IWD 2023: Women need a seat at the table and support to get them there
International Women’s Day is a timely reminder for individuals and companies to take stock of their diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. This year’s theme, ‘Embrace Equity’, goes beyond increasing the number of women employees. It challenges us to deepen our understanding and use it to cultivate a more inclusive and supportive ecosystem, one that can elevate and empower its employees and, ultimately, better the business.
Understanding your employee’s lived experiences can help to amplify their contribution to the workplace, whether that’s connecting with like-minded internal and external stakeholders, including customers, or sharing a different perspective on an idea. This insight can also help the business to create a more personalised, sustainable career path plan.
Diversity fosters innovation
Research from the Diversity Council of Australia shows that diverse teams are 11 times more likely to be highly effective and ten times more innovative than non-diverse teams. It is no secret that having a range of different minds working together on a problem can result in interesting ways of thinking and a unique outcome.
In the marketing industry, if our approach is single-minded, then our outputs will be too. It is important for our thinking and creative teams to understand and reflect the diversity of the audience and markets we want to engage. Consumers are more likely to engage with ads that feel authentic and speak to them as individuals. With half of the consumer population being female, it is important to have that perspective from the start.
At Criteo, nearly 50% of our employees are women and, led by Megan Clarken, a woman CEO who champions our focus on ensuring that voices of all backgrounds are valued.
Female role models are vital
C-suite executives play an essential role in promoting equity and supporting women, in their own companies, within their external network and in the wider industry. It is not just about having a seat at the table (which is incredibly important); it is also about empowering and championing others on their way up.
A recent industry census by the Advertising Council Australia (ACA) found a high number of women in junior levels (70%), with women over the age of 45 making up around 15%. While these numbers may be impacted by several factors, including a desire to focus on family or not wanting to take on additional responsibilities due to other commitments, visibility and self-belief also play a part. We need to see it to believe it’s possible. This is why talent and mentorship programs are essential for attracting and retaining women in tech. Companies need to work with women of all levels to ensure they have a clear path to progression and strong role models to guide them there.
What can we do better?
Look at employee remuneration. Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13.3%, with women earning 87 cents for every dollar a male takes home. At Criteo, we are proud of our Pay Parity Action Plan. The company commits to regular gender pay equity analysis for full pay parity across the business and has closed the salary gap between men and women to zero. This is a program we hope to see extend further into the industry.
Work on cultivating an inclusive and supportive ecosystem companywide. Champion talented women at all levels, creating opportunities for growth and then mentoring and supporting employees throughout their career journey.
Improving equity cannot be achieved overnight. It takes commitment and dedication, but the results will pay dividends – for the individual, the business and for society.