At B&T, We are staunch believers that every woman and her achievements should be celebrated, every day and always.
However, unfortunately, the achievements of women often go unnoticed. That’s why we launched our annual B&T Women in Media Awards – to recognise the amazing accomplishments of women across the marketing, communications and advertising industry.
In honour of our WIM Awards, we’re chatting to industry powerhouses; women we should all be keeping an eye on — women to watch.
Today we’re hearing from Isobar associate creative director Emma Park.
Initiatives like the WIM awards celebrate the strength, talent, ambition and impact women bring to this industry. But celebrating these women and giving visibility to their achievements is about more than recognition. It’s about what that message sends to everyone else – maybe if I saw more women creative directors growing up, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realise I could be one too.
I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for the amazing women in my life, including my mum. She taught me not to be a ‘nice’ girl. Because nice girls don’t talk about money. Nice girls don’t say when they’re uncomfortable or unhappy. Nice girls don’t get angry and they definitely don’t have sex. By teaching me not to be nice, Mum taught me to stand up for myself and those who can’t. To ask for what I want and to not be limited by the boundaries other people set. Now as a manager of several young females, I try and instill that in them too. I want them to speak up when they’re unhappy, chase the opportunities they want and value what they bring to the table. I don’t want them to be nice.
Reflecting on the biggest impediment to equality in the workforce, I’d say it’s anger. I’ve seen people berated for incorrect pronouns and ignorant comments. But ask anyone with an ex on drunk-dial: changing behaviour is two steps forward, one step back. Rather than getting angry when someone falls out of line, have a conversation. Help people understand where they’ve gone wrong, the impact it has and how they can improve.
In terms of the most unexpected champion of change for equality, I always think of a male colleague of mine. I was stepping into their position and negotiating salary. He said: “Let me know what they offer and I’ll tell you if you should demand more.” With that, he shifted the power dynamic and gave me more choice, control and confidence to get what I deserved.
What’s a little something everyone can do today that could potentially make a massive change in the struggle for equality?
Ask more questions.
If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?
Mandatory payment of superannuation for all Australians on paid parental leave. More often than not, women take on the role of primary carer. Sometimes that’s a maternal choice, other times it’s financial – it makes sense for whoever earns more to go back to work. And that big ol’ gender pay gap means generally, that’s Dad. So Mum’s earning less and stays home with the baby. During this time, she also stops receiving super. Add another child or two and come 65, Mum’s retiring with almost 30 per cent less super than Dad.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Try everything twice.