Almost half of females in the marketing industry have experienced sexism, research from The Drum’s Women in Marketing study suggests

Women in the marketing industry are still struggling to gain access to the same opportunities as their male counterparts, with male-dominated management, lack of opportunities for progression and underlying sexism stifling women’s roles, research from The Drum has found.

Almost half (49 per cent) of over 500 respondents to The Drum’s inaugural Women in Marketing study said they had experienced sexism at some point in their careers, indicating underlying discrimination is still a problem in the industry.

The survey was conducted during March/April 2014, with 518 respondents taking part, and sought to shed light on the experiences of women in the marketing industries, with a look at work/life balance, career progression, discrimination and personal development.

24 per cent were not satisfied with their current rate of career progression, with some describing it as ‘stagnant’ or having hit a ‘glass ceiling’. One trend among respondents not satisfied with their progression was gender, with many citing majority male leadership as impacting their ability to progress.

A quarter were unsatisfied with their opportunities for personal development, blaming lack of training, development and mentoring opportunities.

Amy Kean, head of consumer innovation at Havas, said: “This research is a blessing and a curse. Whilst it highlights an important issue which should be welcomed, it also serves to remind us that casual sexism is still very real and very common, which is extremely depressing.

“What we need to work on as an industry is those snap judgements that are far more ingrained than any equality law. The main conclusion we can draw from this research is that HR departments need to work harder to address the subconscious bias that has been learned – probably from as early as the classroom – what is and isn't socially acceptable gender-specific behaviour.”

The research is explored in the 28 May issue of The Drum, published today, while a cross-section of influential women in the industry discuss sexism here.

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