How to Effectively Empower Women in Agency Settings

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By: 321

April 23, 2019

Women’s History Month might be over, but female empowerment is a year-round conversation – are you wondering how you can keep the momentum going? We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of things that agencies can do to empower female employees inspired by our weekly AdweekChat discussion. 
 
Every Wednesday, members of our team participate in Adweek’s AdweekChat, a Twitter discussion in which participating accounts tackle the advertising industry’s musings, trends, and newsworthy topics. Although it is typically agencies and brands who participate, anyone is welcome to weigh in. 
 
March’s inaugural discussion was centered around a series of Women’s History Month-inspired talking points. These talking points were meant to turn the responsibility back on not just the industry as a whole, but on singular agencies and the individuals working within them. 
 
It got us thinking about all of the ways that female empowerment has turned into a brand, a PR ploy, or something for workplaces to brandish to make it seem like they’re uplifting women. 
 
This conversation prompted us to introspect on what aspects of the industry we would like to see developed to advance and empower women in every stage of their careers. Here are just some of our answers. 
 

  • Uplift female creatives because their work is valuable. Doing this is the first step toward cultivating an agency culture that truly champions women’s work.
  • Give men and women equal maternity and paternity leave. If companies require men to take the time off, it will allow for both parties to have the same amount of time to care for their child while encouraging equal work/life balances.
  • Don’t perpetuate behavior or activities that inherently ostracize female employees. Doing so can also hinder their involvement in business. Or better yet, invite women by encouraging involvement in those activities!
  • Recognize when a meeting may be lacking a female voice. Invite them to the meeting while encouraging them to speak and, most importantly, let them finish speaking.
  • Normalize the presence of women as leaders. Research has shown that 30 percent representation of women is the proportion needed for the critical mass of representation to be reached in any group setting.
  • Allow equal opportunity for learning across the board. Invest in women’s learning opportunities, such as paying for them to attend seminars and workshops.
  • Encourage women to apply for open leadership positions. Research shows that women are most likely to apply for positions they are overwhelmingly qualified for, whereas men tend to apply for more positions — even if they don’t meet all of the qualifications. Rallying for women can be as simple as inviting them to apply and making sure they feel comfortable once they assume the leadership position.
  • If you’re a woman, support other women! Speak up for them, make room for them at the table and recognize other women when they support you.

 
An article published in a Harvard  Inside Summer article concluded that although the remedies for gender inequality are complex, if men and women make conscious decisions to practice these efforts every day at the organization level, the industry will follow. 
 
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement regarding a women’s empowerment event at 321!

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