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‘What are we striving for? Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?’

This year’s International Women’s Day was centred around #EmbraceEquity, however striving for equity in the advertising and marketing industries has not come with a simple definition to date.

This week’s Mumbrellacast features a special panel discussion between managing director of independent agency Bullfrog, Matilda Hobba, head of content and creative at Target Australia, Nicole Mandile, and founder of headhunting firm, iPopulate, Belinda Lodge.

Mandile, Hobba and Lodge on this week’s Mumbrellacast

Hobba began the discussion around the merits of holding an IWD each year. “I think there’s a lot to think about and discuss, and it’s nice to have a focused forum to do that. There is obviously a frustration that we needed in the first place. What happens the other 364 days? It’s important that we don’t use it as the one day that we discuss these things and then never implement them throughout the year.”

Mandile, now at Target, also has extensive experience across Australia’s top creative agencies said despite equity being really important in all senses, “I think we need to unpick [it] a little.”

“I think what a woman may need to succeed in the workplace may be different to her colleagues, male or otherwise. So I think equity is a real positive when it comes to things like pay or opportunity, but it may not necessarily be right as far as, does she have children? Does she need other things to make her work life successful? Does she need other things to help her support or learn or grow into a management or leadership position that is different to what a man may need?”

“I think equity needs to be unpicked a little, especially from a pay gap point of view.”

“What I needed versus my colleagues in an agency was incredibly different, and I think all of us need to look at our own lifestyles, our own family life, our own well wellbeing, and set those parameters ourselves. I don’t think agencies are very good at asking you what you need to succeed.

“I think we need to become better at asking for it and setting those boundaries ourselves.”

Lodge asked, “When we talk about equality, are we now speaking about equality of opportunity for women or are we speaking about equality of outcome?”

“I think some of these things get quite convoluted. So I think often at times women are trying to have conversations about equality of opportunity and it is being read by the white males that have traditionally dominated our industry as if it is equality of outcome.

“And I think often at times we find there is a disconnect between what the women are asking for and what the men are receiving in terms of what they think we are asking for.”

Mumbrella recently took a look at the progression in gender diversity in Australian agencies, and why media got the jump on creatives.

During the panel, the discussion addresses the realities of what equity in advertising agencies actually means in 2023, where it has seen progress – and where it has faltered -, the trio’s lived experience in this agency balancing different family lives, parental care, and how the needle can be moved going forward.

Listen to the full panel discussion with Hobba, Lodge and Mandile on this week’s Mumbrellacast from the 16:17 mark. 

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