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The media planning and strategy market is currently flourishing, the number of meet ups and events we are attending can certainly attest to this. However, after attending a talk given by Karen Blackett (CEO Mediacom) the issue surrounding women in media at a senior level was discussed, this got us thinking about the media industry and the disparity between men and women.
Roisin Donnelly, Brand Director at P&G Northern Europe recently stated that all too often women are their own worst critics. She explains: "We can’t feel guilty about what we decide to do with our lives, you can't be in two places at the same time and you can’t do it all."
These issues can sometimes be from the grassroots level. Recently the #LikeAgirl campaign has grabbed viewers’ attention. The campaign highlights the confidence crisis in some young women and looks to tackle the “like a girl” phrase which can install confidence issues at a critical stage of young women’s lives. The campaign turns the phrase into an empowering statement, one that provides a good insight into our changing culture.
From an organisational perspective it can be argued that some brands champion change more so than others. This is in terms of providing a true representation of women at board level with regards to creative agencies. Only 11% of Creative Directors are women, this is a frustrating statistic and raises a separate issue on whether certain needs and requirements are being met for women to progress within their careers.
The advertising space is currently a male-dominated environment. According to the 2013 IPG/Ad age study, 75% of females indicated gender diversity as a problem within the advertising industry. While only 47% of men said the same thing. The same study also found that 68% of advertising managers were men. On top of this finding, the gender pay gap widened last year for the first time in five years with women paid 19.1% less than men.
Why is this the case and what is the solution?
Karen Blackett highlighted the importance of organisations becoming proactive in their approach to gender balance within the industry and adapting their structures accordingly. Mediacom for example have placed a particular focus on flexibility and well-being which has enabled their female employees to achieve their true potential. This is backed up by the following stats:
· 52% of Mediacom employees are women
· 36% of women are in senior leadership positions
· 57% of the senior leadership team (the board) are women
Some media organisations are now investing heavily in gender representation at board level so that they can accurately represent their market. The current and next generation of media specialists could correct this current gender imbalance within the industry. Key figures in large organisations need to take responsibility and make positive changes internally to allow for more women in leadership positions by nurturing and encouraging talent. If more leaders and organisations took a leaf from Karen Blackett’s book the media landscape would surely be more representative.