Shaking it up: getting women into the C-Suite.


At the rate we’re going, gender parity at the C-level will take about 100 years, says one global consultancy. Demoralising stats like this and gloomy forecasts abound as the number of women in leadership roles – despite ample female talent at the top of the funnel – remains small.

According to one study, women comprise 41% of the media and marketing professionals early in their careers, but only 25% at the executive level.  The research, conducted by She Runs It, EY and LinkedIn back in 2016, attempted to analyse what’s going wrong. They wanted to identify the factors that derail qualified women right at the threshold of the C-suite in marketing and media, including ad-tech.

The reasons for the precipitous drop-off are diverse and complex – but one thing is certain. Analysing the barriers only gets you so far.

So, let’s take a look at some positive, proactive steps women and organisations can take and are taking to shake things up – getting women off the B team and into the C Suite.


Want to accelerate parity at the executive level? Researchers say take action by:

  • Building your brand and your network: Women should devote more time to personal brand-building and to creating more network connections inside and outside their organisations.
  • Be a sponsor: The study showed that in the marketing industry, up to 78% of professional endorsements on LinkedIn are provided by men, who endorse both women and men. Women need to get in there and support one another.
  • Build C skills: Companies must develop paths and programs to give women an equal measure of experience and training, but women also need to seek out their own opportunities to develop key skills possessed by leaders.
  • Wield creative influence: Some agencies and advertisers are using their art to take a stand for parity. One agency recently pledged to stop objectifying women and men in their ad creative in its "Women Not Objects" campaign .
  • Pressure the supply chain: Just like Walmart can influence global manufacturing practices with a single memo, brands can influence their marketing suppliers. The CMO of HP Inc., supposedly gave his advertising and PR agencies 12 months to create a plan to diversify their ranks.
  • Use the power of the pocketbook: See a brand that’s shaking things up for women? Reward the effort. Women make 85% of all consumer purchasing decisions in the US. ‘Nuf said.

Headlines and research can paint a grim picture of the gender parity landscape. But with so many good women and men working toward solutions, we’ll get there. So think creatively, take action where you can, and keep working toward a gender-balanced world where everyone can make it to the top.


Published by MiQ New York.