An open letter to ladies in media

Last month, GroupM's Venessa Hunt wrote a LinkedIn post on gender equality that became one of the Agency Influencer program's most popular and shared articles. Here, Mumbrella publishes it for our audience.

Dear ladies of the advertising, media, creative, technology industries,

Last week, the brave Dan Robins from Spotify wrote an article about gender equality and admitted to being part of the problem, but also he put his hand up to be part of the solution (thanks Dan).

In return, I want to ask something of the ladies out there. Please don’t let gender be your reason to give up. Before you get mad, or feel I don’t understand you, hear me out.

To make it very clear, I am not downplaying the issue or your experiences. I do not support sexism (either way) in the workplace (or any place). I do not condone sexual harassment.

I do not support women being paid less, having to chose between family and work, or being looked over for roles as they are of a certain age and are “risky” – believe me, I have had my share of all of the above.

However ladies, please do not let these things stop you from being everything you can and want to be. You’ll have to work harder and you’ll have to put up with more than you should, and whilst this isn’t OK, it will make rising up the ranks so much more fulfilling – trust me.

Be mad, don’t be quiet, speak your mind, do something, stand strong, stand tall… but please don’t give up. Don’t use gender as the reason to not push through. Being a woman is something to be proud of, and you should not feel that is the reason for feeling any less.

Blame the individual who treated you poorly, blame the workplace for allowing it, blame that one boss, that one rude comment, that one unconscious bias of the individual, but please don’t say, “It’s because I am a woman” as a blanket statement.

There are great bosses, there are great workplaces, there are great supporters (men and women) of everything you are and everything you strive to be.

As women, we need you. The women around you need you. To be inspirational, to be diverse, to be resilient (overused word, usually for the wrong reasons), to be brave, to be here. To create an industry that celebrates the right people doing great work – irrelevant of gender.

If we stop trying and start believing that being a woman in this industry is all too hard – how can we possibly be here to support each other?

And when it all feels too much, call me, call a friend, call a mentor – get a reminder that to create the change, we must be the change. Hang in there, it’s worth it. The generation below you and those around you now need more great women role models.

@Dan – I stand by your point, I am part of the problem, and I’m committed to be part of the solution.

Sincerely, Venessa

Venessa Hunt is GroupM’s head of digital investment and partnerships.

This article is part of the LinkedIn Agency Influencer program. See more from the program by clicking on the banner below.

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