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IWD Special 7 Mar 2022 - 4 min read

Putting pronouns on email signatures isn't going to cut it; we need meaningful support to move beyond quotas and Nigella 'cookalikes'

By Anonymous - Agency Executive
Anonymous Agency woman 2

An anonymous female agency leader says she recently put forward two male names for a role, only for them to be rejected because they were men. Quotas are great, but there are deeper issues to fix: Maternity leave job security, smaller superannuation nest eggs, emotional support – women juggle this while trying to look and cook like Nigella Lawson. Solve the imbalance and the quotas may no longer be required.

Have [women] been given the support and tools they need to be able to balance work and life? I can tell you: They have not.


Will is there, support is lacking

Every year I'm asked to comment on our industry and my experience on International Women’s Day. This year I ran out of ideas because negativity started to arise.  

As a senior female who has come up through the ranks – albeit seven or eight years after the male peers I started with, I have written many pieces and told many stories around bias. And how important it is to have the opportunity as well as the constant juggle and pressure that women face to behave like men and suffer at home and work as a result. 

I see women in my business manically attempting to hold their senior roles by coming back from maternity leave before they are ready, juggling late night meetings, guilt-ridden school drops off, school events, work events, travel as well as trying to look and cook like Nigella Lawson!

I am happy to say the opportunities are here and the quotas have arrived but are the women ready? Have they been given the support and tools they need to be able to balance work and life? I can tell you: They have not.

I have seen so many women with mental health issues due to the pressure and they are too scared to ask for help. We then wonder why our industry has the highest attrition levels to date.

Corporates are awake, the quotas are in place – but more needs to be done.

There is at least a three-to-five year pause for most women, which takes years to make up.


Pronouns do nothing while women's nest eggs dwindle

The same goes for gender equality. Changing the sign on the bathroom door and adding a pronoun to your email signature does not mean that you have solved this bias in the workplace or put in place the support required. 

What’s really been done here? We need to think beyond the quotas! Where is the childcare subsidy? Where is the expanded paid parental leave? Where are the coaching and support sessions? And dare I ask, what is the pay gender gap? What about superannuation?

There is at least a three-to-five year pause for most women which takes years to make up for. It feels like we have been talking about the same thing for many years, but we are still moving at a very slow pace.

Only recently, I was asked about senior roles and recommendations and I put forward two people I believed were right for the job. Unfortunately, they were not even considered because they were male. Instead, appointments were made based on sex.

Real support is what is required to set up our fabulous leaders up for success – no matter what gender they are. Solve the underlying issues, remove the tick box.

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