Up until 3rd August 2016 Kevin Roberts was the chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi, one of the largest and most high profile companies in the world. For those of you that were already on a sun lounger by then reading a John Grisham or you skipped over it because you thought it didn't matter to you here is a quick re-cap.
In an article in Business Insider magazine Roberts stated that there is no longer a gender diversity issue in advertising - though only 11.4% of creative directors are female and there is only one female Global CEO of an advertising company. He also attracted criticism for his suggestion that prominent industry diversity activist Cindy Gallop makes a lot of stuff up "to create a profile, and to take applause,\" adding that he believed many women are not interested in leadership roles and he doesn't think it is important that they want to be leaders.
Why is this important - firstly it highlighted, as my consultant/friend Jo Hind sums up, "Women have different and more complex career decisions to make, their contribution is often valued differently and they can find it harder to navigate organisations that are very "male\" in culture."
Secondly it got a lot of people to start 'doing stuff' rather than 'talking about stuff' and that is what we need to do. Hence why this article has a list of things that you can do to make a difference and trust me it will whatever gender you are, the size of your company, your job role or employment status.
1. Review the situation in your company internally. How is the management team made up? Are traditional male and female roles prevalent and are you flexible on these i.e. male engineering and female marketing. What is the path to get on the management team? What policies do you have for maternity and paternity leave? Is the environment and culture conducive to encouraging women to apply?
2. Review your company externally. What do the images on your website say about your business and your views on diversity? If you are a manufacturer how do you approach tradeshows for your female staff and customers?
3. Think about the examples that you use in business - when pointing out the top 10 film directors make sure you have thought - is there a female in that list because she could be a really good role model for someone else.
4. Mentoring - this is important as it is a well-known fact that females are inspired by role models. Women in Film & TV and other groups run excellent mentoring schemes but also ask if you can have a mentor or volunteer to be one.
5. Encourage your staff to join the associations in the industry sector they work in - if it's something like the GTC then encourage them to go for board positions and also make them aware of the women's associations out there, these include Females in Broadcast Industry, Women in Film & TV, Animated Women and Women in Tech.
6. If you are female then get out there - start putting your hand up, volunteering to speak at events, find out who does your company's marketing/PR and see how you can get involved, enter awards - you won't be the only one doing it so enjoy it.
7. Education - go and speak at your local school/college and tell them about what a great industry we work in and how it is open to everyone, we must encourage more females to join the industry and this is the only way to do it.
I hope that these few ideas will make a difference and if you would like to get more involved then please contact me on Sadie.email@example.com