Yesterday, Val Morgan and POPSUGAR hosted a panel that featured four incredible and courageous female leaders in our industry – it was a rare and powerful call to action.
The panel that was created in honour of International Women’s Day was moderated by Industry powerhouse, Sunita Gloster and it featured four incredibly brave women, Phoebe Sloane from Special, Linda Fagerlund from Dentsu, Abigail Dubin Rhodin from Leo Burnett and Zoe Samios, SMH and The Age.
Crystal Andrews was the keynote speaker and she kicked the panel off by asking the hard questions, what are we doing to create a better culture for the next generation?
Each woman on the panel had their own unique story to tell.
Fagerlund shared the struggles she’s faced as an Asian woman in the industry and shared a story of how a boss called her by the wrong name for years.
Dubin Rhodin shared her experiences of having men in positions of power scream at her and her frustrations of having her ideas picked apart but the same ideas presented by men being celebrated. She also touched on the sexism that her friends experienced that had chosen to have families.
Sloane shared how she started the mentorship programme The Aunties to provide women with support and how she believed the talent crisis would continue until women were more supported in our industry.
Samios shared the sexism she’s endured by powerful men and the toll it takes on her when she’s constantly covering stories that involve allegations of sexual harassment.
The women dove headfirst into the topic of misogyny and the impact it has on the retention and attraction of women to our industry.
No conversation was off-limits and no subject was too delicate to tackle. They drew on their experiences in their own careers to have the conversation you usually reserve for over a few wines with close friends – raw and real!
It was uncomfortable to hear but it was also powerful and something that needs to be heard.
Gloster closed out the panel by sharing that she was going to try and no longer laugh along when she experienced sexism or racism. That she was going to make her own life more uncomfortable to hopefully create change.
Gloster told B&T, “It’s so easy to champion equality, to add a hashtag or do a podcast, but the hurdle is to break the culture of silence that masks the business as usual sexism, bullying and discrimination that women in the industry face every day.
“This IWD, I wanted us to have a more open and honest conversation about what’s really happening and to hear from women about what we can do to take away the fear of becoming the woman that complained which is career limiting.
“To stop the empty promises and hypocrisy that the industry is perpetuating about this issue. I am so glad Val Morgan decided to back it and get behind it.’
‘Our industry faces an acute talent shortage, and attracting and retaining our female talent is a critical conversation. So let’s also talk more openly about why women are not choosing our industry and why those that are leaving, are leaving or questioning it.
“We have all received texts and feedback that it was the most honest and confronting panel people have been to in their lifetime in the industry. Which is great, it was real progress. But now the onus is on every leader in the industry, which is everybody, to ask, what do we do next?’
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