International Women’s Day: Propaganda Vs. Gender Bias

International Women’s Day is a time for us to put a spotlight on creating a gender equal world. Free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. As Managing Director of a brand consultancy that is 52% women, of which many hold senior positions, it boggles my mind that we have to have this conversation. Yet sadly we do.  In tribute to this year’s theme BreakTheBias, women across Propaganda call out past experiences of gender bias and we discuss the positive steps towards gender equality in the workplace.

 Laura Kynaston, Managing Director.

  

When I reflect on my career it’s refreshing to see it has been predominantly led by women leaders. Role models that never made me question the lack of women in leadership. When I set out as a fresh 22 year old, I had visions of what it would be like. Exciting creative, famous brands and big presentations. With it came long hours and a 100% commitment to the job and I loved it. When I became a mum I lost confidence having been out of the game for a while and questioned my ability. This is a time when a great employer truly shows.

My questions to mums are: How well do you feel supported coming back to work? How valued do you feel as an employee? Are you still recognised for career opportunities? Have you got flexibility to work around the commitments to your children? 

Just because I’m a mum doesn’t mean I’m not 100% committed to my job. Women should be encouraged to achieve both personally and professionally and I am proud to work at Propaganda where I am supported and empowered to flourish in both my roles.

Jo Parkinson, Account Director, marketer since 2005 and mum since 2016.

 

Every day I feel fortunate to be surrounded by incredible women. Leaders, colleagues, clients. Women who are raising a family while doing a kick ass job, women who blow me away with their talent, passion, and skill. And most importantly women who inspire and support each other. 

When I read stories of gender pay gaps or “glass ceilings” I can’t wrap my head around it – because I’ve only ever worked at a place where we celebrate men and women in equal measure – and quite rightly so. 

To all the women at Propaganda, I’m inspired by each and every one of you, and to all the men – thank you for never once make us question our worth.

Rachael Kynaston-Turner, Senior Account Director and single mum of 2 gorgeous boys.

 

As a senior (older woman) I can definitely say the issue shifts from sexism to ageism. Women and men are not perceived to age equally – for men, age brings power and status. For women, we are told, it’s about the loss of youth and looks, and with them, power. But, we are living in changing times and the volume of women fully growing up in the workplace is challenging that preconception. I am happy to say that I have had fantastic roles and projects throughout my career, and they only better with age.

Lately I have often been the only women in the team and the only woman in the meeting – and in that position, all parties understand the value that having that a woman brings. Statistically, we know that businesses with gender balanced boards do better. I am so pleased to be working with Propaganda, who are shining a light on the need for change within business and the marketplace. And that we’re looking at the role that our industry, as well as the brands we represent, has to play in that. Ageing – bring it on! 

Claire Lowson, Consultant, solo mum of two and advocate for positive female ageing

I previously worked in an agency led by women. Its clients were mainly from male dominated industries.  It wasn’t just being a female that I had to contend with, it was also my age. 

As a young female, I was grateful for the women around me, who were positive role models in demonstrating worth and empowered me to be the best version of me. We could do our hair, make-up and nails however we want and still be a boss at our job. 

It was invigorating to not have to change my appearance to be taken seriously. How I looked was no reflection upon my intelligence. I was able to add value and make a difference to my clients. This led to some great, measurable campaign results that I am extremely proud of.

Greta Deans, Project Manager.

For bias to be broken, employers play a vital role in enabling gender equality. Propaganda does not tolerate any form of gender bias today or any other day. It’s that simple.

Julian Kynaston, Chair.