Slow out of the starting gates, the advertising industry hasn’t seen “nearly enough” in the way of addressing the marginalisation of women, Bec Brideson says.
During this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards, presented by Bauer Media, we’ll be recognising exceptional people who have achieved success in their professional arenas, celebrating their invaluable contribution to their industry through leadership, innovation and courage.
Well-respected across the creative industries as a champion of change, Bec Brideson recently spoke to B&T about where advertising is going wrong and why it is guilty of “woke-washing”—an expression the Venus Comms chief executive explained is the modern equivalent of “pink washing”.
“It’s like this way of thinking that just because you say something very superficial that it’s actually going to make a change,” Brideson tells B&T.
“In Cannes last year there was a lot of talking about ‘woke-washing’, because the big topics on the agenda were around gender and culture and race equality—but no one is actually making the changes or measuring the data.”
Brideson points to the recent example of the Interpublic Group, which revealed the sorry state of equal opportunity in the United States, as a gold-standard for how to be open and address problems of inequity.
These inequities have, however, been extraordinarily nefarious. A year on from the viral kick-start of the #MeToo movement, in 2018 The Agency Circle released staggering figures that showed as many as 42 per cent of women in Australian advertising had experienced sexual harassment—while 20 per cent had on more than one occasion.
In research released in 2019, The Agency Circle reported “positive results” in relation to sexual harassment, with 85 per cent of women saying they had never encountered such behaviour—15 per cent, however, still had.
Brideson says there have been discussions among leaders in ad-land on addressing the problem, but nothing concrete has occurred to address inequities among the sexes.
“They didn’t say: ‘let’s look at women’s progress in their careers over the last couple of decades’; ‘let’s look at where the female leaders are’; ‘let’s look at the pay inequalities’; ‘let’s look at the treatment of people who have been discriminated against and let’s actually change that’.”
Emphasising such a stagnation on action, Brideson says, was the industry’s behaviour around the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.
“Agencies were asked to waive their non-disclosure agreements and they didn’t,” she tells B&T.
“On the one hand they’re saying, ‘we really care about the treatment of our women’—but they wouldn’t waive that opportunity, so that women who’ve been affected and had non-disclosure agreements put against them could make statements to the national inquiry.”
The way through the spin and the PR-esque “woke-washing”, according to Brideson—who received the 2019 Women in Media Awards award for ‘Champion of Change’—could involve industry-wide initiatives like agency accreditation.
Among these is the Australian federal government’s WGEA ‘Employer of Choice for Gender Equality’ citation, which strategically aligns with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
That, however, would require self-auditing, which agencies may drag their feet on—especially if they were found to be complicit in covering up behaviours detrimental to other people, Brideson says.
“If agencies won’t do this sort of self-assessment and won’t do it themselves, then clients who are a little bit more answerable—because they may have shareholders that they’re answerable too, or they want to be seen as a brand that is doing right by all of its potential consumers and constituents—could drive that,” she says.
“So, given that clients hold the purse strings, I would think that would be a great place to start … clients should demand more—but that’s a big cultural issue as well, because you may have some brands and some clients who are not particularly ‘woke’ themselves.”
Undoubtedly, this would require the kind of courage and dignity from the industry that Bec Brideson has shown her entire career for industry-wide change to occur—qualities that the B&T Women in Media Awards will continue to celebrate.
Don’t be shy, be proud of your achievements and enter B&T’s Women In Media! Submit your entry here.
You can also buy tickets to the event here, which will be held on Wednesday 28 October 2020, at Doltone House (Jones Bay Wharf).
And, if you’d like more information, head to this website.
Other key information
On-time deadline: Friday 21 August 2020 (5pm AEST)
Late entries deadline: Friday 28 August 2020 (5pm AEST)
Shortlist announced: Wednesday 23 September 2020.
Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible!
