Ensuring equity for women in our industry
International Women's Day, a moment to reflect on the wonderful women we work with, the women that drive us to be the best versions of ourselves, and also, how far we've come and the work yet left to do for ensuring representation and leadership of women in the advertising/marketing industry.
In Australian advertising, 84% of CEOs, 60% of senior executives and 71% of creative and design professionals are men*. “When I started in the industry in the late 90s (gulp) there was hardly any female representation in the creative department. I always felt 'it would be nice to get a female perspective' on this brief”, says Jodie Hameister, Account Manager.
As Briannan Dean, General Manager puts it, “at Rhythm we tell stories - brand stories, stories of change, stories of a community or a movement. Often women are at the heart of these stories, and more often than not are a key audience or target demographic. Doesn’t it just make sense to have women taking important seats at the table?”
We're lucky enough here at Rhythm to have over 50% of our workforce as women, with 60% of our senior leadership roles filled by women. This gender split isn't really just luck, it's also by design and is a part of our business strategy - and we’re proud of it.
Gemma Rule, Rhythm’s co-founder, has had an important hand in this womens empowerment strategy. “When first starting the business, it was always important to me to build out a strong female team and therefore strong presence in the industry. Running a business alongside family is often a juggle, but it's allowed me a huge amount of flexibility that I wouldn't have in other workplaces. My hope is that my daughter can see that women are capable of being both creative, strong business owners and nurturing mothers. I want the other mum’s on our team to have this same opportunity”, says Gemma.
This is part of the task at hand - it’s not only about having more women work in the advertising industry, it’s also about ensuring that once they’re in the role they are supported and have opportunities to advance in their careers. A workplace culture that fosters respect, inclusion and diversity is a critical part of this, and so is equal pay and flexible working arrangements which allow women to accommodate their commitments to family and to themselves. This is true inclusion and another step away from gender stereotyping.
As Laura Morano, Rhythm’s Senior Account Director, aptly notes “The need for initiatives that increase diversity, equality and inclusion through awareness raising, training, mentoring and policy changes is still as present as ever before, but I am encouraged by the direction this is going and by the fact that conversations are taking place in business leadership tables around the world. Walking away from those important conversations because they are uncomfortable is the definition of privilege - and is fortunately a privilege our industry can no longer afford to have.”