Women in marketing

This Sunday, 8th March, is International Women’s Day, a chance to #MakeItHappen, celebrate women’s achievements and call for greater equality around the world. To mark the occasion, here at OTB we’re focusing on women in marketing…

It is estimated that of the entire world’s population, for every 101 males there are 100 females. The near-equality of this figure means the world is divided approximately 50/50 between its two genders, though naturally in practice this figure varies between countries and at different ages in the population. International Women’s Day, the annual awareness day devoted to the discussion of issues surrounding gender equality and opportunities for women, is a highly successful institution which since its foundation in 1909 has worked to improve women’s rights around the world.

The topic of women in business is often discussed in this context with women, particularly in the Western world, holding a wide variety of senior roles in business, politics and the media. In the marketing industry the same can be said, with women providing an integral element of the marketing process in all levels from copywriting and design to account management and CEOs.

The annual Women in Marketing Conference (WIM) is a prime example of the celebration of women in marketing, which since its launch in 2004 has sought to provide an outlet for discussion and progress for women in the industry. Run by The Chartered Institute of Marketing and sponsored by business giants such as Baileys and Diageo, every year the WIM conference deals with a topic for discussion, ranging in previous years from branding, communications, and global marketing to diversity and ethics. Founded by Ade Onilude, chairman of The Chartered Institute of Marketing Communications Group, the WIM conference now welcomes guests and speakers from companies and institutions such as Sainsbury’s and The Representation Project to inspire other women in marketing and provoke discussion of key topics.

Yet although these successes prove marketing to be a popular and positive place for women to work, there is still progress to be made. Although the male-dominated world so familiar to Mad Men viewers may be over, research has shown that sexism and inequality still exists within the marketing industry just as it does with so many others. In an article by leading magazine The Drum, it was found that ‘almost half (49 per cent) of over 500 respondents to [their] inaugural Women in Marketing study said they have experienced sexism at some point in their careers, with many suggesting that casual sexism is still implicitly accepted.’

According to Laura Bambach, president, D&AD and co-founder of SheSays, women still only account for 3% of all creative directors and it is for that reason that her organisation SheSays works to give women a voice and raise awareness of the remaining progress to be made to achieve equality. Bambach argues that with the renewed discussion of gender issues through new digital campaigns such as Everyday Sexism and theHeforShe campaign, the prospects for continued progress look bright. Watch out world, women are still working hard.

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