Ladies, could we shut the **** up?

peta southcombeThe industry has been asking questions about why Mindshare’s Katie-Rigg Smith is the only female media agency CEO. Peta Southcombe of sister agency Maxus has another view.

I don’t mean to be a traitor to my gender, but if I read one more article about the “lack of women in top jobs” I’m going to explode! I don’t see myself as a victim, and I’m sick of being referred to as one. Until I read these pieces, I don’t for one second believe that I can’t make it as far as any man out there.

Katie Rigg-SmithWhen Katie Rigg Smith was appointed as the new CEO of Mindshare, every article focused on the giant step for women out there. But what about the fact that she’s a hard working person who was right for the role. Why is her gender even mentioned?

As a woman do I have to admire a woman to be considered a forward thinker? Am I backwards if my inspiration is Ian Narev instead of Gail Kelly? We have programs encouraging “female” mentors.

Why can’t I be mentored by a male?

These articles make me worried that women will be then favoured and promoted just for the appearance of it and not hard work. If these types of articles continue to harp on about the promotions of women, are businesses going to choose a woman as a political move rather than the right one. In 100 years are we going to have a gender equality issue of the opposite kind where men are fighting for their position at the top?

I really think we as women should just shut up and get on with it. Stop looking for the lack of women at the top – in fact stop looking at the people at the top as male or female at all. If you want to get there, then get there.

I understand that there may be a boys club up there, but it’s always been my ambition to join it not whinge about it!

If someone includes me in an e-mail and addresses it as “guys” or “fellas”, I’m not going to kick off and demand a retraction to acknowledge that there’s a woman in the mix. As long as my clients and colleagues value my work and input enough to include me in that e-mail, that’s all that matters!

I’m young and possibly naive and I haven’t been exposed to the struggle that women in the industry before me have had to deal with. At Maxus, half our management team are females so I’ve never dealt with real gender inequality in my role. I’m in analytics, which I’d argue has even more of a male skew than pure media. But I’ve been given every opportunity I have ever worked hard for and so has everyone in my office.

I’ve made it my new ambition when I’m eventually promoted to a role worth reporting on, that the word “woman” is never mentioned.

  • Peta Southcome is marketing analytics manager at Maxus


  1. CC
    21 Apr 13
    4:50 pm

  2. Yikes, ‘pulling up the ladder’ much?

  3. Ash
    21 Apr 13
    5:32 pm

  4. I really don’t even know where to begin. Perhaps by answering some of the author’s questions…?

    NO, you don’t have to admire a woman to be considered a forward thinker. If only it was that easy! I’m admiring Katie Rigg Smith right now and no one is asking me how to tackle, say, the island of plastic garbage in the pacific ocean with my “forward thinking”. NO, I don’t think you are backwards if your inspiration is Ian Narev instead of Gail Kelly. Boring maybe but not backwards. YES, you can get mentored by a male. It’s probably a strategic move since most of the senior positions in media are occupied by men. Oh, this is probably my favourite question to answer, “In 100 years are we going to have a gender equality issue of the opposite kind where men are fighting for their position at the top?” Highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely. Especially if all the ladeez just “shut the f*** up and get on with it. Whatever that “it” is.

  5. Georgi
    21 Apr 13
    7:08 pm

  6. Totally agree! Well said!

  7. Andy Fitz
    21 Apr 13
    7:41 pm

  8. Agreed. Overstating the “women are under-represented in fieldX” flag (however true) makes it very hard to congratulate female colleagues on earned success without it being second guessed by the recipient and their peers.

    Actually, over-boosting any partition of workers is a weird way to get to the meritocracy that we all say we’re seeking.

  9. Don Draper
    21 Apr 13
    11:12 pm

  10. Hi

    Pardon me for stating the obvious, but it is only females who can have babies. That means forced career breaks once twice or perhaps more times. This usually happens when women are in their 30s in our industry – precisely the time they would be considered for more senior roles. Then of course there is the whole saga or getting childcare places (lucky if you can get 5 days a week), getting your employer to accept you may have to work part time (when client demands are 24/7), having to run home or stay home for a sick or injured child, deal with those tut-tut disapproving looks from male co-workers, and most of all maintain your sanity.

    With all of that, I find it incredible women can cope at all. And if you add all the invisible sexism displayed by CEOs who don’t even know they are doing it, I’m not at all surprised there aren’t many women at the top. All of the above factors are weighted against women, men don’t have to deal with any of that.

    That’s why when a woman succeeds , it’s newsworthy any both women and men like me take notice and applaud.

    So to the author – I like your get up and go attitude, you’ll go far with that. But do understand there is a reason these issues are topical. If you have an easy answer to the issues I raised above I’d love to hear it.


  11. SheWolf
    21 Apr 13
    11:29 pm

  12. “These articles make me worried that women will be then favoured and promoted just for the appearance of it and not hard work.”

    Are you worried that this is what happens to men now? No. Would you say the same about someone from a non-white background becoming, oh, President of the United States and people noting their non-whiteness “These articles make me worried that black people will be then favoured and promoted just for the appearance of it”.

    The effect of this approach is that the sexism that modern businesses have inherited and reproduce is never questioned. Well, if everyone had that attitude, if people didn’t struggle against sexism, racism then the world would be a far worse place. The people who you think are whining are actually those that struggled, sometimes in the face of violence, to give you the opportunity to even contemplate a career.

    “If these types of articles continue to harp on about the promotions of women, are businesses going to choose a woman as a political move rather than the right one.”

    Oh, because businesses never, ever, choose men for promotion because of politics do they? Politics only ever enters as a “problem” when it disrupts the status quo, right. Because the status quo doesn’t have its own politics, right?

    “In 100 years are we going to have a gender equality issue of the opposite kind where men are fighting for their position at the top?”

    These are the kinds of arguments that feminists had to fight to get the vote, to get equal pay, to get jobs. And here you are, riding high on the victories of the struggle that has come before you, and trying your hardest to destroy it. That… it is just sad more than anything else. It is sad that you feel you need to side with power. It is sad that you feel demanding justice makes you a victim.

    These are the kinds of arguments that white supremacists still use when we celebrate the election of a non-white person, or the promotion or achievement of a non-white person.

    The answer is, no. That is not going to happen. It is not going to happen because people who fight for equality are not like you. They believe in justice, ethical responsibility and fairness. You want to join those in power and be like them. You want to be like those who deny votes to people, who deny equal pay, who deny personal autonom, who sack peope because of their sexuality, or gender, or race, or if they get pregnant. You want to be in their club. That’s fine, if you want to be a horrible person.

  13. Paupy
    22 Apr 13
    9:11 am

  14. “I’m young and possibly naive” – I certainly hope so. If not, it beggars belief that you could work in analytics, look at the woeful figures showing how few women make it to the top in this industry, and conclude that women need to “shut the f*** up” because that doesn’t marry with your experience.

    And I also hope you develop a more realistic and empathetic view before you get that role worth reporting on that you’re hoping for, otherwise woe betide the women who find themselves reporting to you. What are you going to do if they try and combine a family life with careers? Are you going to create pathways that will enable them to keep working towards those elusive top jobs? Or are you going to conclude that they’re just not as hard-working as you are, while remaining blind to the fact that maybe it’s not just about shutting up and getting on with it?

  15. Corporate Bollo#@s
    22 Apr 13
    9:28 am

  16. This article stinks of corporate pecking order bollocks.

    Continuously referring to people fighting to either get to the ‘top’ or staying at the ‘top’, just shows that your competitive and ego elements are what is wrong in most corporate environments.

    Employees should aim to great work that benefits a companies customers, because the company can then exist and succeed. Do you job well and hey, if it suits the company, the team and it’s customers, that might see you becoming the captain, or even the coach. But purely aiming to get to “the top”, is silly. It creates an awful culture of power obsessed, tunnel visioned morons.

    Pull your head in and play for the team!

  17. Corporate Bollo#@s
    22 Apr 13
    9:30 am

  18. to do great work* your job well*

  19. Damo
    22 Apr 13
    9:46 am

  20. I hope the intention of this article is linkbait – as annoying as that would be – rather than published as a legitimate, reasonable piece of opinion. This is the most ridiculous, uneducated, ignorant piece Mumbrella has ever published. Is it too much to ask that, if opinion pieces are going to be published, those opinions are in some way backed up by the author – if not with facts – then with deeper analysis and consideration?

  21. Ricki
    22 Apr 13
    9:55 am

  22. Shewolf is my hero.

    Analytics you say Peta? Have you seen the results of the recent Comms Council survey on gender? Might be something worth getting your head around as one example of evidence (and there are many) that renders your personal anecdotes irrelevant to the debate.

