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


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