Did you know that while 85% of ALL consumer purchases are made by women only 3% of advertising creative directors are women?
And are you shocked to know that while women 1) account for 39% of the country’s top wealth earners, and 2) over the next decade, will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States, be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history…there are still 30 public companies in the S&P 500 that are ALL MALE in decision-making roles, with no women on the board of directors or among the top five highest-paid officers, according to Bloomberg Rankings?
It’s shocking. It’s sickening. It’s a call to action.
So Where My Ladies At?
I was reading this recent article in the New Yorker on Sheryl Sandberg and how she is an exception to the rule in the male-dominated Silicon Valley. She is 38 years old and she just left Google to become COO at Facebook, alongside Mark Zuckerburg and his small team. To use “impressive” to describe her story, is an understatement. It really got me thinking about why the business and advertising world is so male-dominated and how we women can fix that.I suggest you read the whole article, but in case you won’t, here are a few things I find profoundly true that need to be addressed.
1) In some cases, it’s still unexpected that women can do the same job, and in some cases, a better job, than men. And I think that’s both their fault and ours. Men might be unaware of what women are capable of- but that makes them only part of the problem. Showing them, weighs on us. Sandberg sums it up by saying “Sit at the table”. For example, she shares the stat that while most men negotiate their salaries, while only 7% of women do likewise.
2) One of the main reasons we are having a harder time competing at those most senior levels is because there is a serious gap when it comes to women in technology. This is an old issue, but it’s a current issue. Women are perceived to be lacking when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)- and as more and more industries and job opportunities require increasing levels of STEM knowledge- women are edging themselves out of the competition. It’s something we have to overcome.
3) Most women don’t have one full-time job. I’m a lucky gal, and I for sure have about 3 or 4. I work full-time at GSD&M, I have a little boy, and while I have an amazingly supportive husband, I also manage most of what goes on at home. And my husband will tell you that this is not something that goes unnoticed- or unaddressed. Sandberg talks about this quite a bit in her article. She makes the very common observation that men have an easier time getting ahead because women start to back down as they take on more in parenting and home life. To deal with that- she says it’s important to partner with men that really want to PARTNER.
She continues to talk about the issue of women and juggling by sharing this bit of advice with women: “Don’t leave before you leave.” Don’t stop raising your hand because you’re thinking about having kids…as long as you’re there- really go for it. And I would add to that, if you ARE planning on leaving upon having kids, you have even more pressure to bang that shit out and accomplish everything you can beforehand.
Anyway- all this to say there is clearly a need for addressing the imbalance. And there are many ways to do this. There is opportunity on a personal level, clearly, but beyond that there is opportunity via women-to-women mentorship. My next post will highlight a few of these opportunities…in the meantime, come on ladies. Let’s do this.