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The Age of Diversity and Equality

My colleague Michaella Williams and I recently sat in the audience for an interesting panel discussion at dmexco on the benefits of diversity in the workplace. As Tom Know, IPA President once said ‘It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the best thing to do’.


The panel consisted of senior women in the marketing industry including Aline Santos (EVP at Unilever) and Kristen O’Hara (CMO at Time Warner).


Below are some of our key highlights from the session:

• In the digital world women equate for less than 30% of workforce.
• 63% of millennial women don’t think you can have a high powered career and family. There is a need for the industry to promote a culture whereby women do not feel they need to choose and can overcome stereotypes and self-defeatist perceptions.
• There is a need for advertising to stop using traditional female stereotypes in communications as there is a need for our clients to be more progressive. This would make their campaigns more engaging and relative for audiences. For example 40% of advertising is not reflective of today’s realities.
• Gender equality is celebrating differences it is not just about equal pay and women in high roles. That said there is a need to change inclusion in numbers and believing that is equality being ticked off, equal opportunities need to also develop. To help highlight the difference an analogy: diversity is equal to inviting 50% women and 50% men to a party. Inclusion is helping women to have the confidence and platform to get up and dance at the party.
• Women do not need to fit into the outward male stereotype assertive displays of ambition. Women are different to men so we need to recognise this difference and understand women may wish to display their ambitions differently. “Trying to be a man is a waste of a women”.
• Universe behaviours need to be called out amongst the industry as well as unconscious bias and assumptions. Don’t presume a women is not going to be interested in a certain role because she has or wants a family.
• We need to educate the majority and not the minority as those who have already been effected, whilst the above focuses mainly on gender there are various other unequal groups e.g. disability.


Diversity and equality is important for us as business and earlier this year we took the IPA pledge to #maketheleap. The targets are to be met by 2020, but we are proud to have achieved this already:

• Aim for 40 % female representation in senior positions by 2020
• Aim for 15 % BAME representation in senior positions by 2020
• Help eliminate unconscious bias through training
• Raise awareness of flexible, or agile, working policies


We accept that maintaining diversity and equal opportunities in the work place is an ongoing process. The team is regularly taking part in training and we also ask the team to complete anonymous surveys to keep ourselves in check.


Nadia Khaldi, Associate Director & Head of Engagement 



Sources: IPA 2017, dmexco ‘The Age of Diversity, Equalities and Opportunities’ 14th Sep 2017