“One of the main problems women continue to face in this industry is unconscious bias,” said Zhoe Low, global general manager of July.
“From constrained communication, which is the way we have to be more mindful when expressing authority and downplaying our accomplishments, to senior leadership and decision makers being mostly men even in women-dominated industries such as marketing.”
The Marketing Federation of Australia (MFA) revealed that while 61 per cent of people in the industry were women, just 43 per cent of management roles were held by women. The average woman’s salary was three per cent less than the average man’s.
“If workplaces, leaders and individuals better recognise and learn about their unconscious bias we’d be better set up for success. It’s also important that businesses consider how unconscious biases impact their hiring and performance review processes,” added Low.
This divide is not only self-inflicted within the industry but harmful, as well.
“Women are brilliant,” said Low.
“We’re creative, thoughtful, have world-changing ideas, and make up half of the population. If we’re not part of the conversation then the world is missing out. When you consider how impactful women’s innovation and ideas have been over the past few hundred years, from physics to engineering and design, at a time when we had limited access to education and employment, just imagine how much we’ll achieve now.”
Low is the global general manager of direct-to-consumer luggage company, July. She started her career working in comms for WorkSafe Australia, before moving into marketing for a range of different companies before joining July as its marketing lead in 2019 and being promoted to her current role last year.
“I’ve personally found there to be fewer barriers and more equal opportunities in my career to date,” said Low.
However, this is not simply due to good fortune on Low’s part.
“Outside of considered leadership, I believe technology has played a large part in this. From lowering the barrier to entry for entrepreneurship through platforms such as Shopify, which makes it so easy to start a business, to workplaces becoming more flexible through Slack and enacting supportive policies thanks to the likes of HR platforms CultureAmp and EmploymentHero. Previously, doors were closed to you if you didn’t know the right people behind them, but now anyone is just a connection request away on LinkedIn,” she said.
For women in digital marketing, and a range of other industry, these tools present a valuable opportunity to champion and highlight each other.
“I know so many incredible women who are doing great things but are not publicly visible. Seeing role models of people who have done what you aspire to makes all the difference by encouraging more women to step up, try new things and back themselves. I’d love to see more and continued opportunities that showcase the great and diverse women in our society,” said Low.
Of course, International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight the women changing the world of marketing.
“For me, International Women’s Day is all about highlighting our achievements and meeting great people. It’s a time to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere and bring greater awareness to the challenges we have faced and currently face, as people who work and live in Australia and around the world,” said Low.
“Every year I meet and hear from more women having the choice and opportunity to freely live their lives according to their values. Reading their stories, meeting them at events and hearing them speak on podcasts has had such a huge impact on me. It’s helped me shatter any self-limited beliefs and really fostered an “If she can do it, why can’t I?” attitude that I’m so grateful for.”
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