  23. Chiara
    22 Apr 13
    10:03 am

  24. Damo, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m very disappointed that this non-article was published.

  25. Graham
    22 Apr 13
    10:08 am

  26. I think people in Australia need to realize that their work environment is totally different from the US, and if you’re reading articles from there with an Australian lens, it isn’t going to make sense.

    Yes, in Australia women have a much better chance of moving up in tech/advertising. In the US, it’s a boys club at a lot of places, with guys that went to uni together hiring other guys from their fraternity.

  27. Anthony Bull
    22 Apr 13
    10:08 am

  28. Top article, If is man gets ahead in life and is successful then people just think “He is driven, intelligent and very skilled”. But if a women gets ahead, most people hone in on her gender and praise her accomplishment as a step forward for women…this only diminishes her accomplishment by making most people assume a default position of “I bet gender equality/affirmative action had something to do with that”.

  29. Chris
    22 Apr 13
    10:13 am

  30. My God what rubbish – I can’t believe Mumbrella would publish this sort of tripe.

    As Damo said above – surely this is just linkbait … surely.

    I mean, of course women shouldn’t say there are long-standing biases against their success, that there is an overwhelming bias towards white men on boards and positions of power, and that this bias is stopping capable, qualified women having their say, influencing organisations, reaching positions of influence … hell, even just getting equal pay in many fields.

    It is not even about whether women are “qualified” or “capable” of leading organisations and reaching positions of influence. It is about the fact that many many men who have already reached thee positions have been heavily favoured because of their gender.

    I’m actually not specifically in favour of things like “gender quotas” and that type of thing on, say, boards and the like. I’m actually just in favour of ensuring that all of those on boards, and in positions of influence, are knowledgeable, capable and able to fulfil their roles.

    The thing is, so many of those (often men) currently in these positions do not fulfil these requirements and have reached “the top” because of the bias towards males in positions of power.

    Again though, women should just shut up. Yeah right – speaking up is the only way these biases can even start being properly addressed.

  31. Fair go man
    22 Apr 13
    10:25 am

  32. Well said. Pure and simple.
    There is plenty of evidence of anyone wanting to make it, can make it.

    You are totally right in the logic failure of this pro-women hysteria. You are right that you don’t want to question the validity of you making it, based on the dummy spit reasoning that we are seeing.

    The of favouring ratios of snr management is that we start to hold back people who deserve to be there. That is absolute prejudice. It stings of hypocrisy. It is a very sad breakdown in reasoning a solution.

    Firstly,ask the question – how many women actually want to be there and want to go the distance, living that life and the commitments that come with it?
    Well, the ones that do – let’s let them get on with it.

    Let’s be rational about it.

    Why are women not paid as much? Well, last time I checked there was no grand conspiracy. But I do see females lacking the negotiation strength to fight for their worth when it comes to salary increases. Let’s help them there, that’s easily fixed.

    Let’s also ask the question, why are women bowing out of the industry or stopping short?
    Maybe, in a broad sweeping sense, they are happy to not be at the top and wear everything that comes with being there?

    Demanding equality by crying for it, sadly reminds me of a spoilt child. Do we really want these sort of people running companies – what happens when they run into real business obstacles? Hhmmm, fair point, I hear you think.

    We should be asking the right questions and finding the reasons that this is the case for the industry.

    Perhaps there are perfectly good reasons, you never know. Let’s have a rationale look before you spit your dummies on the floor and ruin it for the hard working, dedicated females that earn a deserved place at the top. After all, it’s not a sport friendly or social club – this is serious stuff and the top is not about fairness or equality, it’s about the best.

  33. GT
    22 Apr 13
    10:41 am

  34. Agreed. As a male I am well and truly sick of the gender game, which has blown out of control under Julia Gillard, who plays it at every possible opportunity. For goodness sake, it is 2013, and in Australia, if she wants it badly enough, there’s nothing a woman can’t do. But how about they get their through hard work and ability, not gender politics? I have noticed that the most talented women out there never bleat on and on about sexism and how unfair things are – they just get on with the job. It is always the least talented females that take this path. I believe this is because their work doesn’t speak for themselves. Interestingly enough, the former category of women are also by far the most respected by their male colleagues. Perhaps the more aggressive feminist approach was necessary in the 1960s and 1970s, but I think we have passed that point a long time ago. How about we just focus on best PERSON for the job?

  35. Ricki
    22 Apr 13
    10:41 am

  36. Hey can I write an article called ‘Men on this comment stream who agree with Peta should shut the **** up’?

    Graham you cannot be serious. Send 1/2 a day and in Melbourne and tell me the old school tie doesn’t matter. And Anthony ‘people’ don’t just think that a promoted man is intelligent and hard driven. On occasion ‘people’ think WTF?

    The idea that we are all part of one big meritocratic work culture is the BS here. The fact is we are in an industry driven by relationships and contacts. Men get more chances to develop these and often the context is male favoured. That is exactly why ideas like affirmative action are posed. If we can’t trust you to open the doors and stop behaving like school boys (and Peta, the data is in) you have to be made do it so that over time the norms are adjusted.

    So not only should women not shut up but they should remain loud and ‘pushy’ about it because frankly boys (and Peta) you have failed us.

  37. Rebecca
    22 Apr 13
    11:17 am

  38. Well, that was disappointing.

  39. Liza
    22 Apr 13
    11:19 am

  40. Yes, Don Draper (above).
    I never thought there was an issue either, and never understood why I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to,
    and indeed I DID do whatever I wanted to…
    until I had a child.

  41. Frustrated
    22 Apr 13
    11:25 am

  42. In her working lifetime, a woman will earn $1 million less than a male. Males earn more money for the same roles. 35% more in fact. Despite apparent equality, working women still do 70% of the housework…and that’s before child rearing comes into it. Then factor in the number of women who are no longer a ‘cultural fit’ when they return to the workforce as mothers and are essentially smoked out of companies.

    It’s not just a matter of shutting up and getting on with it, when you factor those elements into the equation. I’m happy for your success, but I’m unhappy that you are glossing over real issues that affect women in the media industry. Let’s hope you enact real change for women in the process of shutting the f*** up and getting on with your big important job.

  43. Em-321
    22 Apr 13
    11:29 am

  44. Whilst there was no need to openly state your naivety and inexperience of gender inequality in the workplace Peta – every word in this piece attests speaks to your youth and professional immaturity – you are obviously bright eyed, ambitious and at the start of your career yet you are already making the career-limiting mistake that many young women have made before you (myself included), you just can’t see it yet.

    Aspiring to simply “join the boys club” (that feat presumably representing the zenith of professional success for you at this point in your life) and asking your female colleagues and peers to “shut the **** up” and get on with it whilst they too scale the slippery slope to becoming one of the “fellas”, demonstrates that to get ahead you feel that it’s perhaps a weakness or an irrelevance to acknowledge gender in the workplace. I bet you think that your current gung ho attitude is the thing that’ll impress those boys most and quicken your ascent more than say, a colleague who might dare to admit in the lunch room that she loves kids and shock horror, would love to work part time one day whilst having a family.

    This is precisely the kind of outmoded thinking that business leaders and mentors need to ensure doesn’t perpetuate in juniors. In order to create business environments that foster success and satisfaction in today’s cultural and economic climate, we need to acknowledge that gender realities exist and create workplaces and management models that allow for women to reenter leadership roles on a part time basis after children, or men to have flexible hours as needed. We need to move away from the dog eat dog, elbows up, 60 hour week minimums to get to the top attitude that still pervades and work towards real change.

    Speaking as a woman in her mid thirties, CMO of a multi-million $ entertainment business and currently on maternity leave, who spent her twenties trying to be one of the boys until the penny dropped, I can assure you that you get more respect in business from doing your job, standing up for your gender, operating with integrity and acknowledging the challenges that women face whilst taking steps to effect change in your organisation (whilst making a outstanding business contribution); that’s the way you get to the top. You don’t simply join the boys club by copying the blokes, you aspire to change it.

    I will be rejoining my business this year 3/4 days per week in the same role having spent months of my maternity leave suffering fear, self-doubt, and still panicking about the implications for myself and my daughter and stressing about how I’ll do my job. It’s wrong (although great that my business is demonstrating flexibility and supporting me) and until women (and men to a lesser extent) can pursue a career and have a family or a life outside of the pursuit of professional success without being plagued by these issues, we still as an industry have work to do.

