Let me get this point out of the way first - male or female, we have all faced challenges as we’ve built our careers. These challenges vary greatly from person to person based on a number of factors, but at the end of the day the vast majority of people in their current roles have earned them.
That being said, if I’m honest, there have been significant barriers for women to succeed the same way and at the same pace as men.
But what I can confidently say is that these barriers are breaking down and the future is exceptionally bright for women in the industry.
At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, I’m confident that the question faced by companies in the future will not be whether there is enough gender diversity in their business, or why there is still a pay gap. The question of the future will simply be, “Is this the right person for this role?”. That will be the only question to ask because there will be enough deserving and successful women around to apply and be appointed.
Why am I so confident? Humour me for a moment by taking a look at the past.
Let’s go back, say, 10 years ago, a period during which our industry’s current leaders were carving their own paths and career trajectories. During this time, women in media were not afforded the flexibility required to sustain a solid career path and juggle starting a family while succeeding at work.
In this period, speaking from a media sales perspective, the idea of having a middle or senior sales person who was not client facing, five days a week, was absolutely not an option for most businesses.
Times have changed, businesses have adapted and technology has allowed traditional work hours and days to blur.
I am proud to be part of an organisation which champions change and effectively backs the right person for the role regardless of how they construct their work week. And this year, Network 10 enhanced its parental leave policy, extending it to 14 weeks paid leave and ensuring it now includes fathers. Network 10 is not in isolation here; many media companies have adopted more flexible working policies in recent times.
According to a recent Galaxy Research poll, conducted in partnership with Medibank, almost one in three workers currently enjoys flexible working conditions. And the number of companies offering such flexibility continues to increase – at 10, all roles are considered flexible giving all employees the opportunity to work when and where they want.
The key to achieving the positive change that flows from more flexible working policies is backing your people, trusting them and allowing them to choose how they get the job done regardless of where they are – so long as their KPIs are met or exceeded.
Backing your people regardless of gender and ethnicity has real, positive impacts on a company’s bottom line; I don’t need to go into the positive statistics surrounding increased diversity in the workplace here, we’ve all seen them.
I am so confident that we as an industry will continue down this path. I know as a leader in our industry I will always allow my people’s needs to come first, trust in their abilities and lead from the front – and I’m certain I’m not the only one.