Doing it for the girls

I’m ending the year on my women in marketing soap box. As well as our awards, November marks the Women in Marketing Awards. Now in its 4th year, the awards were founded, and are organised, by Ade Onilude to recognise the achievements of women in marketing.

The atmosphere is far less corporate than other awards I’ve been to, Ade sets the tone wonderfully by joking her way through her welcome speech. For the last two years Daryl Fielding has had the task of hosting the awards and she never disappoints. The brand director of Vodafone UK, was inspiring and funny, making light of her recent divorce as an icebreaker and stating that organisations needed at least 30 per cent of leaders to be female before it reached a critcal mass.

Anne Godfrey, CEO of the CIM, closed proceedings with a particularly rousing speech. She admitted she used to get grumpy when people wanted to talk about women in marketing because she’s shocked it’s still an issue today. But Anne insisted that women need to take ownership of the current disparity and tell people when they achieve something great; make it known that you’re good, people aren’t psychics. She also urged attendees to be ambassadors of talent, saying, if you see someone, of any sex, going unrecognised then step in and help them get noticed.

This year there was no B2B category because the demand wasn’t there. This shocked me because I meet extremely talented female B2B marketers all the time. You attend our events, you read the magazine, you contribute to features and we’ve made a real effort to ensure you are represented. So much so that the number of females profiled in the magazine this year has gone from 10 per cent to 50 per cent. So I urge you to take note of the Women in Marketing group. As well as the awards, they run a conference in March to coincide with International Women’s Day.

November also saw the publication of some sadly unsurprising figures that revealed the pay gap between men and women in marketing is widening.

But what worries me more is the reaction this discussion gets in print. When I talk to women in an informal environment many will comment on the under-representation of our sex in various industries, including marketing. However, when we write features or blogs on the topic we are often met with silence or comments insisting there isn’t much of an issue.

This time around things started to look the same. One week into researching a feature on the topic my colleague commented on how difficult she was finding it to get women to speak up. Thankfully I’ve met some pretty forthright women this year and Anne Godfrey and Kelly Herrick, head of marketing at Lietcorp, are among those who gave an honest account of their time in marketing and offered some great advice.
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