    As a manager I go out of my way to mentor my junior staff to acknowledge the reality of workplace gender issues. After all, leadership and progress is about vision and challenging the status quo, not accepting it! I hope you find a mentor that helps you to do the same.

  45. Ash
    22 Apr 13
    11:31 am

  46. Please write that article Ricki. And while you are at it, a how-to-guide for congratulating women when promoted. According to Peter Fitz it’s a “very hard” thing to do.

  47. Andrea H
    22 Apr 13
    11:45 am

  48. You are not a traitor to your gender. You may however be a liability to your company. Seeing the aggressive, shallow and myopic rant for what it is, I am more intrigued that Maxus let this fly.

    Do they value and subscribe with Ms Southcome and her opinions? Is it wrong for the reader to assume, due to the heavy mention of how things are at Maxus, that Maxus has a ‘shut the f**K up’ culture? Were they privy to this article before publication? (edited by Mumbrella)

    I would suggest someone needs to reassess their company social media policy. As no one comes out of an article like this looking good.

  49. Cait
    22 Apr 13
    12:02 pm

  50. What an absolutely RUBBISH article. Women like you, Peta, are part of the reason that male comradery and gender inequality continues to thrive in the work place. I am lost for words!!
    The future is looking very grim if women haters like you are going to be sitting up at the top telling the rest of us to “shut the **** up” and let men run the show. Despicable.

  51. Ad_Man
    22 Apr 13
    12:21 pm

  52. Great article. ‘Haters Gonna Hate’

  53. Just a Girl
    22 Apr 13
    12:50 pm

  54. The answer is yes – women do need to shut the f*** up.

    Maybe if we spent half the time working toward our goals as we do whining about how we haven’t got this or that we’d be further ahead. Seriously – if you want it, go and get it. If you’re whining in place of trying, don’t be surprised if you get nowhere.

  55. Emma L
    22 Apr 13
    12:53 pm

  56. This is wildly disappointing.

  57. Casey
    22 Apr 13
    12:53 pm

  58. Well obviously Peta doesnt like to “lean in”..

    I think she may need to go watch a bit of TEDTALK and understand the larger issues that are at play here.

    Peta – If you are reading this, please click on the link below and watch this video from Sheryl Sandberg. (that is if you still have a job by the time this is posted).

    For a young woman to be putting herself out there with this article is brave but you know when your’e mum said “make the right choices” – this wasnt a good one.

  59. Kitty Tonkin
    22 Apr 13
    12:53 pm

  60. Part of me agrees with most of what the author has said – it does seem like everyone is taking a chance to jump on the bandwagon of women at the top. At the same time reading through some of the comments I can also see why it is important to keep these topics addressed.
    What it made me realise is that how many woman are really wanting to get to this “top”. Almost everyone I know who has had a baby (and mind you at mid twenties you would be surprised how I am in the minority without a baby in my networks and friends) has had this change them in deep and unexpected ways. Some women are having babies and than deciding that there is more to life than slaving away to get to the top job. I ahve even seen a senior level marketing manager from a large multinational step down after having babies into an admin/reception role after looking for lifestyle and making family a priority instead. And you know what she was happy with her choice.

    If you are good at your job and your company values good hardworking employees then flexibility will come into play after you come back from mat leave, and if you work hard and make getting to the top your priority – then chances are you will get there. It is a choice of career over family and whether the individual women feels she can handle giving it her all to both.

  61. XY chromosome in support
    22 Apr 13
    12:54 pm

  62. @Cait – At least Peta has the courage to identify herself and put herself out there.
    It would be great if you submitted a piece to Mumbrella and put yourself out for all the anonymous criticism – I didn’t think so…

  63. nell schofield
    22 Apr 13
    12:55 pm

  64. thanks for calling out the ‘victim culture” that permeates much of this discussion, Peta

    today, a driven women with the skills and tenacity to make it, will do so, even with children

    there are plenty of examples of this

    and how about we see an article that laments the fact that men will never have relationships with their children like women can, due to the prevailing gender paradigm

    i dont ever seem to read women acknowledging that family men get the shitty end of the stick – it’s always wrongly assumed that they dont want to be home and that work is this wonderful fulfilling experience

    this is just the narrative developed by women wanting to play victim

  65. Stu
    22 Apr 13
    12:58 pm

  66. This so called “opinion piece” smacks of a shock stunt. You should work in radio as a shock jock. You have disrespect all females who have struggled before you(truly struggled) for equality in the workplace. That aside, I would not employ you in any leadership role. Ever. You have a distinct lack of empathy and your “opinion” displays all the wrong leadership traits that is needed in corporate Australia today.

  67. Sam
    22 Apr 13
    12:58 pm

  68. This is so naive, it is incredibly sad. As someone linked with recruitment in the comms industry, I can state that sexism is alive, and actually increasing. Womens’ salaries are a minimun of 25% behind their male counterparts. Not only that, but many senior roles are briefed in requesting males only.This is not only sexist, but blatantly illegal. The number of women CEOs and MDs have reduced dramatically in the last 10 years in the Australian comms arena.

    This debate needs more investigation, not less. Frankly, Peta, your one dimensional view will push the women’s movement back.

  69. Gen_X'r
    22 Apr 13
    12:58 pm

  70. Good article.

    I agree whole heartedly. I understand only women can have babies, but men have to sacrifice time with their families to work 5 days a week. and as someone who has been I teams where 2 of the members were on 3 days a week, I can tell you it is incredibly difficult for the staff underneath you when you don’t have a senior lead around twice a week

  71. Kate Richardson
    22 Apr 13
    1:02 pm

  72. @Fair Go Man “Pro women hysteria”? I don’t even know what to say to that, except your views and this article underline the invisible nature of much of the discrimination experienced by women in this industry.

    That’s why it’s important for all of us to keep speaking out on this issue.

    Katie Rigg Smith’s ascension is even more remarkable because of her gender and the challenges women face in aspiring to these senior level positions, and there is nothing wrong with discussing that.

  73. Nosmo King
    22 Apr 13
    1:08 pm

  74. Peta, what a load of self righteous, ill researched, pompous, crap. This article made me so angry. And incredulous. The debate in our, or for that matter, any, industry should no longer be as simple as men vs women. By pitting ourselves against each other simply on gender, we lose any chance of intellignet debate. Yes, there ought to be a meritocracy. No, in many cases there currently isn’t one. This is f&*k all to do with gender and everything to do with attitude. As with anything in life, if you want something enough, you will work your arse off for it. You will prioritise it above all else. And you will succeed. Perhpas you won’t get exactly the role you want at exactly the time you want it, but if you work hard and network harder, there is nothing to stop you progressing your career. Immaterial of children, gender, sexuality, race, religion. It’s nothing to do with men, or women, shutting up, and everything to do with getting your head down and working. When you are a little older, you’ll come to notice that the people who do that are the ones who truely succeed.

  75. GetReal
    22 Apr 13
    1:08 pm

  76. You are living in a dream world if you think we are anywhere near where we should be in terms of equality in the corporate world.

    I am aware of a number of same titled positions, even in middle management (not at the top) that continue to award men more pay than women.

    I’m all for freedom of speech and airing an opinion, but maybe what you should be focussing on is what’s blatantly still going on around you – it’s no where near where it should be and the fact that you say “in 100 years time” really just proves that point so aptly… you kind of shot down your own argument.

  77. Really?
    22 Apr 13
    1:09 pm

  78. Yes, I think you should shut the F**K up and get on with it…ie – don’t express your ‘opinions’ again. Just sayin’.
    ps: you will no doubt be a hero in your male dominated office so enjoy that while you are young and naive.

  79. Graham
    22 Apr 13
    1:10 pm

  80. Ricki – My wife feels the same way as the woman that wrote this article. She works hard, and has risen to the top in her field (agency). She has never let the fact that she was a minority or a woman impact what she does, because she’s good at it. She works hard.

    As someone who has worked in the industry in both countries, I am not asking you for your opinion about Melbourne, I’m telling you what it is like from actual experience.

  81. Stuart
    22 Apr 13
    1:13 pm

  82. Nice one Peta.

  83. Millsy
    22 Apr 13
    1:14 pm

  84. Great article Peta. I get what you’re saying, regardless of gender people should be recognised & rewarded based on their skills.
    ps – haters this is an opinion piece.

  85. OldBag
    22 Apr 13
    1:17 pm

  86. Well said Peta!
    As a now old bag with more than 30 years in this industry I can truthfully say I have never been more fed up with women banging on about what a terrible time they have on the job. Of all the industries, this one has to have been the most amazing for women to have what they want.
    Perhaps if many of the ‘young’ women I’ve had the severe misfortune to ‘work’ with could pull their proverbial gels out of social lives for more than 5 seconds and stop harping on about their body clocks we would see merit rewarded in the same way its always been… for doing a good job.
    Get it over girls, you cannot have it all.

