Women Leading Change, sounds good but what is the reality? I was fortunate enough to attend and speak at the Women Leading Change conference hosted by Campaign last week. At this point, I warn you that that day was packed with learning, insight and plenty of discussion that I cannot do justice to, so Part 2 will follow shortly.

The day kicked off with the team from Kantar, Atifa Silk and Anne Rayner sharing the results from a survey around gender equality within the Media and Marketing industry.

The data and insights may show improvement towards women and our role in business, it remains nevertheless confronting that we still have some way to go and I don’t just mean women either as Kantar show 30% of men and 53% of women had experienced or observed sexual harassment but only 14% reported it. Gerry Boyle APAC Chairman of Publicis commented we have an emotional contract with the people who come to work and we need to ensure a safe working environment. 

We had some great panel discussions and one that resonated with me was looking at the journey of the rising stars and the importance of finding a range of mentors to help your development. Abigail Kwok from TBWA shared the importance of women helping each other and collaborating as opposed to competing, which makes you stop and think about what role each of us has to play in ensuring we are removing barriers to success and our own unconscious and implicit bias.  Bob Grove from Edelman made us all do a wonderful quick visual assessment on bias, and I think we all sat there probably thankful the results couldn’t be viewed. 

Which brings me to my big takeaway from Women Leading Change, whilst the unconscious is becoming more conscious, progress is slow and there still seems more talk than action. That’s not a criticism of the people in the room nor the organisations they represent as everyone acknowledged “it’s a journey”.

 Check out Part 2 and see what I can do to shape that reality.