So, Where Are All The Women On Adland Panels?

So, Where Are All The Women On Adland Panels?
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, Sarah Wyse (pictured below) – chief revenue officer at Allure Media and founder of Wyse Women – explains why now is the time to hit the issue of gender diversity on the head.

Sarah Wyse

Much has been spoken about the issue of gender diversity in our industry over the past week and the lack of women appearing on panels. We have talked about it, written about it, voiced our disdain and hashtagged about it. However, now is the time to leverage this momentum and take action.

Before I kick off, it is worth just reminding ourselves why this needs to be addressed: panels made up of only men suggest that women’s views are not valued. Importantly, this isn’t a message we want to send to our peers or younger generations, and it has been proven time and time again that the inclusion of women on panels, events and in leadership positions can positively impact a company’s bottom line.

When we first started thinking about this, there were an overwhelming number of questions we wanted answered: why don’t we have equal representation of men and women on panels? Why don’t we have enough senior women in our industry? Why are we still talking about these issues year after year after year? Wyse Women has spent the past nine months with hundreds of women in the media, marketing and communications industry understanding how they feel about the opportunities available to them, their priorities and career aspirations including their attitudes towards pubic speaking. Some of the research we have attained is quite eye-opening, and whilst we firmly believe this is the output of a series of deeper rooted challenges within the industry, it’s important that we understand where these thoughts come from if we are going to make a positive change.

Why are we not seeing more women on panels?

There are so many reasons cited for why we rarely see equal representation on a panel and it can be tough to distinguish the excuses from the reality (Google Dr James Fox’s ‘conference bingo’ when you have a spare minute – it makes for an amusing read). Whilst there is certainly truth in the fact that there are less women in senior positions, hence making for a smaller pool of senior candidates, an interesting panel discussion doesn’t need to include only the most senior or most experienced – it is the different perspectives from a diverse group of people that encourages lively conversation.

So, what about the idea that women don’t volunteer themselves as freely as men? Wyse Women surveyed close to 400 professional women aged between 30 and 50 in October 2016 with the aim of understanding their desire to undertake flexible work and their career priorities and aspirations.

We have also spoken to our female friends and colleagues in the industry with mixed backgrounds and different levels of seniority and the feedback was similar and quite confronting – it largely came down to confidence. Some were nervous by the thought of public speaking, others lacked confidence in their opinions, some feared being ridiculed and others questioned their ability to tackle challenges. We can criticise these views, but the unfortunate truth is that for many women this is their reality.

There are many factors that have contributed to this lack of confidence, and a large part of it comes from years of being knocked back, the feeling of having to prove themselves over and over, having to watch their male counterparts earn more money than them, fighting for their positions after going on maternity leave and feeling isolated and unsupported when returning to work after an extended period of leave. Whilst many of us may not have firsthand experience of this treatment, we must all recognise that these practices exist and that these experiences gradually chip away at self-confidence until suddenly we are left with a large portion of the female workforce questioning their value and contribution.

The other popular explanation is that businesses are putting forward more male than female candidates. Is this because women aren’t putting their hands up? Is this because they lack confidence? Perhaps they aren’t moving into senior positions because they lack the sort of exposure they would achieve by talking on a panel? Perhaps lack of self-confidence prevents them from applying for the top jobs? It feels like we are starting to go around in circles. Then, not to be ignored, is the power of needing to ‘see it to be it’, and with less women in senior positions, we have less female role models for the younger generations. This is a critical piece that we will come back to another time, but one that is so very important. Actress Geena Davis has even started an initiative called See Jane, which talks specifically about the impact that poor representation of women in the film and media industry has on our children. Her tagline “If she can see it, she can be it” perfectly sums up why we need to make a conscious effort to include women publicly at events and speaking panels.

What can we do about it?

Well, the good news is that we have a few suggestions, and they are things that can be done today – and need to be done today. There are no excuses now – our businesses need to support us, our industry needs to come together and advocate change and we, as women, also need to take action ourselves.

Here are just a few of the things we can all do right now:

Businesses: talk to your female workforce and understand the blocks they are facing. If it’s fear of public speaking, offer them support and training. If you have a limited senior female workforce, then put steps in place today to tackle this (see our suggestions below), but also help to upskill and empower the women you do have. There will be a lot of women in your workforce more than capable of talking on a panel – you just need to identify and help them overcome the barriers preventing them from doing so.

Event organisers: you need to set an example and commit to more balanced panels. Rather than focusing on seniority as the main criteria, instead look for diversity. Work with female speakers to ensure they feel comfortable with the format, host practice sessions, provide help and guidance, and provide accurate post-reporting to remove the concern of being misquoted.

Senior women: offer your time as a mentor to younger colleagues. If you are happy to speak on a panel but haven’t been approached, actively approach event companies to offer your services and add yourself to directories of women happy to speak publicly (such as Peggy’s List).

ALL women: speak to your employers and actively seek support in overcoming barriers that are preventing you from speaking in public. Engage senior members of the industry and seek a mentor who can help you develop. Encourage, praise and support your female co-workers who put themselves forward for panels.

Men: support your female colleagues and recommend them for speaking opportunities that are in their areas of expertise. You can also ask the event organisers who is on the panel when you are invited so you can see that you’ll be speaking on a panel that has gender diversity.

There is no doubt that there are deeper issues at play which won’t be solved overnight, but I hope through open minds and conversations that we can start to make positive change, attracting a more diverse and well-represented workforce (and I don’t just mean gender diversity, as we also have a long way to go in other areas such as culture and ethnicity).

3% Conference banner

 

Latest News

oOh!media Acquires Here, There & Everywhere-Owned Adshel For $570M
  • Media

oOh!media Acquires Here, There & Everywhere-Owned Adshel For $570M

oOh!media has acquired Here, There & Everywhere-owned Adshel for $570 million. The move follows a bidding war between oOh!media and APN Outdoor for the outdoor street furniture business. In April, Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) received a revised offer of $470 million from oOh!media for Adshel, however, HT&E claimed it wasn’t the “most attractive” one […]

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations
  • Media

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations

The Daylight Agency’s significant growth has continued with the appointment of Shelley Hammond as Director of Agency Operations. Shelley is a leader in the global communications industry and brings vast experience following senior roles in major corporates as well as the agency environment. Shelley will be responsible for the commercial running of Daylight including client retention and […]

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge
  • Advertising

Host/Havas Takes Out Cannes Grand Prix With Palau Pledge

Host/Havas has secured Australia’s first grand prix award at Cannes overnight, taking out the top gong for the direct lions with its work Palau Pledge. The work, which sees all visitors to the tiny island nation have their passport stamped with a pledge to be a good environmental citizen, which they must sign before entering […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
  • Technology

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video

Instagram unveils new eye-catching feature. Slicing onions while reading this will also make it eye-watering.

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes
  • Media

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes

Curated this year by Ridley Scott, famed director of Alien, The Martian and other classics, The New Directors Showcase at Cannes is now in its 28th year. Acting as a platform for talented new directors to have their work premiered to a global audience, Scott took to the stage in front of a full house […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data

ANZ and media agency PHD have partnered with JCDecaux to launch a unique campaign that harnesses the power of data across three cities incorporating actual tram, train and bus timetable information to align with the new ANZ App.

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video
  • Technology

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video

Ooyala survey finds media companies created and processed nearly three times as much video content in Q1 as Media Companies Created & Processed Nearly Three Times As Much Video Content in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017.

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]