  87. Amalade66
    22 Apr 13
    1:22 pm

  88. To my knowledge, Australia has seen only three CEOs of media agencies – Belinda, Annie and now Katie – and they are all deserving of their accolades.

    It is interesting to note that none of them are also mother’s in their ‘spare’ time (although Katie could change this trend). This isn’t a conspiracy theory. Working mother’s may simply choose to balance their work/home life with a senior role without actually striving for the top gig. There are plenty of women in high positions at agencies that are testimony to trying to have it all in their ‘own way’.

  89. H
    22 Apr 13
    1:23 pm

  90. Peta, please never stop believing that your work ethic and quality will be enough to get you there. Even when you discover that sucking up is pretty much the only way to climb to the very top, stick to your guns, because I can assure you, it is more valuable to feel good about yourself than to drive a 4WD Audi and have a “C” as the first letter of your title. I’ve only come across a handful of Senior Management who are actually any good at Media/Advertising and made their way to the top through genuine hard work. Regardless, most of them are outstanding at Management & Relationship building, which is their job and critical for the health of any company. Anyway, good on you for having the guts to go public with your POV

  91. Inky
    22 Apr 13
    1:23 pm

  92. Strongly agree with She-wolf, Paupy and Em. Quite appalled at the audacity of someone so young and naive trampling all over the good work of our brave feminists who made it possible for her to vote, own property, access birth control and have a career. Gender is an issue in every workplace and discrimination unfortunately exists. Shunning those facts only holds us back from progress and keeps everyone in denial. This post actually gives me the impression that she is ashamed to be a woman. Peta, just wait until you get to the age of ‘marriage & babies’, then you will understand what a glass ceiling really is. While I applaud your gun-ho attitude, it is inherently misguided and I fear your lack of empathy for other women will ultimately damage your career.

  93. Yvonne Adele
    22 Apr 13
    1:40 pm

  94. Mumbrella it really is well beyond time for you to consider integrating some form of comment system that stops people being able to comment anonymously.

    It is so disrespectful to an author to have to receive comments from people hiding in their little boxes.

  95. Anon
    22 Apr 13
    1:48 pm

  96. Actually, the awesome part about Katie’s promotion is not that she’s a female, its that she’s just 35 years old.

  97. MGA
    22 Apr 13
    1:53 pm

  98. This article is so VERY ignorant.

    If women should shut the fuck up, my dear, then why don’t you show everyone how ‘on top’ you are!

    Lead by example and shut the fuck up.

  99. Betty Draper
    22 Apr 13
    1:58 pm

  100. Peta – I can’t wait for you to be told that you shouldn’t bother applying for a more senior role because “you just got married so you’re bound to have a child any second now” and besides “we’re really looking for a male to fill the role”. Why? “Oh because we really think a male will provide the stability the team needs right now.”
    And OldBag – why in god’s name can’t I have it all? And why shouldn’t I be rewarded in the same way as my male counterparts? And why should I be held back because there is an assumption that if I get married I must want/be able to have kids??
    Yes… let’s not talk about it. Let’s sweep it under the carpet and pretend that discrimination doesn’t happen. That will solve the problem… NOT!!

  101. Téa
    22 Apr 13
    2:02 pm

  102. Well it looks like feminism has both succeeded and failed here.

    We have succeeded because so many Gen Yers take their “equality” for granted, like our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers hoped for us.

    We have failed because they are completely ignorant of the struggles, past and present, that allowed them the privilege to write misinformed tripe like this.

  103. Letsallshutup
    22 Apr 13
    2:12 pm

  104. If we take the gender comments out of this, we have a so-called opinion piece by a new member of our industry telling us all that anyone who has been bypassed for a well deserved promotion by someone less hard working, or offered 25% less for the same job should shut up too?

    We shouldn’t speak up, shouldn’t rock the boat and should just be grateful for what we get, keep on working harder, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the odds are stacked in favour of another profile of employee based on an arbitrary measure such as gender, age or race, or old private school ties for instance?

    Interesting perspective…. to say the least.

  105. Blondie
    22 Apr 13
    2:13 pm

  106. Peta & Fair Go Man – I couldn’t agree with you more. Well done Fair Go Man on your eloquent comment: ‘how many women actually want to be there and want to go the distance, living that life and the commitments that come with it? Well, the ones that do – let’s let them get on with it.’

    THANK YOU both for saying what any female who is remotely good at her job is muttering under her breath when she reads anything about glass/ceilings/ladders/women in management and mutters it while earning more than the guy sitting next to her.

    I’m female, I’ve been out of uni about 8 years and I’ve been in the industry about 8 years so I’ll be the first to say that my generation has had a very different experience to my mother’s generation and I can appreciate the difficulties that they faced and those that still linger. That was yesterday though, let’s focus on today and accept that women talking about inequality in the workforce creates a cycle that perpetuates it. You make it an issue while other people are focusing on the best man for the job (no pun intended). Equality is a broad term and if I’m honest, I largely disagree with its application. I don’t want to be equal, I want to be better and if I’m not better – then I don’t deserve the gig.

    Yes, I agree with Don Draper: there are more obstacles for women so therefore when she does succeed its worth a round of applause. Absolutely. Just let the first clap be for her brilliance then the next one can be for overcoming obstacles. Everyone has obstacles.

    If one of my co-workers is not where they want to be in their career in 5-10 years, then it won’t be because of their gender. It will be because they made certain choices and decided that a balanced lifestyle was more appealing. It will be because they chose to have children and stay at home. It will be because they weren’t good enough to be promoted when you stood them next to the man/female/robot next to them. That person could be male or female.

  107. Mia
    22 Apr 13
    2:17 pm

  108. This article so embarrassing. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of what gender equality means and what previous generations of women stood and fought for.

    It’s also poorly written.

    Peta this article only makes you appear naive and illiterate to an issues that is far more complex and multifaceted than you have flippantly dismissed in your article.

    I also can’t understand how Maxus allowed this to be published!! Who is their social media expert? They’re obviously not doing their job!!

  109. Mia
    22 Apr 13
    2:20 pm

  110. Also just because you’ve never experienced discrimination first hand doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!! That’s incredibly disrespectful and ignorant of many women who do experience discrimination, particularly those who chose to take time out from the work force and have children.

    I’ve never experience famine before but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that all those starving people should just shut the f*ck about it.

    This article is ridiculous.

  111. SM
    22 Apr 13
    2:20 pm

  112. As a woman in the industry for just under 10 years, this article makes me very angry and some what sick.

    Women should support women because there are so few on top. Not go out there and tell them to shut the F*#K up?

    I remember reading last year’s most influential people in media and only a handful of women made the top 50. This is sad. I am all about the right person for the job but women have to work twice as hard to get there.

    I had the pleasure of working with Annie Parsons and by god did she have a presence. She was inspiring, worked hard and had balls. She put men in their place like no one I ever saw before. Does that make me stupid for finding her inspirational? At the same time I worked with Toby Jenner, another great operator (and male!).

    From everything I have heard from the Mindshare staff, Katie Rigg Smiths’ promotion is the right decision for Mindshare and we should celebrate more as women because she’s a woman.

    There is a lack of woman on top in media because women don’t support women!

  113. Tiani Chillemi
    22 Apr 13
    2:20 pm

  114. And just to prove how dim this article really is….NOT ONE female represented in the Mumbrella 360 email newsletter in the “brightest minds” or “heavyweights” sections. I rest my case.

  115. Trish
    22 Apr 13
    2:23 pm

  116. As a woman, I made the decision to have my son when I was young and then start a career. That way I could spend time with him. I knew that I couldn’t do that when I was older and in a senior position. We all make decisions that affect our lives. Peta has some very good points about just getting on and doing it. If you are good at what you do, you succeed. If not at the company you are working for, then join another one.

    No you cannot join the boys club, but you can work alongside these boys in your own right as a woman and be successful. Women have different things to bring to the table and should embrace that rather than trying to be one of the boys.

    There are a lot of companies who are trying to find a gender balance in their business and quite frankly screwing it up. There are now a raft of women who are incompetent in senior roles, just like there are a raft of men who are incompetent. It HAS to be about competence, is often about timing and always about choices.

    I don’t know anyone who can just take 12 months off work and expect to be on the same path when they get back. Everyone puts this in a maternity leave box, but think about anyone in any job. Could they honestly take 12 months off (to say travel) and come back on the same money in the same job. So yes, having time off to have a child has an impact. Look at how people reacted to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer having 2 weeks off to have a baby,quite frankly the baby discussion has problems both side of it.

