#BalanceForBetter: Celebrating International Women's Day 2019

Today, Friday 8 March 2019, is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women past and present. It also marks a call to action for accelerating the move toward a gender-balanced world.

In honour of this important date, our bumper blog sees volunteers from across the iProspect UK business share their views on two questions:

  • What does gender equality mean to you?
  • What advice would you give to others in our industry?

Erica Vonderwall, Digital Promotions Manager

For me, the dream is a workplace, a community, and a population built on mutual respect, fairness, and kindness – despite outward differences. I think the next generation are going to have a much better chance of achieving this because of the paths we have started to pave in the last few years, but there’s still a way to go before unconscious bias and inequality are completely behind us. We keep proving that ‘this girl can’ and the traditional boardroom is finally becoming more balanced with  gender, colour, ethnicity, and culture.

Persevere. Be the change you want to see in the industry. Stand up for what’s right, what’s fair, and what’s important. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to make it happen – be the someone else, for someone else. Challenge the norm. Question the status quo. Don’t give up. Don’t back down.

Pedro Mona, Executive Director – Platforms & Engineering

Boys and girls can have lots of differences. Brainpower is not one of them. Gender equality is a no-brainer – everybody should be given the same opportunities, rewards and objectives irrespective of gender. I simply cannot fathom somebody saying that my little girl should not aspire to something because she is a girl.

I think that as an industry we should celebrate the different perspectives of all our teams and reward people fairly across their performance and roles. These should really be the only two variables we look at. This goes beyond gender. We need the best people for the job. What we also need is to create the environment that guarantees gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or social background don’t affect the opportunity for somebody to get the right role and the right reward. People should be on par with their peers, always.

Chloe Hutchinson, Digital Promotions Executive

To me, gender equality means that everyone should be viewed and respected equally, no matter what gender they identify with, or even if they don’t identify with one at all. We should all be given the same opportunities and chances. We should all be heard and listened to, and work for the same rewards based on level and experience – and nothing else. Gender equality is as important as inclusion and diversity, especially in the workplace.

Continue to work hard, going above and beyond, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Take every opportunity to apply for awards, speak at company and team meetings and raise your profile. Show how invaluable you really are. You will be noticed and hard work really does pay off.

Jenny Wall, Client Performance Director

To me, gender equality means fairness. It is a place where the views and strengths of all individuals, regardless of gender, are fully embraced and valued. It is the throwing away of gender stereotypes and the empowerment of people. Gender should bear no influence on the treatment of individuals either inside or outside the workplace. Everybody should receive equal treatment in terms of their rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.

My advice?

  • Empower and build the confidence of your colleagues, whether they are female or male.  The more we can do that in the industry, the better
  • Open opportunities to everyone and build a truly inclusive culture
  • Support and nurture talent

Matthew Higgins, Head of Affiliates

It’s incredibly important to have gender equality throughout the industry. Every single individual brings new ideas and thought processes to the table, and the more inclusive the table is the better the outcomes. We need to make sure that everybody is empowered to achieve their full potential, whether through public speaking, leading meetings or managing client accounts. What matters most to me is that we have the best people in the industry bringing the best results.

More industry-wide initiatives such as the recently launched ‘Turn the Talk’ are helping to increase awareness across performance marketing. People in our industry need to look at events, and opportunities, and not default to the usual people. More diversity will only yield greater and more complete growth for our industry. If you’re a manager you should be empowering your staff, helping them reach their goals and enabling them to enjoy the career they have chosen.

Maeve Ayton, Performance Director

To me, gender equality means equal representation at every level. Female chief executives are still outnumbered by bosses called ‘Dave’, so while parents should probably get more inventive with baby names we must all work harder to diversify our workforce and leadership positions. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter and I think it’s an important message that everyone will benefit from gender equality, not just women!

The only way we will see more female CEOs is if we continue to celebrate and encourage female talent at all levels. We know our industry is fairly balanced from junior to mid-management levels, so we need to identify ways to get more women to step up and apply for senior positions and create gender balanced shortlists to recruit from.

Ben Keightley, Senior Client Development and Delivery Manager

Put simply, gender equality is exactly that. Equality for genders across all elements of employment. To me this means women should have the same opportunities as me for career development and promotions. This is vital to ensure we have broader perspectives and points of view at all levels of an organisation.  

Lead by example. The only way to change the status quo is to challenge it, support change and empower yourself, and the people you work with to make this change. And make it in such a way that it becomes the norm. I think we need advocates from both genders. We also need to empower the younger generation to redefine the way our business operates to deliver this equality.

Libby Darley, Group Planning Director

Part of me doesn’t agree with days like International Women’s Day and having to talk about the need for gender equality – it ‘should’ be a given for women to be treated equally in every aspect of their life. Gender equality for me means ensuring that we remove any barriers for women who aren’t being treated through the same lens as men, and also the mentalities that still exist which suggest women don’t require or deserve equal treatment. It means celebrating gender, without drawing attention to it. It means the right to fair treatment in work and in society, and it means equal opportunities. If we continue to stand up on days like these, then we can ensure that gender equality is a given for every girl that comes after us.

The only thing I can advise is don’t let gender become an issue. Work hard and be proud of who you are and if the occasion does arise where you feel like you’re being treated unequally or you’re witnessing unfair treatment, then don’t be afraid to say it aloud. The only way we’ll make a difference in delivering gender equality is if we act like equal treatment is perfectly normal.