Are We There Yet?
Kathryn Jacob OBE
Pearl & Dean
Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem?
There are numerous stories of women returning to work after maternity leave but then being straight out of the door again due to the lack of opportunities and support that should have been available to them. Either that, or they are seen as non-contenders for senior roles.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we still have a lot of work to do in terms of looking at the landscape as a whole. Everyone needs to benefit from it and be included, and should be expected to suffer the ups as well as the downs.
How about something that proves we are making progress?
Creativity is one of the sectors in particular where there has been a lot of women who have had very successful careers, but left to have children and find it very hard to come back. We’re very fortunate to now have initiatives that address this problem, such as Creative Equal’s ‘return to work’ programs. As well as this, continued efforts from the IPA and other individual companies that focus on opening up advertising to a spectrum of people from different backgrounds have, and continue to be, crucial in driving progression in the creative industry.
What else needs to be done to get there?
I firmly believe there should be clear 50:50 gender split shortlists for every job, and interview boards with a gender balance. A diverse workforce has proven to be more profitable and they are better places to work; we can get there by reassessing the interview stage.
We’ve also got to banish the model where one person getting more opportunities means another will end up with less. We’ve got to learn to start thinking of ourselves as "pie bakers" and not "pie eaters."