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By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

December 6, 2016 | 2 min read

Dentsu Aegis is stepping up its commitment to diversity in the workplace with 'One', an employee resource group designed to help drive its vision of creating gender balanced leadership teams.

The network hopes that the initiative will help it achieve a 50:50 male to female balance by 2020 across the businesses leadership teams in the UK and Ireland.

The IPA reports in 2015 that only one third of all leadership positions in the advertising sector were held by women. As such, a cohort of employees from Dentsu's existing women and leadership programme are seeking to address the industry wide challenge.

One launches today and forms part of the firm's wider diversity and inclusion strategy which is headed up by chief executive Tracy De Groose; who this year conceived Fortysix, a digital agency that is staffed entirely by young people from diverse backgrounds.

Denstu Aegis has acknowledged that while it does well in terms of employing equal numbers of women and men across the organisation, the gender balance is skewed in more senior positions with fewer women represented at that level.

One's key objectives will be to inspire the next generation of female leaders and provide support and promote equal opportunities at every stage of parenthood. The collective will also seek to support talent development, engage with other equality initiatives and work with clients and partners to tackle unconscious bias and gender stereotypes in advertising.

Commenting on the launch, De Groose said: "As the people who should hold a mirror up to society, it's essential that the advertising world delivers real change in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion.

"To achieve that we need everyone 100 percent in. That’s why I’m incredibly proud to be launching ONE, our employee network for gender equality. It will be an agent for change and above all, inclusive to all."

Dentsu's advances toward attaining a 50:50 leadership split come as diversity quotas continue to be a talking point within the industry. Earlier this year several brands including General Mills and HP revealed they would be imposing quotas on their creative agencies to mixed reaction.

Marketing Diversity & Inclusion Dentsu Group

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