Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

8th March 2022
Thoughts & Insights

This International Women’s Day we asked the team to summarise what the day means to them. Read on to hear about their experiences, opinions, and advice.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Why do you think it’s important?  

“IWD is important to bring to the forefront some of the issues and obstacles women are facing in business. Women have come a long way in the workplace but there’s still so much more to be done. Biases affect women starting out in business and continue to affect them every step of the way. Companies claim they are committed to gender diversity, but women are still under-represented at all levels.” Julie Ayton, Group Client Services Director.

“It’s an occasion for celebration, but also for reflection. It’s important to look back at how far we have come, because it’s easy to forget just how few opportunities women had in the not-so-distant past. And along with this, it’s a day to recognise what we still need to do to achieve real equality.” Helen Kennedy, Content Manager.

“It’s about recognition and respect for those who are influential in all aspects of life but seem to fall short of receiving credit. It’s about ensuring that women across the globe are recognised for their hard work, sacrifice, inspiration, and dedication to not just those around them, but to millions of people worldwide.” Mani Dosanji, Digital Marketing Manager.

“It’s a time to celebrate positive change, raise awareness, add momentum, and lead the way for sectors, industries, nations that lag behind.” Phil Marshall, Group CEO. 

“Although I believe women should be celebrated every day, for me IWD is a ‘formal’ chance to celebrate women’s achievements. However, the fact we still have IWD shows there’s still a lot of work to be done for promoting issues such as women’s rights and in tackling gender inequality. IWD is important because we’re still a long way from a gender equal world, a long way from a world that’s free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination and a long way from a world’s that inclusive.” Richard Robinson, Director.

“A day to celebrate the significant gender societal barriers that have been broken down and to put a spotlight on the inequality that remains. Internationally there are still huge gender injustices that impact human rights across political and domestic landscapes. We need to work towards a world where gender injustice is eradicated and where basic human rights are in place for all. Looking at what is happening in Ukraine where men are being forced to stay and fight for their country, I think we should strive for global gender equality.” Michelle Bancroft, Senior Account Director.

Which adverts have the seen that effectively break these biases or celebrate women in a powerful way? 

“No Room For Clichés | Royal Air Force Advert 2019.” Julie Ayton, Group Client Services Director.

“Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ is a standout campaign of recent years that effectively sought to break bias, instigating a movement for change. Brilliant in its tone and realism, the campaign struck a chord in celebrating women of all abilities, inspiring them to increase their physical activity without fear of being judged. The power of the campaign transcended gender and inspired many a male to get more physically active in the process.” Ian Graham, Creative Director.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for women working in the creative industries?  

“It’s an industry filled with very loud voices, and I often see women taking a backseat to it all, not out of weakness or lack of confidence, but more because being a loud, confident, and assertive woman is often seen as a negative trait in the workplace. This narrative simply needs to change. I do think this is also an internalised issue for women, so it runs a little deeper than just changing the workplace culture. However, it’s good to see events, such as Chicks in Advertising challenging the issue by bringing creative women together, handing over the mic and encouraging us to voice our thoughts and opinions as loudly and proudly as we want. I would love to see more of these empowering events in future.”  Chelsea Grimshaw, Content Executive.

“Based on it being a historically male orientated industry I see that this only creates opportunity for female influence, as outdated views continue to be proven to be negative for the industry and its output.”  Phil Marshall, Group CEO.

What’s the one thing you think we can do as a society to break remaining biases? 

“Work from a point of collaboration and always assume someone is attempting to communicate positively and from a good standpoint. Don’t condemn people for ignorance or inelegant behaviour or language, aim to show kindness and educate to get the best result.”  Kate Evans, Account Director.

What, in your opinion, can our male counterparts do to help us break the barrier and achieve equality? 

“I think non-defensive and proactive education into the experiences of women is one of the biggest steps men can take to break the bias. Listening to their female friends and peers without judgement, looking at their own biases and the biases of their male peers, and taking their own responsibility to educate themselves on the female experience.”  Sophie Cooke, Digital Campaign Planner.

