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Can B2B Marketing tackle gender bias in leadership?

3 min read - by Alexandra Webber - Head of Marketing

Women’s advancement in the corporate workplace has taken significant strides over the last century.

There are countless compelling stats which prove the impact women have in the most successful companies. Yet despite an increase of female employees in senior positions, the boardroom continues to be male-dominated.

A recent interim report focusing on the balance of women in the workplace shows some FTSE 350 firms are still dragging their feet with top executives using pitiful and patronising excuses such as “[women] don’t have the depth of experience to sit on the board”, “[women] don’t want the hassle”, and “[women] struggle with ‘complex issues’” to keep women out of the boardroom.

Yes, in 2018.

This got B2B Marketing thinking: can gender bias in marketing leadership be tackled? They approached Twogether as one of the top creative agencies in the sector to address this issue.

(An agency that also just happens to be led by a female MD with a female Client Services Director and several female Account Directors. None of which held us back from becoming Marketing Communications Agency of the Year at last year’s B2B Awards!)

Quite apart from our own experience, there is one compelling reality of 21st business that makes bias of any kind a particularly toxic mistake.

That reality is the increasing importance of diversity as a competitive advantage.

This scene is set by the fact that 50% of FTSE 350 businesses will not survive the next 5 -10 years.

Contrast that with the situation in 1960 where the average age of a firm in the Fortune 500 was 60 years. (Ian Moyse, Disruptonomics).

This era-defining shift has been triggered by a new generation of businesses guided by young and disruptive leaders, creating a level of competition that is far more aggressive than anything we’ve experienced before.

This is survival of the fittest at its fiercest, driven by the innovative zeitgeist of millennials and Generation Z. This generational cadre may have less experience, fewer resources and maybe a lower chance of success. But they also have fewer pre-conceptions, lower barriers and a wider scope of thinking. Which means fewer limitations and a wider mind-set.

These people don’t consider diversity as even being an issue. They don’t care where ideas, change or success comes from. Men, women, kids, even machines… ideas, creativity and innovation are welcomed from everywhere. Apart perhaps from traditional, male-dominated monocultures.

To compete successfully in this new environment means continually nurturing talent, no matter where it comes from, and adopting diversity as a cultural norm. Otherwise the most influential companies – including the ones you’ve haven’t even heard of yet – will disrupt your business before you know it.

The threat is real even if it isn’t obvious.

So should you still be sitting quite so comfortably?

Diversity: the source of progress.

You can read our campaign approach in the Summer Issue of B2B Marketing’s Magazine.

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