's crucial to be well-informed regarding this matter and ask the right questions. Only by understanding the subject can we understand how to implement the necessary change and improve as individuals. So it starts with finding ways to spread information. Sharing it with family, friends and co-workers is a great way to achieve this. Initiatives such as #InspireInclusion can encourage participation and increase awareness, allowing those involved to research and learn more about the topic. Attending seminars or other events is also a great solution. A safe environment where there’s equality and inclusion among all will allow meaningful discussions to occur, and as a result, implement positive changes in our daily lives. By cultivating awareness about inclusion and equality, we can create solutions and make the change we want to see more effectively. 

Carla Domingues - Operations Director (Lisbon)


How do you inspire inclusion within the workplace?

I had a hard time thinking about this answer. My first impulse was thinking about individual efforts, about how women should work harder and better to prove themselves as part of a great workforce. But I've learnt that sometimes that is not enough.  

I believe that as a woman, sorority might be part of the answer. To help your co-workers feel they also belong in the spaces you share and to help them achieve their highest potential. I think it is also important to avoid falling in the dynamic of “embodying the characteristics of a man in order to be taken seriously”, and instead work to fulfil your role as yourself.  

And to remember that every day is a new opportunity to be better. As individuals, we are free to change – efforts, opinions, attitudes, prejudices - every single day.  

Laura Suinaga - Project Manager (Mexico City)

How can we empower women as they pursue careers in more male-dominated roles? 

I think in our society, certain careers could easily be more inclusive, yet we still see many career paths predominantly consisting of males. To overcome this issue, women could be encouraged to look into careers that may not seem “suitable” at a first glance. If they are passionate about a career, being a minority should never stop them from pursuing their dreams. For instance, I’ve always been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who encouraged me to follow my passion, and this gave me a lot of self-confidence in my work despite being a minority. I would, therefore, advise other women to follow their own interests, even if they are the minority in their chosen career path. 

Pelin Takis - Recordist (Los Angeles)


What does the 2024 theme #InspireInclusion mean to you?

For me, inspiring inclusion means realising that all of us, as a society, are agents of inclusion. It's understanding that although we have gained space and more opportunities throughout history, we are still far from an equal world. Therefore, we must never be satisfied. Each one of us needs to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to promote inclusion and to watch where it is not happening.  

We all have a role in ensuring that women are seen, respected and valued in society, whether in our personal lives or the workplace. Inspiring inclusion is about actively contributing, whether amplifying a woman's voice or needs or sharing with others the knowledge and support to make more people aware of women's struggles and how we can act with that. It's also worth remembering: it's not just about including but recognising and appreciating their contributions, ideas and needs. 

Julia Terra - Content Producer & Social Media
(São Paulo)

What does inclusivity mean to you?

Creating an inclusive environment is paramount to our success as an organisation. As a leading language service provider, with a rich history of workplace multi-culturalism, having a diverse representation of people is something we have long recognised as a strength. On a practical level, it helps us connect with our clients’ content and target audience by drawing upon our own individual insights and experiences. From a social standpoint, an environment that embraces our unique differences and recognises the richness it brings to our work drives a rewarding culture, promotes meaningful collaboration among our teams, and leads to better decision making. Looking beyond inclusion as a checkbox and utilising it as a way to learn from one another, forges stronger connections and creates a sense of collective belonging that enables us to flourish. 

William Russell - Managing Director (London)


Can you name a role model that you look up to, who continues to challenge the bias?

In my professional journey, I admire women in leadership positions who resolutely overcome prejudices. A particular role model is Juliane Schreiber, CEO and owner of "Mama Meeting", the business network for working mothers. She not only excels in her role but also actively advocates for diversity and equality. Her commitment demonstrates that women in leadership roles cannot only be successful but also significantly contribute to overcoming gender stereotypes. As a mother myself, who simultaneously holds a leadership position, Juliane Schreiber's example provides double inspiration. Her courage and leadership inspire me to confidently tackle biases and actively contribute to a more inclusive, diverse work environment. 

Jenny Schramm - Team Lead, Casting Manager/Booker (Berlin)

What progress have you seen regarding inclusivity within the localisation industry? 

The dubbing industry in Spain has made significant progress in terms of inclusivity in recent years. One of the key areas where this progress can be seen is in the recruitment and hiring practices of dubbing companies. Previously, there was a lack of diversity in the industry, with a majority of employees being native Spanish speakers. However, there has been a conscious effort to promote inclusivity by actively seeking out individuals from diverse backgrounds and linguistic abilities. This has not only helped in creating a more inclusive work environment but has also improved the quality of localisation services by incorporating different perspectives and cultural nuances. 

