Abena Perryman

Thanks to all the #GirlBosses this International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, I took some time to think about the women who have inspired, mentored, coached, and supported me. In reflecting, I was awestruck by how my journey has been shaped by so many women from different backgrounds and experiences. I was equally struck by some interesting statistics that shows how far we’ve come, and how much more there is to do.

Big Questions To Consider During our Journey to Equality

As March approached I was invited to many events discussing how to support and grow women’s role in business and leadership. What a marked change from just 5 years ago. Recently, I was invited to speak at a Women in Leadership class at my alma mater to mentoring up and coming leaders. It is clear that businesses and schools are doing more to lift up women’s voices.

Women in Marketing

During a recent interview I did about my journey to my position now got me thinking about the visibility of women in marketing. Women in marketing comprise the bulk of the workforce (63% in US) but are lagging in leadership roles (46% in US). Our firm has women in the top leadership position, but often people assume that a man is running the show.

  • How do we continue to make inroads for women leadership in marketing?

Women in Media

Another event I attended last week was “The Time is Now – Amplifying Women’s Voices in Media”. It was hosted by the Canadian Journalism Foundation. In this instance, it was a panel discussion exploring the progress of gender representation in media. Did you know that women are quoted only 33% of the time in US media and less than 25% in Canada? (source)

With media being such an important influence in shaping ideas and establishing or reinforcing norms an absence of women’s voices seriously impacts the growth of ideas and the views of women.

  • How do we continue to make inroads for gender representation in media?

Embracing Diversity

With the recent swell in the grassroots movements – particularly #MeToo – women are demanding to be heard. They are setting new standards for acceptable behaviour and changing the conversation. What might the world look like if women held more leadership positions, or voices were heard more in business and media?

We know that diversity is good for business. As an example, companies with leadership in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above their industry median/average (MicKinsey & Company, 2015)

We know that the makeup of our local communities is changing. And, we know that it is only through communication and collaboration that we can truly learn and innovate. Women’s voices need to be part of that conversation.

  • How  do we ensure include more voices in the diversity and inclusion conversation?

More Work is Needed

As I reflect on all the reasons I have to be grateful, I know there is still much work to do ahead. For for all of those who celebrate and honour this International Women’s Day, please know there is more to do than simply liking a post or sharing a meme. The conversations and beliefs shift when we have the courage to stand up and speak for those whose voices have been muffled for too long. What gets measured gets action. So I challenge you with one final question:

  • What commitment(s) can you make to try and promote diversity of voices in your everyday life at work and at home?
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