    Katie is a very good example of someone doing an exceptional job and rising to the top. The fact that she is a woman, has nothing to do with it.

  117. OldBag
    22 Apr 13
    2:36 pm

  118. Dear Betty Draper

    Well actually you can have it all… but all of it may not be precisely how you envisage.
    I did get it “all”, the promotions, the travel, the ‘big’ titles and… the child. The difference is that I did it by myself. The relationship didn’t last but 25 years later I’m still happy as I did do it on my terms. Worked right up till my child was born, literally, went back to work 6 weeks later. And then moved overseas with child to the dream job… funnily enough, it was an entire agency board of men who hired me too. And same again on the next two (senior) moves. I may just be fossilised (female) proof that being good at your job and getting on with it without inflicting your personal life on the team might just be where the rewards are.
    Certainly I cannot think of anything more degrading, debasing or just plain insulting than the suggestion that women should be promoted just because they are ‘women’… ugh. Its almost as bad as the ridiculous mob who voted for Gillard “because she’s a woman” and look what a stuff up that’s been!
    If there is only one thing I could say to any young woman about the perceived man’s world… don’t try conquering it, just do what powerful women have always done.. work with it. Enjoy :-)

  119. Just a Girl
    22 Apr 13
    2:39 pm

  120. Haters – riddle me this: why is it “sad” that there are so few women at the top? Do women deserve to be at the top just because they are women?

    Do women who sit around moaning deserve to be at the top just because they are moaning women?

    Do men deserve to be at the bottom just because they are men?

    I think: regardless of genitalia, if you work hard, you will be at this proverbial “top”. So, yes, shut the f*** up and work hard.

    Whining on and on and on gets you nowhere which is exactly why you are, well, nowhere. Simple!

    Peta’s not setting feminism back or whatever, she’s just saying we don’t have to be these whimpering victims with no titles!

  121. Sydney
    22 Apr 13
    2:52 pm

  122. What a disappointing piece of drivel.

    I am tired of all the articles on this subject as well, although the ones I’m tired of are the ones that claim ‘woman can have it all’. If a woman has children, she cannot have it all. We are all aware that the parts of our lives that prosper most are the ones that we devote the most attention to. It is simply impossible to juggle the requirements of supporting a family (sick children, getting home before they go to bed and being there on the days when they need support) whilst juggling a high pressure career (stay back till 10pm to get the project finish, be on conference calls at all hours, travel requirements) without a supportive partner and organisational policies that support families.

    Culturally we expect woman to be caring and a woman who ‘neglects’ a child to focus on her career will absolutely suffer judgement from family, friends, strangers and most of all HERSELF. Any working mother will tell you they are plagued with doubts about whether they are making the right choices, because their is a silent implication that perhaps they are not. Of course absent fathers can suffer the same judgement, but not to the same extent, you see a career focused father is ‘providing’.

    As others have stated the author clearly hasn’t gotten to a stage in her life where she is considering having a family, nor does her view represent more than one workplace. It’s a very myopic view of the issue and I think quite damaging.

    The issue we face is not the attitudes that woman have, it’s that most organisations still do not have flexible work policies that allow parents to balance the needs of their family with their work. Until this changes mothers will continue shun the top jobs because they will know that it will be very difficult to be the best mother while also being the best [insert job here].

  123. Mixhelle
    22 Apr 13
    3:00 pm

  124. Wow. You really can’t put old heads on young shoulders but this article highlights some very simple truisms – opinion isn’t fact, and information is power. If anyone in Australian business believes that woman are not disadvantaged in almost every indicator of success, then we are not living on the same planet. Women experience a salary gap, superannuation disadvantages and career interruption by mere virtue of our gender. We carry out more of the labour involved in our homes, child raising and caring for our elderly families. We are the principal decision makers of household purchases. We’re flat out already before we walk out of the door. Maybe you could stop and consider that that’s one of the reasons we congratulate and support the talented women who have made it to the top of their fields – they’ve had to do it up against the odds that equally talented men simply don’t face. It’s like winning a marathon with a prosthetic leg against wholly-abled competition. If that’s not an achievement worthy of distinction, then maybe I will shut the **** up, but not bloody likely.

  125. BenC
    22 Apr 13
    3:03 pm

  126. Why do articles about women in the workforce always draw cringe-worthy neanderthal responses from some men? Feminnazis get on everyone’s nerves but it’s important to consider the issues raised in the article and the response because it’s about also ‘about the economy stupid’.

    When conservative organisations like the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and mining industry peak bodies start focusing on the recruitment and retention of women employees you know it’s serious, even if somehow it escaped your attention before. Women are not only better looking and just as talented, they are half the population. We can’t afford to miss out on the talent the productivity of half of us.

    Em-321 had one of the most insightful responses in my view. Until we as a community resolve the issues around re-integrating women (and support their families) who decide to have children into the workforce (if they choose to) then we aren’t going to get much further along in the broader area of women in the workforce. The issues for employees and employers are huge, just for example the price and accessibility of childcare. Em-321 is also has some insights into other issues experienced by women in the middle (for want of a better word) point in their careers.

    At the same time, Peta doesn’t deserve to be attacked for her opinion. Doesn’t it say something positive that a young woman can be this optimistic about her career regardless of how naive or not she may be. Everyone has different opinions at different ages – does that mean we disregard them just because we’re older? How many of have ignored our baby boomer parents giving us the benefit of their experience? Now we’re all old fogeys?

  127. Analog Penetration
    22 Apr 13
    3:07 pm

  128. The tone of this conversation seems a little paradigmatically limited to me. Corporate success is not the only success. For instance, a lot of people, a lot of them women, are acing it in small business. Playing the game their own way and sometimes even changing the way others play it.

  129. Nigel
    22 Apr 13
    3:24 pm

  130. I’m guilty by association.
    MEC just retained the $45m Mitsubishi account, garnering no comments in the process.
    This is comment #59 on this piece.
    Go figure!

  131. Richard Moss
    22 Apr 13
    3:49 pm

  132. I had no idea that women could be even superficially considered less able than men, until it was pointed out to me by my Mother.

    When I started school as a five year old boy, I found myself under the authority and guidance of a devastatingly beautiful and seemingly goddess like person, know as Miss Smithurst; she seemed to hold the magical key to every closed box and door in the universe, and I was utterly devoted to her.

    The next year I moved to Miss Dunstan’s class and then to Mrs Ford’s class and eventually to Miss Forbes’ class. I was blissfully happy with each and every one of these apparently brilliant and compassionate women, and in the case of Miss Smithurst and Miss Dunstan, the earliest verifiers of my budding heterosexuality.

    Then I changed schools, and thanks to the actions of my Mother, I descended from my heaven on earth to a cold hard concrete slab of reality. The principal was about to assign me to a class run by a Miss Campbell, when my dear Mother intervened with “No thank you headmaster, I think it’s time he was taught by a man.” The principal smiled knowingly and re assigned me to a Mr Lacy, who turned out to be a cantankerous old pedant who was close to retirement and willing to blame all pupils, but boys particularly, for his many disappointments in life.

    It is true that the business of being a man and the business of being woman is a highly individual occupation, but I have never been able to come to grips with the strange notion that men are somehow better suited to lead or to teach than are women; it is a “puzzlement ” compounded by politics and the human desire to form groups and to fight a supposed foe.

  133. James
    22 Apr 13
    3:50 pm

  134. I would like to see women get equal pay, they work their backsides off and I think it is downright unfair that their seems to be a glass ceiling out there possibly instigated buy big business years ago, what makes a women’s input any less important than a mans input absolutely nothing – equal output should mean equal pay and for the guys out there here is something for you to think about – how much easier do you think it would be on the family budget if your wife received equal payment for what see was really worth.
    To all of the women out there, treat that glass ceiling out there like a Pinata, “GO HARD” in your next appraisal you know you deserve more money – I’m on your side.

  135. Anonymous
    22 Apr 13
    3:59 pm

  136. This is an unfortunate viewpoint for a woman. I think young and naive is the perfect descriptor for the author as she clearly has not experienced what most of us go through. I believe she will look back on this article with a completely different viewpoint in the future.. I’m a woman in a senior position but have had to work twice as hard as male colleagues to get there – particularly in the media industry. Any woman who accomplishes something as great as a CEO position should unequivocally be celebrated for such an achievement because I’m sure it wasn’t as easy and had obstacles that men will never have.

