It is often said by Wacl members that Wacl Gather is one of the best things that we do and this year’s event, with a theme of “work your way” was no exception.
For starters, it was a sell-out – by no means a given in cost-conscious business times – with some 400 women from the creative/media and communication industries in attendance, to listen to our fantastic speakers, to interact, to network, to learn, and to share their ideas with us and each other.
In addition, our speakers were particularly brilliant and diverse in terms of their insights and their perspectives – less “preaching to the converted” and much more inspiration from different angles.
The day identified some key challenges, many of which are at a scale that require input either from companies or even the government.
The importance of technology and maths is a key issue (in particular, its growing role in marketing and comms). However, the systematic failure to address gender imbalance throughout the system (getting girls to choose physics/maths/engineering at school and then uni, attracting women into these careers, and the reaching the highest levels within tech companies).
The problem of unconscious bias was also picked up by the panel as an important issue and, of course, identified by people like Mark Ritson as an issue endemic within the marketing world.
Further, there are still not enough female role models in senior roles within the industry (number two on the list of issues identified by the delegates).
And finally, there remains the issue of men being hired or promoted on potential and women on experience (voted the number one issue holding women back by delegates).
While greater awareness of the issue among managers/ leaders could have a major impact in changing this, it’s also fair to say that we women could do a lot too. Apparently women will only go for a job if they think they fulfil between 80% and 90% of the criteria, whereas men will go for it if…