For International Women’s Day 2022, we are joining in with the discussion about #breakingthebias in marketing and creating a world free of stereotypes and discrimination, where workforces are diverse, equitable and inclusive.
At Brilliant Agency, we have a largely woman led work-force and 66% of our board of directors are female… that’s 2 out of 3. Though the mould is already being skewed through these facts alone, the continued lack of gender equality in the workforce makes it clear that it’s more than just a numbers game.
THE GLASS CEILING
With this in mind, Brilliant are already taking some steps against the grain of the UK marketing industry where an ongoing cycle of discrimination exists, and where a glass ceiling effect consigns many women to a career of working hard for less gain.
Although women are more likely than men to be in manager or head-of-department roles, men are twice as likely to be CEO or MD according to data collected in 2015. Not only does this set women up to be limited in their progression in the industry, it disempowers women who are just starting out in the industry who see their potential as being immediately capped.
STEREOTYPES AND ASSUMPTIONS
Re-writing the narrative of women in this industry involves acknowledging the intersections that exist between various factors like gender, race, sexuality and class. Large swathes of the workforce are still held back from achieving their full potential within agencies due to a damaging mix of stereotypes, expectations and assumptions that are placed on them.
Earlier today, I attended an insightful webinar about sexism in the workplace and the prevalence of the “Mad Men days” courtesy of Street Agency. The women on the panel discussed how such stereotypes aren’t just placed upon women in the workplace, but can be unconsciously internalised by them. This leaves women feeling as though they ‘don’t belong’, or don’t have certain inherent qualities that are needed to progress into certain positions.
Women need to be given the space to feel empowered before they can have truly open conversations about how to carve out space for themselves at the very top of marketing agencies.
Even on the fundamental basis of pay, the gap between what men and women earn persists in the marketing industry and within the workforce as a whole.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report announced that following the pandemic, we face a global increase in the number of years before the gender pay gap is going to be closed completely from 99.5 to 135.5 years.
Part of closing this gap is empowering women in the workplace to feel confident enough to ask for proper renumeration for the value that their work adds to their company. A simple first step for employers to contribute to closing the pay gap is by publishing their salary brackets, which we do at Brilliant so that employees can rest assured that they are not being sold short or discriminated against in any way.
Another topic brought up during the discussed Street Agencies’ International Women’s Day Webinar was that of derogatory work talk, and the “just banter” that women are often subjected to and supposed to laugh off.
Women need to feel more empowered to stand up for themselves and the starting point for that is for disempowering language to be made unacceptable.