By: Ryan Ayers
Decision-makers can create a more equitable – and profitable – work environment by promoting gender equality – starting with the marketing business unit.
During the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, no women took the stage during keynote addresses, and female business leaders noticed. Across various industries, women are now speaking up about the lack of executive representation for female professionals.
Today, women executives around the world are stepping up and doing something about underrepresentation in the workplace – especially in the marketing field.
A grassroots gender parity revolution is underway. Now is the time for decision-makers to promote equality to close the gender gap and position their organization for success.
Workplace Gender Inequality Runs Rampant
Women are a driving force in the economy. They represent nearly 50% of the workforce. Nevertheless, only 3% make it to the C-suite.
In the United States, there are 60 million women participating in the workforce. Still, women continue to earn an average of only 80% of their male equals.
The challenges that female professionals face are tangible and multifaceted. For instance, studies show that 21% of women are likely to earn top performer status, compared to only 12% of men. Nevertheless, employers are less likely to move a female professional up the corporate ladder.
Also, 42% of women professionals work fewer hours because of family responsibilities, versus only 28% of men who work fewer hours for the same reason. This circumstance, combined with a lack of support, fear of failure, and rampant gender inequality creates considerable obstacles for female professionals.
The Benefits of Gender Diversity and Inclusion
There is no sound moral or scientific basis for gender discrimination. Nevertheless, employers are more likely to encourage men to pursue leadership roles rather than women. As a result, many organizations miss out on the skill and balance that female professionals bring to the table.
For example, many women have a different leadership style compared to their male equals. A recent survey of executives reveals that women possess an intuitively holistic and self-reflective approach to leadership.
According to the survey, women apply their naturally holistic style to managerial roles, which makes them highly competent leaders. Furthermore, women place a higher value on work-life balance. As a result, they’re more adept at balancing soft skills and leadership skills.
Finally, women leaders are better at creating less authoritative work environments, where staff members are more cooperative. They nurture a family-like environment but still maintain stable leadership.
Guiding an Inclusive Marketing Strategy
In today’s social culture, it’s standard for companies to need to incorporate inclusive marketing strategies if they want to grow. Creating a brand awareness is only part of the marketing equation. Creating brand alignment is extremely important to today’s audience, and in order to create brand alignment, marketers need to direct inclusive campaigns.
According to Dr. Maria Blekher, director of the online masters in digital marketing program at Yeshiva University, inclusive marketing is acknowledging that people are different, and it matters to consumers.
“Millennials are more inclined to choose socially responsible brands that demonstrate inclusiveness over competitors. It represents cultural change when it includes people from different genders, LGBT community, people of color, people of different age. Brands that want to stay relevant should embrace this change in their campaigns.”
Women and men should both lead inclusive strategies, however, women can be more sensitive to the nuances and complexities of directing an inclusive campaign.
“For many years female representation in marketing campaign was not inclusive. It mostly represented young women with specific physical features such as; weight, height, color etc. Other women were not included.
Women were represented by phantasy image that had very little with most of the female population. Inclusive marketing is changing this image by catching up with reality, where women have different body types, color and age are welcomed,” says Dr. Blekher.
Reexamining the Problem
Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping decision-makers across a range of fields and industries discover remarkable opportunities for improvement. While this circumstance is highly beneficial, technology is also making many jobs obsolete.
Recent studies show that most of the jobs threatened by obsoletion are roles currently held by women. Around the world, 26 million women face displacement by innovation.
A relatively small percentage of men face the same circumstance. These statistics highlight the need to encourage women to upskill in preparation for a technology-driven work environment.
There is, however, a more disturbing trend regarding gender inequality. Studies show that the very technology that helps organizations find opportunities for improvement is itself biased.
Most of the engineers who develop AI technology are male, and unconscious bias seeps into the algorithms of most programming, according to research conducted by the World Economic Forum.
For example, the Forum’s study revealed that the algorithms used to automate human resource processes were biased toward selecting male candidates, especially for roles in AI development.
Technology is leading the charge into the future. And women must contribute to the development of the technology that organizations use to choose job candidates, make mission-critical decisions, and direct marketing campaigns. Striking a gender-balance in the technology sector is the first step toward developing improved collaboration, creativity, and innovation across all industries.
Around the world, a 32% global gender gap persists. Business leaders have done good work in working toward gender parity in the workplace. However, society has a long way to go before reaching the goal of true gender parity.
Many women professionals are inspired by the potential of technology to mitigate the gender gap.
Moving forward, decision-makers must make women feel confident in assuming roles of leadership in technology and marketing. Gender parity is a win for enterprises – and society.
About the author
Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of companies within multiple industries including information technology and big data. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on data collection and analysis.