Another area where inclusivity has been prioritised is in the development of inclusive language guidelines. Dubbing companies in Spain have recognised the importance of using language that is inclusive and respectful towards all individuals, regardless of their gender, race, or background. They have implemented guidelines that encourage the use of gender-neutral language and avoid any form of discriminatory or offensive terms. This has not only helped in creating more inclusive content but has also contributed to the overall positive perception of the dubbing industry in Spain.

In addition to internal changes, the dubbing industry in Spain has also taken steps to ensure inclusivity in the services they provide. They have actively sought feedback from diverse user groups to understand their specific needs and preferences. This has led to the development of strategies that cater to a wider audience, taking into account cultural sensitivities and linguistic variations. By embracing inclusivity, the dubbing industry in Spain has not only improved its reputation but has also become more effective in reaching and engaging diverse target markets. Overall, the progress made in terms of inclusivity within the dubbing industry in Spain is commendable and sets a positive example for other industries to follow. 

Yolanda Álvarez - Project Manager (Spain)


Why is it important for people to see reflections of themselves in leadership positions?

People are inspired by other people’s stories. As a working mum I strongly believe that representation matters and should be displayed in all its varieties. The skills I have gained as a mum are also useful for the team at work and the aspect of feeling understood and being heard is powerful. I think it is important to create a strong connection within a team. And in these challenging times we live in today I do want to put the emphasis on a peaceful coexistence, understanding each other and helping to create a complementing environment where differences are our strengths.

Sanela Armstrong - Team Lead Global Client Operations (Berlin)

Why is it important to have an equal workplace?

Establishing equality in the workplace is essential for contributing to healthy communication among coworkers. When there's equality in the workplace, team members can understand each other better, offer mutual support, and increase productivity on collaborative tasks. The workplace should be a safe environment where employees feel empowered to share ideas and express themselves confidently. They are also more likely to seek assistance during difficult times and offer help to others once they feel respected in their community. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and fairness, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. Equality is a fundamental step toward achieving this goal. 

Sofia Romão - Project Manager (Lisbon)


What are the biggest challenges women still face globally, and how can we address them? 

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges for women is still equality. Whether it's salary, career opportunities or something as basic as having control over your own body, women still have a lot of hurdles to overcome. As soon as women break out of typical gender roles and go their own way or even just stand out, they are often criticised. Having to justify all the things that men can decide for themselves without any discussion is tiring. This is precisely why it is so important that we never stop promoting women, that we see women in leadership positions, that we offer all women the same opportunities as men and that we never stop talking about equality and feminism. 

Danielle Bücher - Casting Manager/Booker (Berlin)

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

I think in Mexico, the difference between men and women in terms of leadership is still very marked. 

From my point of view, I think this is because certain old rules still apply when they choose leaders. In many companies the most subjective reasons are still evident, for example, they do not choose women because there is a belief that a woman will not give her job the same weight or will not know how to balance her work life with home life and it is believed that this can interfere with her job. 

Some companies only seek to comply with the gender quota, that is, they only promote one woman, and the other positions are filled by men; and finally, there is a deeply rooted belief that a woman does not represent an authority figure when managing work. 

All these situations no longer apply, since women can perfectly balance their lives at home, as well as their activities at their jobs, in addition to being able to direct a team objectively and provide good results. 

There are still many biases to eradicate, but I firmly believe that we are on the right path. They are no longer applied in so many companies, which is significant because those outdated beliefs are being eliminated. 

Belén Reyna - Data Manager (Mexico City)


What actions do you think need to be taken to better inspire inclusion within the workplace?

Throughout my extensive experience in the localisation industry, I have witnessed an increasing number of individuals from diverse backgrounds join the field. As someone with a unique cultural perspective, who is originally from Venezuela, I’ve navigated the intricacies of understanding the society in which I reside and work. I believe inclusion serves as a cornerstone to a fair and equitable society, if we can cultivate an inclusive work environment and dismantle barriers, we are effectively able to embrace differences and foster a more comprehensive approach to everything we do. 

Throughout my nearly two decades’ experience in the localisation industry, I have witnessed an increasing number of individuals from diverse backgrounds join the field. As someone with a unique cultural perspective, who is originally from Venezuela, I’ve navigated the intricacies of understanding the society in which I reside and work. This journey has involved confronting and dispelling biases and assumptions and further enabling me to contribute to society through my work. 

