Women in business about inclusivity and diversity, on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

This year’s IWD promotes equality, but not as being a women’s issue, but a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth … so let’s make it happen.

A select group of women that made their mark into the business world shared their opinions about the matter and AdHugger is happy to relay them.

Jenny Stanley, Founder and MD, Appetite Creative:

This year on IWD, I think it is a great time for the entire digital marketing industry to work at understanding the real value that a diverse workforce brings; both in terms of the workplace but also for the additional success and advantages that gender-equal environments have on the bottom line.

On the one hand, it is morally the right thing to do,  but in business we are driven by balance sheets and financials gains, and it is important for companies to understand the value that a  diverse workforce delivers.

Companies who only pretend to have a nice set of values printed in their handbook but really don’t put it into action, will not  get the  benefits that a diverse workforce brings. Now is the time to educate and show evidence of why and how inclusivity and diversity in the workplace really works.

Daisy Blue-Tinne, Agency Development Director,  Impact EMEA

“Our industry is rightly under continuous pressure to improve standards and transparency across both diversity and inclusion. However, I am concerned that in some cases this is leading to a higher focus on quota attainment, rather than nurturing diverse talent. For example, the decision by ASEuro to include only female speakers in their line up is undeniably a strong move, and while I support the intent, I feel that this exclusivity goes against the very notion of creating gender-equal opportunities.

The digital marketing industry is full of exceptional talent and we have to allow all individuals to excel, irrespective of race or gender.  As an industry, we are leading the way on partner marketing, advocating for the importance of partnerships and demonstrating how by working together, we are far stronger. So alongside championing inclusivity and diversity on IWD, let’s also consider the potential partnerships that could be leveraged to raise standards across the industry

Juliet McCutcheon, Sales Director, Channel Factory

In many ways digital marketing/ad tech is leading the way when it comes to creating an environment for gender equality with many industry leading companies introducing new policies such as shared parental leave and flexible hours for parents.

The industry as a whole is great for attracting young and capable talent and the pay gap figures proved that there is almost an even gender split in the bottom two quartiles. However, as an industry we need to identify the reasons why so few women are in top senior positions and address that head on.

In the same way that we challenge brands to examine their media buying and the type of environment that is suitable for them to advertise in, we should also ensure that we are leading by example when it comes to creating positive working environments for equal opportunity. What we have seen is that those brands that are committed to placing their ads next to content which is ethical and brand suitable, tend to reflects and amplifies the same values i in how they operate their businesses.

Daliya Wiens, Sales Director, White Bullet Solutions

It is easy for brands to become the headline for all the wrong reasons – be that either by appearing against inappropriate content, advertising on IP infringing sites or being highlighted as not creating a gender-equal environment. There is no reason why a well-prepared brand should find itself in such a position and should be providing a truly diverse and mindful working environment for their teams. In the same way that brands need to protect themselves against appearing next to inappropriate content or on illegal sites, they should also be making clear steps to ensure that they are inclusive and hold themselves accountable to an ethical code as a company.

Kelly Jacobson Collins, co-founder dawn London and Global Product Compliance Director, Unruly Media

For the last 10 years, dawn has strived to make the digital advertising industry #EachforEqual by running free events with inspiring speakers for women across the industry. We agree that individual actions have a larger collective impact and that these actions will create a gender equal world. We ask men and women in the advertising industry to look within and think what small thing can I do? Can I volunteer a female colleague for the panel instead of myself? Can I ensure the quiet female in the meeting has her voice heard? Does my leadership team represent #EachforEqual?  On IWD day this year, we hope that more companies ask these questions of their own businesses and make changes where needed to deliver a comprehensive gender-equal business moving forward.

Julia Smith, PR Director, Adverty

Throughout digital marketing industry generally there is still an uneven level of gender equality and diversity and this is especially true of the gaming industry. However, we are seeing a shift especially in in-app gaming as diversity simply does make good business sense and mobile gaming companies especially  seem to be leading the way with building their teams more equally and efficiently. It is vital for success, both as a business and for a brand, that we work to  try to redress the balance more evenly and an awareness of the challenge is the first priority. The second step is to then drive change and prove that a diverse and equal model works on the bottom line as well as the ethical line.

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