Gender and inclusion are we too complacent?

Some people might argue that we don’t need a specific focus on gender equality and inclusion but I disagree. It’s the right thing to do on every level but especially the socio-economic one.

With the reality that there are fewer women running the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) top 1,500 companies than there are men named John, it appears there is still far too much inequality at every level of society. Actively promoting equality rather than wait for it to happen, possibly, is the only option to achieving parity in our world.

As the father of two girls and a boy, my wife and and I have endeavored to bring all of our children up to treat everyone as an equal. We work hard to to ensure that they can go out into the world with no preconceptions about themselves or misconceptions about the rest of us.

This philosophy is something I consciously adopt in my professional career too. I am proud that at Dentsu Aegis Network Ireland over half of our team are women, and half of our senior leadership team are as well.

However, despite this, we cannot take for granted the position our business is in today in terms of gender balance, or allow ourselves to become complacent. There is still much work to be done.

At home and at work we all have the opportunity to contribute to delivering positive change. In an industry where we hold the mirror up to society, it’s especially important that we take advantage of the opportunity for media and advertising to be a force for good in the world.

This year’s call to action for International Women’s Day is an invitation to be “bold for change”. So today, Dentsu Aegis Ireland are taking their bold step to launch the Irish chapter of ONE, our employee network to champion gender equality across our business and beyond.

To start us on our journey with ONE, we will be joined by Anne Harris, the first woman (the first!) to edit the Sunday Independent in 2012. Anne’s reputation as an icon of Irish journalism, in what has traditionally been a male dominated business serves as a reminder of why it is so important we actively promote equality in our industry. Sharing her perspective on gender equality and her insight on the impact of the digital economy for Ireland, for business and for diversity and inclusion, alongside our own people will really help to kick start the debate.

But this is just the first step on our journey to promote inclusion and equality across our business, a single event won’t achieve this.

We must continue to invest in inclusion and equality for everyone, so that future generations really are free to go out into the world without preconceptions about themselves or misconceptions about others.

I’m committed to achieving this, as a father and as a CEO. So for this International Women’s Day I’m encouraging all our people in Ireland to be bold for change, support ONE and play an active role in ensuring the digital economy is more open, accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Liam McDonnell

CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Ireland