Experts frown at unfavorable policies against women in advertising

Stakeholders in the Integrated Marketing Communications industry have kicked against the implementation of policies that are not gender friendly to women in various organizations in Nigeria.

They argued that such scenario is also predominant in the advertising industry, stressing that such policies are targeted at marginalizing the womenfolk due to cultural beliefs and their biological nuisances.

They made this position known during the maiden edition of the Women in Advertising and Communication Annual Cocktail, themed:”Growing Female Chief Executives” at the Regent Luxury Suites, GRA, Lagos.

The Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe, encouraged most organizations to review their policies to give every staff the opportunity to operate on a level playing field irrespective of their gender.

Ugbe stressed that often times, the best talents that emerge in a company are usually women, noting that nothing should be done to jeopardize their career growth in such a company.

In his words: “The workplace is about hard work and focus and these do not recognize gender. Women should work hard, believe in themselves and lean on their support system.”

“Organizations should also review their workplace policies on women. We need our best talents and often times, these best talents are women. So, we don’t want to put the wrong policies in place to drive these talents away from us. We need to put the best policies in place to allow the women with the best of talents shine.”

Speaking in the same vein, the President of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, Mr. Ikechi Odigbo, lamented that the Nigerian business environment was not gender sensitive towards the women.

He decried that most women in the industry work under unfavorable conditions which prevent them from fully optimizing their potentials.

Odigbo who is also the Managing Director, DDB Lagos, however, said DDB Worldwide is gender compliant and has friendly policies in place to make the best of talents rise to their deserved position within the DDB ranks regardless of gender.

“The CEO of DDB Worldwide is a very dynamic lady Wendy Clark who has been providing very inspiring leadership since she came on board. We have a greater workforce of women within the ranks of DDB Lagos. These are women known for their dynamism and they are very engaging. They are also loyal, faithful and committed to the work. We see them as assets.

“We realize that we need to be conscious of the nuances which may be embedded culturally where we are not fully sensitive to their unique demands in the workplace. We do not determine elevations, appointment, performance based on gender. We look at the value every member of the team brings to the table and we celebrate them for their performance both male and female.”

On his part, the Vice President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Steve Babaeko, affirmed that there are a lot of policies in various organizations that inhibit the growth of the women folks in Nigeria.

Babaeko lamented that men are given undue advantage over women in the country, adding that women in other climes are treated better than women in Nigeria.

He, however, appreciated the women for championing the course of enlightening the womenfolk to rise up to the zenith of their profession in the workplace despite several challenges facing them.

According to him, “If you empower a woman and give her a conducive space, she will do great things. For instance, our Central and Southern Africa operations is run by a woman, Nike Ogunkola. I assure you, she is performing excellently. We are proud of her and how the other women at X3M Ideas are doing awesome things at the agency.

“I encourage women to always give it their all. I have always advocated that women who are qualified and capable should not have barriers either cultural or policy related hamper their climb to the zenith of their career.”

Meanwhile the Chairman, Committee on Women in Advertising of AAAN, Mrs. Tope Jemerigbe, said the event was organized to set agenda for the women folks to prepare them as the CEOs for the future.

Jemerigbe lamented that the inability experienced by women in rising to the top of their career is a global problem, pointing out that less than 10% of women presently occupy positions at the CEO level.

She, however, expressed her joy that most Chief Executive Officers were able to attend the event, adding that she could see a change coming since the programme was fully attended by practitioners in the Integrated Marketing Communications industry.



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