Earlier this month, we saw a wave of views, events, opinion pieces, and action as women from every walk of life and business came together to mark International Women’s Day (IWD).
Indeed, we all made the point that this should not just be a matter of one day, but that we should ensure the conversations and energy created on IWD are carried forward for the whole year.
However, where does this leave men?
You guys need to embrace the movement, because equality for women can only happen if we also have equality for men.
The Commons committee report last week that recommended fathers should be entitled to receive one month off work when their wife or partner has a baby and be paid 90% of their salary, is a direct result of the women’s movement and the fight for equality.
Unless there are progressive policies for men and childcare, you can’t free women to do the roles we want and have the kind of balance necessary. Part time work, time off for wedding preparations, flexible hours and leaving early to see the kids’ school play are options that should be available for the men and the women in our industry – and this will only happen if women have the opportunity to fill in that time and build a balance between all employees.
And it’s not just about men having the opportunity to fight for the flexible hours women are demanding, there are other lessons men can learn from IWD. For all the talk of diversity, the issue is currently that in many agencies there is still a feeling that it’s essential to act macho to get ahead! By bringing more balance into the workspace, this will take the pressure off men to fit this stressful role.
How can you help?
‘Opportunities for all’ needs to become more than a slogan. Women in leadership positions in marketing remain horribly underrepresented, with research from Creative Equals showing just 12% of creative directors are female. In order to achieve progressive flexible working environments, we need the men in leadership positions to mentor and support female talent.
Why not take value and even possibly take lesson from commonly recognised female traits?
Empathy – Now, I’m not saying that men lack empathy, but together we are stronger is my mantra. Rather than acting alone, collaboration with others can bring extraordinary results. Female leaders excel at relationship building and partnership can be a recipe for marketing success. Utilise the power of collaboration to include all opinions and mindsets and build a stronger team.
Listening – No-one would disagree that women know how to chat! Yes, we love a good gossip and that’s because we enjoy listening to other’s stories and ideas. Asking questions, inviting opinion and understanding others combine to create the best ideas. Join the conversation, don’t dominate it.
Self-belief – Women tend to have a sense of self and an awareness of their strengths (and weaknesses), which allows them to grow into success. Self-confidence, belief in your own ability and shooting to win are essential qualities, but taken to the extreme these become arrogance and egotism. Remember that although confidence is the key, ego can cloud your judgement and commit discrimination in the process.
Together we’re stronger!
Tamara Gillian is founder and chief executive officer of Cherry London.