  137. Karen Halligan
    22 Apr 13
    4:13 pm

  138. I would like to start my comment by congratulating Katie, I hear this is much deserved and are delighted as a senior woman in our industry to see you achieve what I have heard you have rightfully earnt!

    I will now add that I am appalled to read such a narrow minded view and to be “told to Shut up” for fighting for rights that despite my and others hard work do not easily come.

    Defnition – “Gender equality, is known as sex equality or sexual equality or equality of the genders which implies that men and women should receive equal treatment unless there is a sound biological reason for different treatment.”

    At this point I am struggling to see based on the above definition that in our industry that a sound biological reason exists….. for what is a total disparity on salary, composite of senior positions and the support that goes with the creation of equality in this industry.

    As so rightfully once said (all be it with the Male gender reference)

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and with my modification women) do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

  139. Naomi Simson
    22 Apr 13
    4:27 pm

  140. I for one am thrilled that we’re continuing the conversation around the need for more women in leadership roles, I feel Peta’s views are out of step with the reality most working women – yes, mothers – face. And a lot of people far more intelligent than me would agree there is an issue when it comes to women continuing in their careers and contributing to their maximum capacity, when they are often forced to choose between work or family.

    To celebrate International Women’s Day back in March, LinkedIn released the ‘What Women Want @ Work’ global study. According to the study 58 per cent of working women would like greater flexibility within the workplace, and 84 per cent of respondents said a flexible work environment was the single most important factor in determining the ‘success of the next generation of professional women’. What’s so concerning about that you ask? Well this holy grail of flexibility was deemed even more important than having a ‘greater representation of women at senior levels’.

    The ironic reality is that businesses will struggle to create truly flexible workplaces without more female representation at the senior level – it’s simply a catch 22.

    Women in senior management positions have a unique opportunity to advocate the benefits of flexible work policies. That’s not to say that men do not have a role to play – it’s a community issue, not a women’s issue. But to grow the next generation of leaders, we must not only listen to what women want in the workplace, but have women represented in senior roles to inspire this change.

    To add insult to injury, the survey also revealed that 49 per cent of professional women identified pay inequality as a major challenge in the workplace. I find it completely unbelievable and entirely unfair that women are still being paid less than men for doing the same job, with the same level of experience. The lack of a career path (52 per cent); little investment in professional development (43 per cent); the persistence of the ‘glass ceiling’ (25 per cent); and sexism in the workplace (19 per cent) were also revealed as major inhibitors of professional success. Surely greater representation of women at senior levels would remove many of these antiquated professional barriers, or at the very least shine the spotlight on them and the organisations responsible.

    And while I wish Peta’s argument were true for most, the numbers on this issue simply do not lie. It is not an easy issue – but one we need far more rigorous debate about as we continue to bemoan the statistics on female participation in the workplace. Thanks to Peta for shining the spotlight on this debate once again and paving the way for more rigorous discussion. But eventually, lip service must give way to action.

    Peta I wonder if you will have the same view in 20 years time.

  141. Karen
    22 Apr 13
    4:43 pm

  142. well stated: Don; Corporate Bollo; Chris; Rebecca; Liza; Emma; Frustrated;
    people who write articles should rely on statistics rather that their own opinions

  143. Tara
    22 Apr 13
    4:50 pm

  144. Ridiculously naive and ignorant viewpoint from someone who clearly has absolutely no clue about How Things Work and clearly very little gratitude towards those who have fought the system before her.

  145. Ricki
    22 Apr 13
    6:40 pm

  146. Thanks Graham for relaying your anecdotal experience about the success of your hard working wife etc. Unfortunately your anecdotes are not supported by many and varied pieces of quantitative research. Quantitative research is something an Analytics person (e.g. Peta) should refer to when making assertions. It remains the fact that your wife’s experience, as you relay it, is not common. It’s also very dangerous for someone who is not the subject of discrimination, to claim there is none. Nice position to be in but not entirely credible. I apologise if you are indeed a woman.

  147. Cat
    22 Apr 13
    6:47 pm

  148. So many insightful and intelligent comments in response to this disappointing article! I can’t add much – other than to say that I’ve just finished scanning the Mumbrella 360 Conference lineup and was struck how male and white the faces were – in fact, all faces except Rhonda and the AAMI girl were middle aged white men (sorry, guys). Then I came to this article. Unfortunately, shutting up and getting on with it clearly isn’t working. Women aren’t making it to the top – we need another strategy.

  149. KJ
    22 Apr 13
    6:48 pm

  150. OMG someone is speaking common sense for once. I enjoyed this article immensely.

  151. Virginia Hyland
    22 Apr 13
    7:22 pm

  152. I hope that one day this debate will be archaic, my 20 years in the industry tells me we are not there yet when I hear of all the great people who have rolled out and left.

    Flexibility is now on the agenda for Men and Women – whether we are in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. Companies need to acknowledge this and offer smart people the opportunity to have a flexible working week if they want the best people to work for them.

    Here are some tips to anyone wanting to climb the corporate ladder and what has worked for the 21 employees at Hyland Media:

    1. Don’t take NO for an answer.
    There are many ways to climb the mountain. When I started in the industry I worked for large corporate companies. After 10 years I moved to a small media shop that opened my eyes to the success that can be had at any level. These guys were driving Ferraris!

    2. Skill up – the more breadth you have across different disciplines, the more able you will be to run and support a business effectively.

    3. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Don’t apologise for who you are. Act confident and be direct with your boss about what your expectations are.

    4. Stay open to feedback. Ego can prevent you from learning how to be the best that you can be. Welcome criticism and challenges so that you can understand how to do it better than anyone.

    5. Respect your peers – everyone works as a team. At the end of the day we are all working together and the memories that you will remember will be those that were formed with your workmates.

    6. Recognise that you need help if you want to stay in your career when you have a family. Don’t try to do it all and feel you’re doing a bad job of everything. You need focus and having a great support system will help you.

    7. Speak up for what is important. Wall flowers are not promoted to run a company.

  153. mumbrella
    22 Apr 13
    7:30 pm

  154. Hi Cat,

    Point taken on m360. It’s something we are conscious of. Please do bear in mind that we’ve only announced part of the schedule (we only announce sessions once all of the contributors are locked down) and the final lineup will be somewhat more balanced.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  155. Damo
    22 Apr 13
    7:32 pm

  156. Amount of fact-based evidence (not anecdotes) presented by those who agree with the sentiments of the author: 0.

  157. Angela
    22 Apr 13
    8:01 pm

  158. Love the article. I’m sick of hearing about the glass ceiling and as long as we continue to refer to it, it will continue to exist. Thank you to the Author and to Mumbrella for publishing. It’s refreshing to know that there are others out there who support my view.

  159. Who me?
    22 Apr 13
    8:21 pm

  160. Embarrassing article fromwhatt is usually an, informative, stimulating site.

    Naïve, over-simplified, and the tite is disrespectful.

    I prefer facts and statistics rather than this subjective rant. Even for an “opinion piece” the tone is appalling.

    Cringe-worthy article. I’m going to pretend I read it on some clueless wannabe’s blog, where it belongs.

  161. Who me?
    22 Apr 13
    8:23 pm

  162. ^^ sorry for the typos.

  163. Sarah
    22 Apr 13
    8:32 pm

  164. “Women” in our industry is nothing to do with all women, but with privileged Anglo-Celtic women leveraging their status. I have never been to a meeting in Australia where our other sisters of different backgrounds have been taken into account.
    This debate is not about equality for all.

  165. Alex
    23 Apr 13
    1:17 am

  166. Thumbs up! Good for you, having your head solidly planted on your shoulders, and acting out of accountability, not entitlement. I wish more people were like you. It seems like a lot of women have no trouble switching between roles of victim and manipulator.

  167. Bliss Sanctuary For Women
    23 Apr 13
    2:04 am

  168. And then of course there are so many women who don’t aspire to be at the top of a male dominated world of management… in a male dominated industry. It’s a simple choice to follow our higher values which doesn’t mean 15+ hour days as a prostitute to clients, boards and To Do Lists.
    Why would we aspire to that?
    We all make our choices… and thankfully there are so many more choices than becoming a corporate manager.
    Maybe the women who leave management in the corporate world are actually the smart ones?
    Personally I think anyone following their ‘Bliss’ is the more authentic, powerful person … and if that is in corporate management, then so be it. And if it is being a mother who works in a sandwich shop part time while caring for her family and showing up to all the experiences that matter, then I applaud you.
    We’re all different … so maybe we could celebrate that?

