Managing your own slice of the parity pie – baking DEI into business culture

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Article provided by Fleur Stoppani, Managing Director, Mindshare UK 

The pandemic has scaled back many celebrations over past few years, but as women around the globe continue to battle the social, economic, and political fallout from COVID-19 – the need for International Women’s Day is greater than ever.  

This year’s theme #BreakTheBias is a timely reminder that recent circumstances have actually widened the gender gap on a global scale, with women’s jobs becoming 1.8 times more vulnerable to the crisis than men.   

I’m the Managing Director at media agency, Mindshare UK and I work in an industry – among many -where women are still disproportionately underrepresented in senior roles – approximately 39%

Women with disabilities and/or from ethnic minorities were also reported to have the lowest ‘sense of belonging’ at work, according to the World Federation of Advertisers first-industry-wide DE&I census.  

In our industry we see first-hand the impact that advertising can have in wielding significant cultural power and its amplification in the representation of marginalised groups at large.  

 

While recent initiatives such as the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Awards continue to encourage new and creative ways to improve authentic representation today, there’s still a long way to go. For example, Sainsbury’s became the target of online racial abuse simply for featuring a black family in its Christmas advert.   

At Mindshare, we know we can’t change the whole world when it comes to parity for people, but we can ensure we’re managing our own slice of it. Whether it’s through our media planning and the work we do with our clients, or behind the scenes within our own business, we believe that diversity and inclusion is not an add-on but a business imperative. Something that we’ve baked into our agency culture.  

At Mindshare, the ‘Collective’ is the umbrella name we have given to a wide range of employee-led diversity and inclusion groups and initiatives. These groups include Mindshare Roots which focusses on educating, providing awareness, and taking action around championing black and Asian talent; Mindshare Pride; which aims to make Mindshare more diverse and inclusive by supporting LGBTQ+ employees and raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, building a safe and inclusive workplace. Mindshare Enable which supports people with disabilities; Declassify a group which champions those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.  

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I’m the exec sponsor of the Womxn Network – an initiative that supports, empowers and takes action to re-balance inequality against women in media.  

From the outset we wanted to be sure this wasn’t just a talking shop. The group generates action plans with leadership teams to address the gender pay gap, provide support for women in the workplace through safe rooms, offer staff self-defence workshops as well as celebrating clients, media partners and #TeamMindshare for International Women’s Day – to name only a few.  Our masculinity group ‘ADAM’, meanwhile, works to reframe masculinity away from limited and often negative stereotypes of what masculinity is and discuss key issues such as toxic masculinity and men’s mental health.

For this year’s IWD, we’ve asked for nominations to champion women and celebrate their achievements across the agency, media partners, and our clients. Last year we received 138 nominations, and this year we aimed even higher and achieved over 300 nominations. Alongside this, we will also be hosting a wealth of content including a variety of talks and sessions with those who share our collective ambition.  

Ultimately, the goal of the ‘Collective’ is to deliver complete inclusion across our entire business. We believe our rich collection of cultures, faiths and ethnicities plays a hugely influential role in how we build our media plans, and this kind of innovative approach to diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our ‘Good Growth’ brand propositioning.

Good Growth is far from simply paying lip service to inclusion, it is an approach that will drive growth for our clients by devising campaigns that reach and resonate with valuable but under-served audiences.  

This year’s IWD offers us an opportunity to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the fight to improve the rights of women and girls everywhere. 

 

Together, we must come together not just as women, but as business leaders and strive for an environment where everyone is treated fairly and respectfully, every voice is heard, and each person has equal access to resources and opportunities.

Fleur StoppaniAbout the author

Fleur is MD at Mindshare UK, previously she was Chief Client Officer where she oversaw Mindshare’s client relationships throughout the agency. She has been at Mindshare since 2004, leading client business including M&S. She is focused on bringing the agency together to deliver brilliant work that clients and staff are proud of. Alongside the leadership team she has been working to help accelerate the agency’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and is an exec sponsor of the Womxn collective group, which is set up to support, empower and take action to rebalance and develop women in media for now and the future. Prior to Mindshare, Fleur was at PHD and she started out her career in radio working at Opus.

WeAreBreakingTheBias

Meet our 100 incredible leaders breaking the bias & calling for societal change this International Women’s Day

As part of our #WeAreBreakingTheBias campaign, we will be sharing the thoughts of over 100 leaders who are calling for societal change for women. We hope you will join us so we can amplify why we should all #BreakTheBias for gender equity.

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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