The B&T Women in Media Awards were held last week with a sold-out event to celebrate all the inspiring and innovative women we have in the industry. Here, a former winner of one of the Women in Media Awards, Yasmin Quemard, senior creative at Ensemble, IPG Mediabrands, explains why the industry needs to recognise these women,
Every year as the token feminist I am asked at least once to explain (possibly justify) why there isn’t a Men in Media Awards. I should be slightly miffed, but thanks to answering ‘Are you going to that tampon party?’ on my way to a SheSays event, I am only mildly frustrated.
So why is there a Women in Media Awards? Well there is a plethora of facts we could throw at the answer. Only one in ten executive management personnel in ASX 500 companies are women. On the flipside, having an award ceremony like this celebrates these women that are the minority. KPMG, one of the big four accountancy firms, in their 2015 study found six in ten of the women that took part in the research couldn’t see themselves as a leader. The winners of the B&T Women in Media Awards are effectively role models who now have a public domain to turn this statistic around. And speaking of things going public, B&T have created a platform to raise the issue on the growing gender pay gap in Australia, which is currently sitting at 18.8 per cent.
While the B&T Women in Media Awards will not singlehandedly solve gender inequality, it is at the very least rising above the rhetoric of the issue by actually doing something about it.
I think why most agencies, bodies and organisations are in a constant state of inertia is that, well the problem just seems so big and all solutions, however well meaning, are quick to appear as pitifully futile when dealing with such a complex issue.
That’s why I think there is something in taking a leaf out of all of those behavioural change books I tend to find never far away from a strategist. To tackle a problem so big, there is merit in thinking small. Small, simple, realistic actions anyone can do to be part of fixing the problem.
Part of the problem lies in the reluctance of women to promote their own achievements internally, which can hinder a promotion. If they can’t then we can.
We can take the small step of isolating day-to-day examples of a woman’s ability and then choose to actively promote her achievement among our internal networks. That way the power of one single compliment becomes part of a larger, more important narrative – the case for her promotion. It also becomes the fuel for her self-belief and the collective change amongst us all in how we evaluate the qualities of future leaders.
It’s a small step, isn’t it? But it’s big. It won’t win awards, but it could change someone’s life.