  169. Lucy May
    23 Apr 13
    5:47 am

  170. Asking your peers to “shut the f*** up and get on with it” is like telling the people of Palestine and Israel to shut up and get on with it because you don’t know what they’re going on about. Because you haven’t witnessed it yourself or experienced it first hand therefore it doesn’t exist and doesn’t warrant mentioning?

    I am 29 year old female and I started my career almost ten years ago in Sydney and 18 months ago I transferred to our global head quarters in the US to head up Global Communications for one of the biggest brands of our Fortune 500 company because yeah I have ambitions of getting to the “top”. You think I don’t “shut the f*** up and get on with it” to stay here and continue to advance my career?

    Of course I do. But that doesn’t mean for one second that I forget or take for granted how hard women have to work to get to these positions and celebrate them when they do.

    I’m glad you’ve never experienced gender inequality – in the relatively small company that you work for. I’m glad you’ve never received inappropriate advances by male colleagues and ignored them because you want to be “one of the boys”. I’m glad you have never felt like you’ve have had to work harder, have 3 times more qualifications/degrees than a man to get a promotion. I’m glad that you have never met men in positions of power virtually dismiss you but agree with your male counterpart who happens to be saying the identical thing you are because yes — this happens. It may not happen all the time but it happens enough to make you wish you were a man (albeit for a second).

    Oh and I am SO glad you’ve never had to worry about your work/life balance and that you’ve obviously found yourself a supportive spouse/partner who encourages and nurtures your ambition and doesn’t mind in the least that you make more money than he does because guys like that aren’t hard to come by – why would they be? According to you being women shouldn’t hold me back professionally so why it would ever affect me personally too? If we want it, we simply just need to get it right?

    Everyday millions of women around the world shut the f*** up and get on with it. We would never have made strides in gender equality if we didn’t work hard to prove that indeed our brains are the same size as a man’s.

    To suggest that celebrating other women’s achievements is now suddenly redundant because we have universal equality is abhorrent.

  171. Jemma
    23 Apr 13
    8:21 am

  172. Firstly, congratulations Peta for having the courage and conviction to put this view out there. While I disagree wholeheartedly with your point of view here for reasons that have been covered brilliantly by the participants above, you got us talking. In fact you created exactly the opposite to what you were advocating – anything but “shut the **** up”!

    Beyond the debate surely the message has to be that the conversation has to go on. The out-pouring of passionate opinion here says to me we are not done talking this through yet. We may never be.

    I am reading Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ right now and I love the concept that there are two forces of change around women’s advancement in the workforce. The first is outside our direct control (ie the engagement in debates like these that might have some impact on changing attitudes, structures and opportunities within business for women) and the second is of our own making (ie the way we create and equalise opportunity for ourselves like negotiating harder our remuneration, ensuring we get our views across before the meeting ends, taking the seat up the front of the room etc). I know I could do more personally in the latter and it comes from greater confidence in ourselves.

    Peta, while your views might change in the future (and I hope they do), good on you for having the confidence to put it out there.

  173. Richard Moss
    23 Apr 13
    9:20 am

  174. Re: Naomi Simson comments.

    I read with great interest the contribution by Naomi Simson. It presents a sane and nicely structured set of comments which appears fair minded and supportive of a thread of ideas, or perhaps to some extent, a cause or ideology.

    I am worried though that they fail to take the human condition sufficiently into account; of course, the human condition is a dangerous subject, it is prismatic and susceptible to overlays of any number of interpretations, but the basic line is at least arguable.

    Women have no more to fear than do men. Life is a difficult journey, there are many crossroads; male or female, when you reach one of these cross roads you must make a choice, but once you have made that choice, you must take but one of the roads presented.

    The so called “work force” is an artificial world where people, male or female, toil and scheme, but very rarely have control or long term tenure. Finance is the god of any work force and a quick look at the history of……… oh , let’s say the advertising industry, will reveal a hostile parade of sackings, hackings, poachings and back stabbings that would rival the history of the middle ages.

    There is no god given right, there is very little justice and the best people for any number of jobs very rarely get them. The same scrap heap that receives long struggling, hard working but eventually rejected men, will also take women, just as readily as the back stabbers will plunge their knives into a “pussy bow” blouse with the same enthusiasm they muster for the jacket and business shirt.

    There is much more to life than the work force. I believe that this is why so many women, and an increasing number of men, choose children and a home before a shot at the perceived top job.

  175. Snowball
    23 Apr 13
    10:07 am

  176. Sara: please remember that “some are more equal than others”.

  177. Emma
    23 Apr 13
    12:44 pm

  178. In Australia Black Women could not vote until as recently as1973.
    This however was not because of their gender but because of the colour of their skin.

    Can someone please, please convince me that this legacy has not been passed on into our industry.

  179. Mick
    23 Apr 13
    3:01 pm

  180. An absolute stream of mad pointless self serving whingers. As Peta rightly said …just get on with it!!!

    Men typicallty started ran and developed the majority of businesses and strangely enough they have chosen to hold on to the reins of power.
    …is that odd?
    Businesses intiated by women have little problem with gender issues… that odd??
    If you are committed and focused on your goal you will enjoy the spontaneous unreliable and often weird world of business life what ever you gender.

    Arguing about this kind of equality ENTITLEMENT is like getting stroppy because Gina Reinhardt (sorry had to pick a women) wont share her profit with the poor.

  181. Anonymous
    23 Apr 13
    3:05 pm

  182. Emma, except the referendum was in 1967, and the actually already had the legal right but rarely exercised it and were definitely not encouraged to vote by the powers that be.

  183. Vanessa
    23 Apr 13
    4:51 pm

  184. I am constantly telling my daughter in words, ways and examples that being a female is not a disadvantage. The problem is there are groups of her own gender that keep telling her it is!

  185. Harold
    23 Apr 13
    5:37 pm

  186. Hey Peta, I’d love to see you write your point of view when you have 2 young kids and a senior position in the company to juggle. If you are still keen for the CEO role and are working 3 days per week, let me know how that goes for you

  187. Women at Maxus
    23 Apr 13
    6:23 pm

  188. Leadership at Maxus around the world – Global head of Strategy and CEO of UK – Lindsay, CEO of China – Annie, MD of HK – Caroline, MD of Thailand – Christina, MD of Singapore – Lena, MD of Bangalore – Sancheeta, Head of Strategy for AP – Angela, Regional Digital Leader AP – Rachna, MD of Malaysia – Lorraine… the list goes on and on and on.
    Hopefully age, race and gender plays no role in our decision making – it is about ability to lead and manage a business …just like Katie at Mindshare who joins scores of other leaders around the world at Mindshare – who may or may not be women.

  189. Don Draper
    23 Apr 13
    9:16 pm

  190. It’s obvious there’s lots of strong opinions both in support and against Peta’s opinion. Given that, the haters on here might show a little respect to the author – she’s obviously not alone in her point of view and flaming her for having an opposing opinion to yours is very childish and unconstructive. My 2 year old can do that.

    When did feminism become a “you must think like us or you are evil/stupid” kind of movement? Surely there’s room for different opinions and debate ?

    Given no one has suggested a workable solution to the plight of working mothers and women in general, I think “put your head down and work hard” is a pretty good place to start for a young woman (or man). Nothing good comes without hard work.


  191. Emma
    24 Apr 13
    9:38 am

  192. *In Australia Black Women could not vote until as recently as 1973.
    This however was not because of their gender but because of the colour of their skin. *

    #91 Correct but the policies were not effectively implemented until 73.
    67, 73, 2013 whats the difference; in the advertising world nothing has changed.

    Some of the arguments here sound like a childish schoolyard debate with people jockeying for power. The more glaringly obvious issue of racial equality in the industry is not discussed by this group that purport to support equality or any other industry group. Is there a word for that?

  193. Marina Go
    24 Apr 13
    11:05 am

  194. Peta, thank you for your opinion on this subject. You have the right to your view and we should respect it. However, I have the right to disagree with it.

    I wish I could say you were right. If it was simply a matter of hard work, intelligence and smarts that was the path to the top then surely the gender balance would be 50:50. If I am to follow your logic then the fact that it isn’t surely means that women are either not as bright as men or not as committed. I would dispute both suggestions.

    The facts are that in 2013 Australian women earn 17.4% less than men on average and only share in 20% of ASX-200 company leadership roles and 15.4% of paid ASX-200 Board roles.

    If we truly believe that men and women have had equal opportunities for advancement and pay then we must return to the premise that women are somehow inferior in some way – because the reality is that we are far from equal in representation at leadership levels in virtually every industry and organisation. I am certain you don’t believe that women are inferior for a minute Peta.

