It’s no secret that women are a little under-represented in the industry, particularly when it comes to creative roles. But it’s not all doom and gloom for females in adland, and chatting to B&T, M&C Saatchi Sydney’s general manager Mim Haysom shared some thoughtful insight into what it’s like to be a woman in this industry.
“Women are facing the same challenges as women in other industries, in that we are still under represented at a leadership level,” Haysom told B&T.
“In Australia women hold only 14.2 per cent of chair positions, and 23.6 per cent of directorships, and advertising stats sit at a similar level. It’s this under-representation that creates inequality.
“I think the issue is that women are under-represented, particularly in creative departments, not that they are considered unequal or inferior.
“I know so many women who have thrived and been incredibly successful in our industry, and the things they have in common are a great emotional intelligence, authenticity, the ability to build relationships, take people on their journey and buy into their vision.
“Women naturally tend to have a great EQ and be great nurturers and connectors – all qualities that are advantageous in a ‘people’ business like ours.”
Haysom said taking time out to start a family is a big worry for many career women who don’t want to lose their place in the workforce.
“I think for those who would like to, taking time out to have children is also perceived to be harder than ever before.
“I speak to so many young women who fear being ‘out of the game’ for an extended period of time assuming their skills will become out dated or irrelevant, because the environment they work in is changing so rapidly.
“This is definitely amplifying the challenges that come with juggling motherhood in our industry.”
But despite the issues, Haysom told B&T she feels positive about the way we’re heading.
“I am optimistic about our industry,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful industry to be part of and I believe that to resolve gender equality issues there needs to be recognition the issue exists in the first place, and we have definitely raised awareness in our industry of the issues.
“And it’s not just an advertising and media issue by the way, only 15.4 per cent of CEO’s in Australia are female, so we’re not on our own here. And there are increasingly more and more agency leaders and industry bodies getting involved and changing the status quo around gender equality, and that’s really encouraging.
“It’s important for senior female leaders in our industry to share their experience, and support other women choosing to forge a career in our industry. It’s also important for us to celebrate and recognise those women who are doing brilliant things, to put the spotlight on their achievements and recognize them.
“Women in Media is a celebration of women in our industry. It’s inspiring and something I’m proud to be part of. But wouldn’t it be brilliant just to have ‘the media awards’ that women dominate in!”