Women To Watch: DDB’s Priya Patel

Women To Watch: DDB’s Priya Patel
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Women are vital to any industry, especially the world of advertising and media. And, B&T doesn’t think it’s fair that some of these women fail to be recognised for their incredible work and efforts, simply because of their gender.

So, to celebrate the launch of our annual Women in Media Awards, we’ve asked a few industry power women to talk to us about why the Women in Media Awards are important, their best piece of advice, the most influential women in their lives and more.

Entries for B&T‘s Women in Media Awards are now open. Enter here. You can also buy tickets here, or read more here.

Pssssst – B&T is taking steps in addressing gender disparity in the workplace with our upcoming event Changing The Ratio. Buy your tickets here to be part of the movement.

Now, let’s hear from Priya Patel, DDB’s managing director.

Priya Patel colour headshot

Events like the Women in Media Awards shouldn’t be necessary, but they are.

There are more social, cultural and professional limiting factors that women need to ‘smash’ through to succeed than men. When they do, it should be cause for celebration for everyone.

When I say ‘smash factors’, things that spring to mind include carrying the social and logistical mental load at home – from solving daily dinner dramas, to organising the family social calendar, to buying new trainers for the kids. And if not singlehandedly solving these, women are usually playing the vital ‘admin’ and instruction function – ‘Darling, we don’t have milk, could you pick up some up?’ and so on.

Next, add a professional environment that has only relatively recently grasped that five full days of presenteeism might not be the only meaningful contribution a person can make; and that leaving to do a school run is not really ‘clocking off early to relax’. Add a dash of innate sexism – the classic ‘women aren’t naturally strategic’ or ‘she’s not as ambitious as him’ – and you have a catalogue of challenges that many women have to conquer in order to succeed.

And, it’s not just the above challenges women need to overcome. There’s also the issue of pressing issue of pay inequality. The biggest issue I see is a lack of transparency, coupled with immediacy. If every agency had to publish key data points including their mean and median gender pay gaps and the difference in the average bonuses they pay to men and women every single quarter; you’d likely have a bunch of pissed off women demanding better.  And most leaders, such as myself, having to respond to that consistent pressure.

I love initiatives like Women in Media because it celebrates and advocates for female talent and promotes their victories wherever possible.

Perhaps, when women have both equal representation at leadership level and pay equality, we can just have one big award night for everyone. For now, I’m thrilled initiatives like WIM exist.

I want to end with the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given: “Don’t compromise yourself; you’re all you have.”

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