IWD 2023: Female executives attest to improved gender equality in IMC Industry

By Oghale Mafuru

As women around the globe gather in different fora to commemorate the 2023 International Women Day’s celebration, women in the Integrated Marketing Communications, IMC, Industry have disclosed that gender equality is shaping the discourse around leadership and has improved women participation in corporate governance in the industry.

Speaking to MARKETING EDGE, the corporate amazons who currently  sit at the helm of affairs of some renowned agencies in the country, affirmed that over the last few years, the conversations around gender bias and women empowerment has attracted an impressive level of response from organizations within the IMC sector which is evident in the appreciable number of women in leadership positions.

Adekemi Alegbeleye,  General Manager/Chief Operating Officer at Dentsu X Nigeria where she leads the creative, digital, and media business of the company stated that the challenges with gender equality is deeply rooted in culture and beliefs but that over the years, women have been able to break the barriers and stereotypes through their resilience and determination to overcome societal limitations as well as unavoidable setbacks that often accompanies motherhood.

She said: “I think gradually, we are getting to a stage where everybody needs to acknowledge that the woman is able to excel. Able to overcome all the barriers that society and nature has put in front of us. The conversation of gender equality actually goes beyond that. So, it goes into our community, our country and the world. It is a universal problem.

“So last year, we did equality and I am so excited that this year, we are moving from equal opportunities to equity. So, acknowledging the fact that we don’t have to have equal opportunities, we just have to have opportunities that are peculiar and unique to us, to succeed. So, if you see me as a woman, where I am coming from is unique. It is different from the other woman or the man. So, you have to identify that my situation is different, my circumstances are different. So, don’t give me what you are giving everybody else. Give me what is peculiar and unique for me to succeed as a woman” she added.

For her part, Ose Osundeko, Chief Operating Officer at Digitas affirmed that women participation in organizational leadership has improved within the industry as more women are actively involved in the decision-making process of their organizations.

“In terms of women empowerment in the IMC industry we are definitely seeing a big embrace both on the client and agency side. If I take Insight as an example, key roles are filled by women. So, the Account Managing Director at Insights is a woman, the Creative Director is a woman, even the Human Resources is led by a woman. My company is led by a woman. So out of about six or seven companies, we have about five or four being led by a woman. We have more women in Leadership in our group than men which hasn’t been the case before.

“Previously, a lot of women agencies we saw were those who left to start their own company. That was why we had many female leaders but now most organizations are seeing a lot of value in the balance that women bring to general leadership. On the scale of one to ten, I would say that gender equality in the IMC industry has moved up to 5.5 over ten. We are positive there will be more”.  she said

While stressing that women have the intellectual and requisite capabilities to deliver well on any role, Olajumoke Akinyele, Associate Business Director at Noah’s Ark Communications advised women not to rest on their oars but continue to thrive for excellence against all odds.

“I want to say that most times, you get what you take for yourself not what people give to you. So, most times when we keep shouting equality, what are the women doing to shift this narrative because at the end of the day, it is us. So, what are the actions we are taking as well? So, if we don’t have a woman creative director, can a woman strive to do good work to the extent that it is obvious that this person knows her onus and that she can run that post. Women run businesses and do great work. So, at the end of the day, it is not what they give you. It is what you take.

“We are seeing women running businesses especially on the creative side of things, we have women picking up roles and doing good at things. For my own organization for example, all the business leads are women. I am a business director for Noah’s Ark and I am a woman. My immediate reports are women. There is a guy but three of them are women and they run business units. Our HR is a woman. finance person is a woman”.

Omawumi Ogbe, Managing Partner, GLG Communications, while emphasizing the tremendous impact of gender equality for national growth stated that organizations should take deliberate actions with regards to gender balance beyond the annual events and conversations.

“I think we have more women in PR than you have men. I did a report about this in 2020 for the PR African report that BHM did then. I did an investigation and research. We found out that there are more women.

Most companies are just paying lip service to these things. They are doing their fliers and putting up support groups. When we will look within your organization. What does it say? Is there really diversity and inclusion? Are there women in Leadership positions? Even if they are there, are they able to make decisions and lead? Are they empowered to lead? It is not even an emotional conversation. This is an economic conversation” she stressed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.