Gender. What’s the issue?

  • Voices
  • March 15, 2017
Gender. What’s the issue?

It’s with trepidation that I weigh in on this incendiary topic. To be honest, I’ve avoided it at all costs in the past, because of the ramifications of being branded a ‘feminazi’ and the effect that would have on my career.    

I’m not alone. I spoke to many powerful female executives and CEOs, who I rate and respect, and while they had a lot of insightful things to say on the topic, no one would go on record.

But surely this shouldn’t be a thing anymore? Surely, we should be comfortable talking about any issue without concerns over how it might affect our careers?      

I firmly believe male-and-female creative teams are the most potent. We come at challenges from different points of view and with different background experiences. This combination offers diversity of thought that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. That’s what leads to the richest, most engaging outcomes for business. And in the connected world we live in, where we can potentially reach two billion people at once, surely we wouldn’t want to rule out 50 percent of them because we don’t get them?

Speaking about connecting, I’m a proud mother of two little boys and am one of only two female executive creative directors in the country. Sure, I have a lot more commitments now and like all working parents, it’s a juggle. But because females drive 70-80 percent of household decisions I actively bring my home life experiences to work and put all that understanding into the campaigns we create.

Like lots of working parents, I often come to work with someone else’s breakfast on my top, an endless list of stuff to ‘sort’ at home, which never seems to get done. But we all do. If only there were more of us in senior creative and marketing roles to share these experiences, discuss how it makes us feel and reflect this understanding in the products we produce and the ads we make to sell them. Imagine if we ‘marketing mums’ got together and shared what really motivates us. The things that turn us off products, drive us crazy, make us happy and what makes us reach again and again for the old favourites. Wine and nappy wipes currently feature heavily in my basket. Every staff member offers these kinds of insights—and the more diverse the workforce, the more varied the findings.

So with that in mind, I’d like to encourage all those clever women at home with children, worried their brains don’t work anymore, or that they can’t do both, to give it a go. We need you. And for all you female creatives, CEOs and marketing directors in roles, let’s start talking. Who says we can’t change the world.

  • Bridget Taylor is the executive creative director at Contagion.

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