A better world for all of us - Reflections on International Women’s Day

Mar 07, 2021

In these days of great awakening, we have become increasingly aware of the need to correct for systemic bias not only in relation to skin colour, but also gender, sexual orientation, and more. I have seen firsthand the improvement in results that come from diversity and inclusion. Being inclusive is good business, period. And good for society as a whole.

Today is International Women’s Day. It’s meaningful to me personally. I am surrounded by strong women. My wife, daughters, and daughter-in-law leave no room in my mind for chauvinistic thoughts. They are just hands-down impressive individuals who are busy changing the world for the better. I have a superb team of senior women executives who serve the marketing community with me at the CMA. And so many extraordinary women who serve on our committees and councils. 

The emerging class of luminaries within Canadian marketing are predominantly women, including the last four Marketers of the Year. A full 90% of marketers who participated in our recent CMA Talent Survey see women in leadership roles at their organizations. That’s good news, compared to decades past, though I do wonder about the remaining 10%. Still, representation, at least in our field, is somewhat less of a concern than in the broader workplace.

But having women represented at senior levels doesn’t mean the gender problem has been solved. There are still concerns, as we can see from the research. Women marketers are less likely than men to describe their workplace as employee inclusive.  And women from minority groups find their workplaces significantly less welcoming. One in six marketers have noticed women being less engaged due to either institutional, interpersonal, structural or internalized systems of discrimination. That might seem like a fairly low number, but when asked about themselves, almost half of women marketers say they are not engaged – at least some of the time – for these reasons.

My personal take on all of this? All leaders, but particularly male leaders, still have some heavy lifting to do. Are we mentoring and sponsoring female marketers in a significant way? Are we intolerant of sexist language in meetings? Are we creating a climate where all voices are heard?  Are we providing the support systems that working mothers need?

The objective is not just a better world for women, but a better world for all of us. Happy International Women’s Day!

Stay safe,

John Wiltshire

President and CEO

PS. Sign up for CMAtalent to get a deeper look at our findings from the talent survey in April.





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