Six agency representatives signed a mandate to improve gender equality in their organisations yesterday at the Campaign360 conference in Hong Kong.
The signatories were Gerry Boyle of Publicis Media; Nick Waters of Dentsu Aegis Network; Cheuk Chiang of Omnicom Media Group; Angela Ryan of GroupM; Vishnu Mohan of Havas Media; and Leigh Terry of IPG Mediabrands. Campaign brand director Atifa Silk also signed the document as a witness.
The mandate takes into account the fact that only 31 percent of companies in the sector have a plan in place to develop gender equality. The agreement aims to raise awareness of the need for gender equality among both men and women; promote understanding of the benefits of flexible working arrangements; have senior executives mentor successors of the opposite sex; and determine the pay gap between men and women in individual companies. The agency representatives pledged to work on all or some of the actions.
Ryan said change was urgent: At the current rate, “it will be 2095 before women have full equity in the workplace and we have to come together and say that is simply not acceptable,” she said shortly before signing.
Chiang pointed to stereotypes and unconscious gender bias as hurdles to overcome. Boyle concluded by saying the issue was not so much about gender as “doing the right thing”.
“It’s the right thing for business, people, clients and product,” he said. “The mandate is a great thing because it forces behavioural change.”