Google and News Corp are creating more new jobs for regional journalists, launching the Digital News Academy. The academy will exist as a partnership between the two companies and offer digital skill development to 750 local and regional news professionals from a variety of outlets. According to Google and News Corp, the academy will focus […]
GroupM agency Mindshare has won the media account for Jenny Craig following a competitive pitch. The account was previously held by Cummins&Partners. The agency will handle Jenny Craig’s offline and TV media planning and buying. Mindshare’s analytics team and investment team will work hand in glove and draw on the GroupM Advanced Analytics Centre of […]
The Olympics may give nations a huge boost in the parochial nationalism stakes (particularly those winning gold medals), however, that doesn’t necessarily appear to be the case in the UK at the moment with the arrival of a new billboard campaign calling for the end of the monarchy. The out of home campaign is the […]
Sky News has had its YouTube channel suspended for one week, following a review of the network’s COVID-19 coverage. The suspension means the Sky News YouTube channel – which currently has over 1.85 million subscribers – will be unable to upload any videos for seven days, however, pre-existing content that was posted before Thursday and […]
Nova 919 has announced that Jodie Oddy will officially join the station, with The Jodie Oddy Show set to kickstart Nova’s weekends. An Adelaide radio favourite and one of the most enduring and successful female media personalities in SA, Oddy joins Nova with over 13 years breakfast radio experience and is excited to be getting […]
Reigning radio king Kyle Sandilands, has called out his own show on KIIS 106.5 for censoring politician Pauline Hanson. ‘The Kyle & Jackie O show has been on a high since the announcement it won the latest ratings survey. However, things became tense on Friday when Hanson’s anti-vaccination comments were censored. The right-wing politician has been […]
Rolling Stone Australia publisher The Brag Media has today announced four-time Grammy winning artist Keith Urban as its cover artist for its upcoming sixth issue out September 6, marking his first time ever to be anointed with the cover of Rolling Stone. Delving into the curious mind of Keith Urban, the cover feature profiles one […]
MTV and ARN’s iHeartRadio Australia has announced the launch of MTV Sounds On iHeartRadio, a new pop up radio station to celebrate four decades of the iconic MTV brand. Launching on ARN’s iHeartRadio Australia on Monday, 2 August, the station will explore epic music moments looking back and beyond to celebrate MTV past, present and […]
Agency Nature has announced the recruitment of a series of new professional staff across its Melbourne and Sydney offices. The addition of the new staff in recent months – follows strong growth in both offices during 2020-21 and is part of Nature’s ongoing investment in its people and capabilities. In Sydney, three new hires take […]
ARN has officially turned off the mics on the Australian Radio Network. From today, ‘Australian Radio Network’ will be replaced with ‘ARN’. Following a holistic review of the audio landscape, brand proposition and culture at ARN, a confident brand evolution will be launched to market, with quality connections and audio at the heart of everything […]
The Smith Family have teamed up with Asahi lifestyle beverages and launched the national campaign “The Big Giveback” aiming to raise much-needed funds for the charity. The campaign launches nationally this month to raise much-needed funds for young Australians in need through The Smith Family’s education support programs. The campaign comes after a new survey […]
Women’s Health has today announced a new editor-in-chief, Lizza Gebilagin (main photo), who will lead the brand across print, digital, audio and events. Gebilagin was most recently the brand’s executive editor, alongside Jacqui Mooney, who will step down from the role to explore new opportunities but will continue to consult to the brand on major […]
SCA’s Triple M will broadcast cricket again after Cricket Australia and the FM network finalised a three-year partnership for men’s international cricket in Australia. Triple M will kick off their coverage with what promises to be an epic 2021-22 Vodafone Ashes series from December 8 at The Gabba in Brisbane alongside every Test and One-Day […]
The Foxtel Group and Amazon Prime Video have announced a significant agreement to integrate the Prime Video app into Foxtel set-tops by the end of 2021. The deal aims to accelerate its streaming aggregation strategy to bring together, live and on-demand, all in one place. The new partnership will enable all Foxtel customers with a […]
Jacqueline Gonzales [featured image] is the Head of Global Marketing at Squarespace. In this piece, she shares her best pieces of advice for launching a campaign globally. It’s estimated that we see between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. In today’s digital landscape we’re constantly bombarded by so many different brand messages from every […]