“Having better options open for shared maternity and paternity leave would really help. This will involve societal attitude changes to make it more common for men take time off in conjunction with women, businesses to change their perspective to make this easier to do, and a general change in positivity around maternity leave. So many women are scared to go and tell their bosses they’re pregnant for fear of stepping away from any work success, and this is the major inequality that remains in society.”  Helen Kennedy, Content Manager.

“Males have a huge part to play in this. It’s not just about women speaking out and having to “prove” their worth. Gender shouldn’t even be a thought when it comes to creativity and quality – let the work speak for Itself. The sooner that males around the world can start to focus on the work Itself rather than who has done It, then we can move on from a society that continues to have these barriers in place, and we can all co-exist in equality. Treating everyone with respect and sincerity, regardless of gender, is the ultimate goal.” Mani Dosanji, Digital Marketing Manager.

Do you recommend a podcast or book that can enlighten people on feminist issues we experience today? 

“I’ve found the podcast ‘So I Got to Thinking’ really interesting from a feminist perspective. It’s a Sex and The City fan show, but they go back and try to answer the questions Carrie asks in each episode from a 2021 perspective. This really highlights how much attitudes to women in particular have changed just in the last 20 years, and as a gay man and trans woman, the hosts present some very interesting perspectives which I’ve found quite eye opening.”  Helen Kennedy, Content Manager.

“Specifically for our subject field “Brandsplaining” – Jane Cunningham & Philippa Roberts Michaela: The Power of Culture: The Michaela Way – Katherine Birbalsingh” Phil Marshall, Group CEO

“The podcast that’s given me so much knowledge about feminism ‘Goes Without Saying’ is a pretty frank but hilarious conversation on the issues women face, from safety on the streets to imposter syndrome. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for solidarity in the face of ‘everyday sexism’ or for a candid look into the world the way women experience it.” Sophie Cooke, Digital Campaign Planner.

“The ‘Women In…’ series by Rachel Ignotofsky. These books are an easy read that will enlighten the readers about women that have made a difference, they are suitable for any age group.” Zoe Higham, Marketing Executive.

What’s the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?  

“Don’t feel you have to act like a man in business to succeed, take YOUR personality into the workplace, not the one you expect people want to see. Be yourself.” Julie Ayton, Group Client Services Director.

“Thankfully the modern world is evolving so be bold and confident and you can succeed. Being a father of a young daughter, I have great hope for her future that the opportunities will be there for her to go out and achieve whatever she wants to when that time arrives.” Ian Graham, Creative Director.

“Do not be intimidated or afraid to pursue your dreams and goals based on the thoughts and opinions of ‘dinosaurs’! The mindsets of our younger generations are already shifting, and the older generation with outdated ideologies will soon be irrelevant, and you will have the freedom to carve your own paths, without prejudice, without discrimination. I constantly tell my daughter to always do what she believes in, and no matter what she chooses to do in life, I will always be there to support her.” Mani Dosanji, Digital Marketing Manager.

“If you only match 75% of the job description, APPLY. Too many women are not applying for roles they are 100% capable of doing and we’re missing out on so much talent because of it.” Chelsea Grimshaw, Content Executive.

“Never think you can’t! Always assume you can and then find a way to get there. You might end up at a different destination, but the journey will be much more positive and within your control.” Kate Evans, Account Director.

“To tell them to believe in themselves, have confidence and not to confine themselves via stereotype or gender. We tell girls they need to be strong women, why don’t we tell them to be strong. There are genuine barriers and injustices that need to be broken down but our narrative needs to change. STEM for women? Why not ‘Is STEM right for you?’ Targeting women for specific industries feels like an own goal and may lead to positive bias, we should target to all and communicate the possibilities that exist across society whatever gender we associate with.” Michelle Bancroft, Senior Account Director.

How are you #breakingthebias? Let us know on social.

Article by Zoe Higham

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