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How do you plan to elevate women in 2022?

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” On International Women’s Day, and everyday in between, the words of Martin Luther King feel particularly apt. 

We know the coronavirus crisis has disproportionately impacted women’s careers. Worse still in the wake of ‘the great resignation’ it is clear that burnout is particularly acute amongst women.

All In Census data found that 10 times more women than men believed parental leave negatively impacted their career progression (53% of women versus 5% of men). While women were six times more likely to be personally discriminated against because of their gender.

According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report, 2021 women are now significantly more burned out – and increasingly more so than men. One in three women says that they have considered downshifting their career or leaving the workforce this year. Yet despite this, women are carrying the load on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work. (DEI)

McKinsey’s research revealed that women leaders also spend more time than men on DEI work that falls outside of their formal job responsibilities, such as supporting employee resource groups and recruiting employees from underrepresented groups. Senior-level women are twice as likely as senior-level men to dedicate time to these tasks at least weekly. 

So this year to mark International Women’s Day we are asking senior male leaders across the industry what practical steps they are taking to elevate women in their organisations, every day, not just International Women’s Day.

 

Jake Dubbins – Managing Director, Media Bounty

It starts at the top. Media Bounty is co-owned by myself and my business partner, Emma Tozer. We are paid the same salary. The leadership team of six is 3 women and 3 men. This is not an accident. Representation matters

We have comprehensive policies on Flexible Working, ED&I, maternity, sexual harassment, menopause and more. Policies are important but they need to be backed by action. We have had flexible working since long before the pandemic, so people could timeshift their day around core hours. For working parents that means that school drop-offs and pick-ups are more easily manageable. As we exit the pandemic we have gone fully flexible so people can work from the office, from home or a mix of both. Women are more likely to be carers than men, so our working patterns allow that flexibility to care for children, elderly relatives or indeed pets. We support taking time out for children’s school plays, parents’ evenings, supporting family for medical appointments or trips to the vet. We have paid primary caregiver leave expressly for that purpose. We know that parents, and particularly mothers are often plagued by guilt. We try to normalise caring. Presenteeism is not part of our culture.  

On sexual harassment & bullying, we do not brush anything under the carpet. A few years ago a female colleague was inappropriately treated by a male client on a shoot. Fortunately she felt able to speak up and in close consultation with herI phoned the CEO of the business and called the behaviour out. An apology was made and the male client was removed from any contact with the agency. At all points we spoke to our colleague to understand if she was happy with the action and would have wholeheartedly supported her had she wanted to go any further. This year we have committed to undertake the Timeto training as a whole agency.

In work life and at home I am always super conscious of the default male language. I will always try to say ‘her or him’ when speaking about a role or character. It’s the same when talking about a potential partner/spouse. I always try to say ‘girlfriend or boyfriend’ if I am speaking to my kids and I don’t know if the person we are talking about has a partner. Language matters! It also matters in the a wider context too – legal contracts, job applications and the tedious habit of lawyers and accountants writing ‘Dear sirs’. Call it out!

Finally, I would encourage men to notice when you are talking too much. Those that know me know I am not short of an opinion. I try to check myself, consciously shut up to ensure others have space to talk and have also asked female colleagues for feedback to make sure I am not railroading a meeting. This can be even more pronounced on zoom. Know when to shut up. Notice when a colleague is about to speak. Read the bloody room even if it is a zoom room.

 
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