International Women's Day 2019: thoughts from the women in our network

International Women's Day 2019: thoughts from the women in our network

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Senior leaders from Diageo, Pizza Hut, Mars, Tesco, TfL and Metlife offer their thoughts

This year, to celebrate International Women's Day 2019, we went to our network to ask them one question:

Two years on from #metoo, and with recent reports showing the significant gender pay gap, what do you think we can do as an industry and individuals to move the conversation forward and make change quicker?

Here's what they had to say:


Syl Saller
Marketing Society President and Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Diageo

I remain deeply concerned about the state of women’s equality in the world - and yet, even more optimistic about progress.

Despite all of our collective efforts as an industry, the pace of substantive chance has been too slow in how women are portrayed in content, how qualified women are represented at a senior level in creative development and how women are selected to be creative directors on content. We need to make faster progress and the time for action is now.

Change will happen through ambition and action. It’s about people and therefore, it’s about our leadership.  We all have to take individual responsibility for making our industry a better place to be, for women and diverse people in the broadest sense. And we all have to get behind great, practical initiatives like Free the Bid and the Creative Equals ‘Returners’ programme.

We can all benefit from more diverse teams which leverage the talent in our industry – fostering a better culture and producing better work. And we can only do this by supporting each other to move forward together.


Mitch Oliver
Global VP - Corporate Brand and Purpose at Mars

We are moving in the right direction, but the pace simply isn’t fast enough. Each of us needs to play a role by doing three things - be visible, be demanding and be supportive. 

Visible – say yes to the speaking gig, the interview, the lead, the presentation
Demanding – ask for what you need - money, time, whatever, just ask
Supportive – don’t just do it for women, do it for all people that struggle to be seen or heard – people with disabilities, LGBT people, BAME – be intersectional.

We can all play a role in making a difference.


Michelle McEttrick
Group Brand Director at Tesco

Women are critical to the success of all businesses, whether as leaders, customers or influencers. Recognising that gives commercial power to the support of women in business, which is stronger than any hashtag.

My personal priority is to engage male allies in conversation, in order to make change more quickly.

We’re all in this together!


Stephanie Tisdall
Customers and Public Affairs and External Relations Programme Lead at TfL

At Transport for London, we are working hard to tackle the gender pay gap and make our organisation more diverse, through improving our recruitment processes to ensure there is no gender bias and attract more women and young girls into the industry - but there is much more to do.

As an industry, we need to create more opportunities and provide practical support for women to access more senior, higher paid leadership roles. As individuals, we should keep challenging ourselves every day and call out instances when we see a lack of representation on boards or panels, to keep this crucial conversation going.


Beverley D'Cruz
Sales and Marketing Director at Pizza Hut Europe and UK

As leaders we should live by example and look inside our organisations and ask the tough questions, seek clarity and raise our voices against gaps that are unfair - the change always begins within.

We should promote an inclusive culture, one that is open and transparent.


Seraphina Wong
Financial Director at MetLife Hong Kong

Pay gaps, like any gaps, can be closed via internal and external efforts. Examples of internal include pressuring the employer to act on fair evaluating, enforce compensation by meritocracy, etc. Externally, we need to heighten awareness of the issues in a way that doesn't sound like complaints (perceived as women making noise), but by emphasising the facts, women's capability and economic value.

Call for transparency, collaboration. Closing gap is a process.

It's complicated because, in some cases, some women earn the pay, promotion, places... and then they quit the workplace to be moms. That shouldn't be a problem. It opens up a wider discussion of women talent retention. What needs to happen after the pay gap is closed? And, at the very top, C-suite levels, more men are hanging in there when some women are offered "societal options". As a feminist and a great run in corporate career, I'd say there are many opportunities for improvement. Pay gap is only one. I hope this article opens up thoughts and debates among all, regardless of gender, and cross sectionally.

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 08 Mar 2019
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