Marketing sector looks to address gender inequality

Helen Campbell of VisitScotland and Marketing Society Scotland. Picture: Contributed

Helen Campbell of VisitScotland and Marketing Society Scotland. Picture: Contributed

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Scotland’s marketing sector remains “rife with inequality and gender discrimination” according to new research from the industry’s leading professional body.

In a survey of more than 300 marketers working north of the Border, nearly half of women said they have definitely or possibly experienced gender discrimination, compared to just 16 per cent of men.

Some 53 per cent of women versus 79 per cent of men said they are treated equally in their current workplace.

Commissioned by the Marketing Society Scotland, the research comes just a fortnight after Equal Pay Day, which measures the gender pay gap in terms of the date that women effectively stop earning relative to men.

The current overall gap in the UK for full-time workers is 13.9 per cent, with Equal Pay Day falling on 10 November – just one day later than in 2015.

To help combat this, the Marketing Society Scotland is launching an “Inspiring Women” initiative aimed at ensuring greater equality in the workplace.

Helen Campbell, chairwoman of the society and head of marketing at VisitScotland, said the aim is to help employers address issues ranging from maternity leave and ­flexible working to a lack of opportunities for women at executive and board level.

“The Inspiring Women initiative is borne out of a recognition that as a marketing community we must work harder to ensure greater equality in the workplace, at all levels,” Campbell said.

“Where there is inequality we need to understand why and most importantly take proactive steps to address it.

“Now is the time to work smarter and harder to build a more balanced marketing community and culture.”

The new “Mind the Gap” research also found that just 29 per cent of women agree that men and women are paid equally in their current workplace. That is compared to 59 per cent of men. Less than a third of all of those asked believe that men and women are represented equally at all levels of marketing in Scotland – just 10 per cent of women agreed with that statement, against 29 per cent of men.

The Marketing Society Scotland is publishing guidelines in conjunction with the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) to help businesses tackle these issues.

Employers are being asked to pledge their support by signing on to mindthegapscotland.co.uk, with the aim of 500 signatories backing the call for positive discussion on gender discrimination.

This will be the first in a series of initiatives including events, practical workshops, mentoring and networking sessions sponsored by the society.

In addition, the group will seek to identify those “making real progress in building a balanced workplace”.

A total of 326 people responded to the Mind the Gap survey, which was carried out online by Jump Research.

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