To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re asking OMDers from across the country what this year’s theme, #EachForEqual, means to them.
Conor Marshall (Account Executive) and Emma Ray (Strategy Director) give their thoughts:
1. What does #EachForEqual mean to you?
CM: #EachForEqual to me is all about collectivism. It is everyone acknowledging the inequalities in the world and collectively working together the make the world a better place. It’s about choosing not to put things in the “too hard” or “not my job” basket but taking the extra steps to address inequality in our everyday life, even the little changes can start a movement. Taking collective responsibility for the better world we want to live in, all the time, everywhere.
ER: It is an encouragement for everyone to champion equality and a reminder to be accountable for our own contribution to change.
2. What small, achievable actions do you feel we can be doing on a daily basis to promote equality?
CM: Stand up for equality in everyday life! Call your friends out if they’re being obnoxious and let them know it’s not ok even if they are “just joking”. Don’t be a bystander. Avoid using gendered terms, even if they have the intention of being endearing, no one should be called “sweetheart” in the workplace – it’s not the 1960′ and you’re not Don Draper. Even if you were, it still wouldn’t be ok. Professionally, we’re in a position of power to influence our client’s communications, so work with them to ensure equal gender representations beyond the 1:1 ratio. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It doesn’t matter what role you play in the organisation, you can always ask ‘what assumptions are reflected in the choices we have made about this piece of work?’. Why is the doctor portrayed as a white, middle aged man? Would it be more powerful if she was a young woman from a culturally diverse background? Will this presentation be relatable for stay-at-home dad’s, same sex partnerships, the differently abled or the elderly? Curiosity can be a powerful weapon against gender-based stereotypes. Advertising and media should highlight the positivity in the world and not perpetuate negative and outdated stereotypes.
ER: Taking time to stop and think of other perspectives. Is this opportunity benefiting everyone it could? Is anyone missing out? If not, why not, and who can you tell? Something achievable could be as simple as switching up the podcasts you listen to, the news site you instinctively go to, the accounts you follow on Instagram. Mix up where you’re listening and learning from to broaden the stories that influence these perspectives. If I’m honest though, for me, I prefer big, noisy, seemingly unachievable actions. Try hard for something uncomfortable to generate change, if its something you really believe in.
3. How have you overcome any of your own thoughts and biases?
CM: Education. Learning about other cultures, other people, other families and other countries is key to challenging your own thinking and beliefs to build understanding. I think it’s only when we close ourselves off to having our thoughts challenged that we risk perpetuating the status quo and embedding inequalities.
ER: Ohh tough question. I think (/hope) I’m steadily leaning into debating with people who disagree with me. It’s probably after these conversations (when I’m less flustered) that I’ve had the space to think of my own thoughts and biases. How does my sense of self influence my bias? Where I’m from, what I know, who I know – how have these experiences contributed? The reality is these biases are unconscious – being mindful of them is important, but let’s not beat ourselves up about them!
4. Who is a role model in your life that you look up to that leads by example in this space?
CM: It’s got to be the Notorious R.B.G. aka Ruth Bader Ginsberg. From the outset of her career RBG has fought against gender discrimination and still does so now, working as US Supreme Court Justice at 86 years old. For anyone that hasn’t seen her documentary, go check out “RBG” on Amazon Prime tonight.
ER: Leandra Medine is my pick. She started the website ManRepeller a decade ago and I’ve read it religiously since. For me she has a really strong sense of self, she’s provocative, empathetic, very funny and smart! What looks like a fashion blog pokes at the politics of clothes, shares finance diaries and profiles fascinating people. I desperately want to be friends with them all. I suppose though if I’m to heed my own advice I should find something else to read…
5. What big dreams do you have for the world by 2030?
CM: Greater access to education for girls. In 2017, it was reported that 130 million girls globally are out of school and 15 million girls of primary school age will never even enter a classroom. Education provides people the freedom to make decisions which improve their lives. Aside from the immediate positive effects of education, the World Bank says better educated women tend to be healthier, have greater participation rates in formal labour markets, have fewer children and marry later. A research piece by Conservation International has even listed girl’s education as one of the key pillars to fighting climate change. Equal access to education is key to a better world for all.
ER: God so many. In the spirit of the theme, I’d choose access to equal healthcare, something I’m learning a bit about at the moment. Reports have shown that diseases that disproportionately affect women have had less research funding and therefore less understanding and diagnosis. The same is true for men for some comparable diseases that affect them more. Besides the immediate benefits of reliable trustworthy medical advice, being in good health has such an impact on how you can show up for your family, for your education, for your work. I could go on, but I think that a world where health is not a barrier to opportunity would be a good aim for 2030.