    The reason we celebrate the women who make it to the top is that to date it has been a rare event, even though women are as capable as men. The women I speak to and who we speak to daily, hourly even, via the Women’s Agenda website that I launched last year for Private Media want role models. They want visible evidence of female achievement and so we provide that for them.

    You may not need female role models for self-belief but please don’t judge those who do.

  195. AM
    24 Apr 13
    11:37 am

  196. This research on Leadership Effectiveness says it all really. In the end, women do it better.

  197. Lou
    24 Apr 13
    3:26 pm

  198. Dear Peta,

    I wish someone had read your article before it went live and sent you back to your keyboard.

    There are some moments where women “in the industry” are doing more harm than good – this is one of them.

    Analyst, definitely not copywriter, and with a fair bit of self discovery and learning about being a female in front of you.

    Enjoy the journey.

  199. Kate
    24 Apr 13
    3:36 pm

  200. It’s super that someone who admits to being “young and possibly naive” and someone who works with a gender-balanced management team feels so well qualified to tell other women to shut up.

    While I salute your heroism in the face of emails referring to you as a “guy” or “fella” (that’s the way, champ!), I can’t help but feel that your opinions are ill-informed and are coming from a place of privilege and cliquism.

    Until you have broadened your horizons a little, perhaps you would like to take your own advice and stick a cork in it.

  201. Ursul
    24 Apr 13
    4:37 pm

  202. You are wet behind the ears Peta. Just wait till you get middle management and your priorities start changing because of family/maturity. Young, sensible, ladies do exceptionally well in male dominated enviroments. Once you get to an age and level of experience where you should be calling the shots it simply doesn’t happen unless you demand it – be prepared to be constantly undermined, de-valued and ignored while your less experienced male colleagues are brought into the fold. Just you wait, and then you will understand why women like me are so pissed off and telling people about it.

  203. Bruce
    24 Apr 13
    4:41 pm

  204. Brief but factual: we don’t choose our gender so why shouldn’t all humans be treated equally?

  205. Sally
    24 Apr 13
    5:10 pm

  206. I do agree to push for quotas is not going to help our cause as that is just more ammunition for the likes of the men who have commented above denying there is sexism in the workplace. I work in a male dominated industry and have had to work twice as hard as my male counterparts to get anywhere which I am really proud of.

    I see time and time again men being appointed leaders when they have been proven incompetent, while many of my female colleagues who are brilliant and competent still down the bottom of the pile so to speak. I have seen this too many times to doubt that sexism is still alive and kicking. The numerous examples of us saying something and being dismissed to then have a male say exactly the same thing and being lauded as brilliant are too many to list over my 25 year career.

    This is something I have come to expect. At 44 I still don’t know how we can change it but I do know heaven forbid if you bring up the “gender card” it is pretty much the worst thing you can do.

  207. Claudine
    24 Apr 13
    7:31 pm

  208. Go Lucy May and Em-321.
    Can I also say I do think most women do shut the **** up in the workplace and get on with advancing their careers. A lot are now deciding to start their own businesses and work on their own terms as well.
    It’s the trade press such as Mumbrella, B&T etc who are mostly raising the gender equality in the industry topic – and rightly so – that is their job.
    This is an issue whether we have personal experience of it or not. Women should be supported with greater flexibility and equal pay in corporate jobs. End of.
    When women leave due to lack of flexibility it’s a loss for the whole workforce.

  209. Hmm
    26 Apr 13
    1:53 pm

  210. Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” might be a good read for those who are actually interested in a nuanced input on the men/women in the workplace debate. Women are not victims, but to say that women should shut up an get on with it without recognising the decent research behind the gender difrerences at work and massive shortfall of women in senior positions are indeed quite naive.

    Judging by the angry comments here on both ends of the spectrum we might just have to agree to disagree…

  211. Claudia
    27 Apr 13
    11:07 pm

  212. If the article is meant to get a reaction, it did. Well done.
    What is really interesting are the responses. All the people that have the writer’s back seem to think proponents of equal pay for equal work are whiny, or are women who expect to achieve senior positions by what? batting their lashes?
    I have yet to know a woman in a senior role that didn’t merit it or wasn’t up to it. With some of the careless comments here you have diminished their hard work and achievements.

    The point of the equality discussion is that even by meeting all the criteria, many women are still overlooked for positions simply on gender basis. This is not to say that men don’t also face discrimination of one sort or another, racial or age, etc. Discrimination in all its forms must be discussed – we must never ever “shut the F up”. Bad form people. Bad form Peta.

  213. Mark
    28 Apr 13
    11:30 pm

  214. The whole “boys club” thing is a total misunderstanding of how men think about their co-workers. Men don’t care if their co-workers are male or female, they care about rational decision-making. Emotions do not go well with good decision-making.

    If a woman with a rational brain applies for a job she 100% gets it over emotionally unstable men. As the writer of this articles says, it’s not about men or women. It’s about qualifications.

  215. Mary Quite Contrary
    29 Apr 13
    11:30 am

  216. Just think a little about how people look when they criticise this young lady? If you are one of the negative commenters, just sit and think for a second – you are pathetic. What right do you have? She just wants to be recognised for work done well and only that? If she doesn’t want to be tarnished with the ‘poor downtrodden woman brush’ then she doesn’t have to. You can keep your views to yourself or force them on someone else.
    Look at the interview with Katie Riggs Smith – she basically called bullsh*t on the topic and it could easily have been taken by her as a slight for even being brought up.
    Amazing article. Breakthrough.

  217. Jason
    29 Apr 13
    12:37 pm

  218. Peta, I’m coming to this late, and I don’t know the industry or the individuals mentioned, but it seems to me that you’re missing the point when you describe a female executive as being “a hard working person who was right for the role” and then ask “Why is her gender even mentioned?”. Why wouldn’t you instead ask: “Why aren’t all the many other women who are hard working and ‘right’ for leadership positions being promoted into leadership roles? Or is Katie Rigg Smith the only hardworking, ‘right’ woman out there?”

    Speaking as a bloke in a mid-level job, it seems to me that there are obvious barriers to women being in the top jobs – to the disadvantage of women (and specific women), but also to the disadvantage of the entire economy. I don’t hear too many women in my workplace wasting their time complaining about it, but I do hear plenty of women examining and questioning the structural flaws that lead to the disparity.

    Maybe we should STFU (really – women should shut up?) and stop telling women to work harder (because, what? They don’t already work hard enough?), and try to address the wider, systemic problem.

  219. Rochelle
    29 Apr 13
    12:41 pm

  220. I get where you are coming from, and frankly I hate it when people jump on the scathing, attack bandwagon when someone dares to say anything remotely controversial about women and careers. Its almost worse than whatever that woman/man wrote – the replies are often littered with sexist remarks.

    So I do understand what you are trying to say. But I think there are still some very sexist workplaces and attitudes around, luckily I havent had to deal with them (and I am also a young professional woman, so I dont expect that I wont ever have to deal with them), but I know people who have.

    The point about when a woman chooses to start a family, and choices made around that by workplaces, is probably most important.

  221. J
    3 May 13
    9:52 am

  222. I agree with the article. Understandably some women find it hard in certain industries and this is wrong. My current place of employment is EOWA accredited and as a result men miss out on the top jobs because if they reduce the number of women in the EMT we lose our accreditation.

    How is that fair that the best person is not chosen for the job because of an accreditation that is designed to increase equity?

  223. p
    3 May 13
    8:32 pm

  224. completely agree

  225. Kim
    11 May 13
    7:23 am

  226. I am glad Peta has had the dignity not to respond to all the anonymous haters. That would only lead to more spiteful comments. She herself has ‘shut up’ and got on with it. Go girl.

  227. Mich
    15 May 13
    3:36 pm

  228. @Em-321 nails it.

    People who disagree with Petra’s articles aren’t “haters”; they just have a different POV.

    Question for Petra; it’s statistically proven that women are underpaid and aren’t equally represented in the board and top layers of management… is that because we “whinge” too much?

    No one in my career has ever written an email addressed to me and a group of people as “fellas”; but if I ever get one, I’ll reply back with “Dear Mr Swinging Dick”.

  229. Robyn
    20 May 13
    3:12 pm

  230. ‘when I’m eventually promoted to a role worth reporting on…’

    Missing the point that in the current environment, the chance of you being promoted to said role are slim…

    As a corollary, supporting feminism doesn’t mean you want to march off to HR to file a complaint every time you receive an e-mail addressed to ‘the guys’. It does mean, however, that I can legitimately file a complaint if I feel I’m not being treated in the same way as ‘the guys’.

    Discrimination happens. Unarguable fact.