Last week I went to the IDM’s B2B Marketing Conference and when the panel discussion began I observed a familiar question being asked via Twitter: ‘No women on the panel?’ This is not a dig at the IDM, who in fact secured two excellent female keynote speakers (although one was a last minute stand in for a male speaker) Kate Robertson of Euro RSCG and Sharon Pickford of British Gas.
The question asked, by a woman, was one we were faced with at our Annual Conference last year. Out of our five keynote speakers, two were women and both had to drop out. While this can’t be helped, it’s frustrating to be questioned on the lack of female contribution when an effort has been made to ensure it.
I think the lack of senior female B2B marketers in the spotlight is an issue but I don’t think most women are doing much to help themselves. After the tweet questioning the lack of female speakers on the IDM panel, I asked (twice) why women were not as vocal in the sector as men, and was met with silence. On International Women’s Day this year I posted a blog asking why there seems to be a lack of contribution from women, and was again met with silence.
Women clearly feel something should be done because they are quick to point out the issue. However, when the discussion is raised, not many people want to take part. And this is frustrating, don’t simply point the problem out then sit back and hope doing nothing will make it go away.
As in most business, there are more men than women, but once that’s accounted for, why is there such a disparity between men and women in B2B marketing? Perhaps in your working lives there is no issue and you’re happy with how things are?
However, in the public domain there is a disparity and I think it’s because women aren’t very good at promoting themselves. It’s accepted that men are better at asking awkward questions about pay rises for example, and I think something similar going on with female B2B marketers and their ability to push themselves into contributing to industry discussions and raising their profiles.
Working on the editorial side of B2B Marketing, myself and my colleagues are always looking for comments for articles and contributors for our reports, eight times out of 10 those who volunteer to take part are men. So I ask, how do we solve this or is there simply not an issue?