This year in order to reinforce our position of active advocate of an equal workplace and make a positive and sustainable perception change in our industry, OMD became the Proud Sponsor of 2016 B&T Women in Media Forum.
In the lead up to our sponsorship we are profiling the fantastic women working at OMD. We checked out the dedicated, driven and innovative women from all over our offices, and asked them to raise their voices and share their experiences.
Today’s Woman in Media is Emma Swiney, Business Development Manager, OMD Sydney.
WHAT DOES GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE MEAN TO YOU?
For me, gender equality in the workplace is all about creating more choices and greater flexibility for women.
My partner and I have had three beautiful children over the last nine years and during this period I have left and returned to the industry three times. Although I have loved every minute of being at home with my children, I would have loved more choices to allow me to continue to grow my career.
Everyone’s situation is unique but here are three key areas that I feel would help create more choice;
1) Closing the gender pay gap:
This will allow families to have increased choice on how to share the responsibilities of raising a family by allowing dads to take time off as well as mums. We also need to ensure women do not fall behind in the pay gap when they leave to have children.
2) New ways of looking at flexibility:
With an average age of 27, we need to find new and flexible ways to ensure women return to our industry after having children. Job sharing would be one way to encourage women to come back to careers suited to their skills and experience and in the process we would retain the knowledge and experience that they bring.
3) Acceptance that shared responsibilities is the norm
I am in a unique position in that I work with my partner, in the same team! OMD have always been flexible with allowing us to make decisions based on our workloads but I know this isn’t always the norm. It is often assumed that women will leave early to pick up a sick child or take time off over school holidays. We need to be more accepting and provide increased flexibility for men so they too can share in these responsibilities.
I believe that we are heading in the right direction. If I were to start my family today I would have more support available now than I had nine years ago. The more we discuss issues and implement change the more progress we will make. For my children, I hope that having this debate now will make gender inequality in the workplace an issue of the past for them.
COULD YOU NAME YOUR ROLE MODEL AND EXPLAIN THE REASONS?
I’d like to give a shout out to all the strong women in my life that have helped shape who I am today. To my determined mum who taught all her children that anything is possible and to never give up on what you want. To my sisters who are all unique, strong, clever women and are always there to remind me that when you put your mind to something you can achieve great things.
And importantly, all the men out there that get it! The ones that are adapting to the changing circumstances with us. From my Dad, who through raising a family of his own (9 children to be precise!) has adapted and changed many of the views he grew up with. To my partner who understands that his role at home is just as important as it is at work. He leads by example and is a positive role model for our two boys and girl. Together we juggle the joys and challenges of raising a family and the balancing act of being working parents.