While societal progress inherently fosters inclusivity, it’s crucial to recognise and address specific challenges within such a specific industry as localisation. This recognition enables us to effectively address and embrace differences, fostering a more comprehensive approach to everything we do.  

Inclusion serves as a cornerstone to a fair and equitable society. By cultivating an inclusive work environment within the localisation industry, we must confront disparities and dismantle barriers that hinder the full participation of individuals across the various facets of our industry. This can be achieved through a variety of initiatives including training programs that facilitate integration, whilst accounting for individuals’ unique backgrounds and contexts. 

Ivan Garcia - Mixer & Editor, Team Lead (Spain)

Why is IWD as important today as when it was first celebrated? 

In 1910, the idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed by Clara Zetkin, a German Social Democrat. A good reason to check where we are in Germany today.  

One would have hoped that by 2024, in a country like ours, female leaders in companies would be much more common. That it would be about leaders, no longer about male vs. female ratios. 

It sounds great to read that the share of women in the management boards of the 160 biggest German listed companies has more than doubled since 2020. However, in reality the actual numbers are still pretty uncompelling and way behind other countries. We're talking about 59 women in 2020 and 128 this year, compared to 568 male board members.  

Still, in about 40% of these companies all board members are male – there is not even a single woman in the management boards of over 60 big companies. Another 49% of these companies have only managed to promote one woman to the management board. Rather than seeing steady further increases, the numbers seem to stagnate as soon as legally required minimum quota have been met.  

Seeing this feels a little tiring and disillusioning, but I am confident things will continue to change.  

So, 114 years after Clara Zetkin's idea, we're still far away from saying "mission accomplished", not in Germany, and not in many other places around the world. And even after reaching milestones, these cannot be taken for granted. We should all use this day to promote and support the topic, look around us and help create more equality, in every part of society. I'm incredibly proud that VSI has always been a workplace that has shown so many positive examples for gender equality, over so many years, with great role models, both female and male. Let's keep going! 

Ulrike Schubert - Managing Director (Berlin)


Who is responsible for ensuring there is change and progress within the workplace? 

I believe that we are all responsible at different levels for ensuring change and progress. From the members who play minor roles in the workplace by communicating their needs and views, to company leaders, who with empathy, assertiveness and judgement, will be able to promote policies that will drive progress for all in an environment of fairness and equity. Another crucial part is the human resources area, which are able to provide guidance and support for the implementation of changes and sustainable progress in the internal culture and the improvement of the work environment. 

Oscar D. Galván Sanmartín - Senior Sound Engineer (Mexico City)

How can we collectively challenge gender stereotypes and promote gender equality in our society?

The early bird catches the worm always finds its way to apply to pretty much everything and gender equality is no exception – in fact, integrating it into school curricula is key to challenge stereotypes early. This can be done in many different ways, from books and choice of words to team sports and family activities, infusing the idea that all individuals are equal and worthy of equal rights and opportunities. Secondly, having diverse representation in advertising, media, and entertainment is also pivotal to inspiring and diffusing inclusive narratives in a world that functions through and is constantly exposed to media.  

Coming down to the workplace, there should be policies in place granting no differences in pay and career progression, and it is essential that women and marginalised genders are empowered through leadership roles that will inspire others. However, we should also remember that equality doesn’t mean putting someone on a pedestal, but on our same level, so we should not forget the importance of allies in supporting and promoting gender equality. 

I believe that ultimately, it all comes down to eliminating conceptual stereotypical barriers that have historically placed individuals in labelled boxes based on their gender, by fostering open dialogue, empathy, and respect in all aspects of our lives, standing next to, and not on top of another, and by inspiring those around us and new generations to do the same. And who knows? Maybe one day gender equality will be so instilled into our society that we will not have to talk about it as much as we do now. 

Rossella Nordio - Senior Project Manager (London)


Are there any particular women’s empowerment movements that have inspired you?

The #MeToo movement is definitely inspiring to me. Seeing others share their experiences through the #MeToo movement validated my own feelings and reminds me that I am not alone. Growing up where this wasn’t part of the narrative, I have now come to understand that harassment encompasses any unwanted or unwelcome advances, comments, or behaviours that make someone feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or threatened. This movement has been crucial in empowering me to recognise and help address any instances in day-to-day life. Together, we are driving crucial conversations about consent and respect, demanding accountability and fostering a supportive community to find strength and empowerment.

Michelle Wang - In-house Production Project Coordinator (London)