International Women’s Day – Michelle Davies

Thu, 08 Mar 2018
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What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

For me, International Women’s day is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and recognise the huge amount of work that remains to be done. It is a chance to recognise our continuing shortfalls and force people to open their eyes, while also celebrating and showcasing talent and female success stories.


As a career women yourself, do you feel you have had to fight harder to get where you are today?

Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough that I haven’t had to break doors down to succeed but it’s no accident that I have gravitated toward agencies that are led by powerful, forward thinking and progressive female (and male) Senior Management. I have been extremely fortunate in my career, to have been surrounded by incredible female role models and mentors who have helped me enormously and played a real part in getting me to where I am today. Having said that, as a woman I think you do have to prove yourself every day. My natural instincts, like many women, are to work hard and hope it is recognised and rewarded where due, but I have learnt throughout my career, that I have to fight those instincts and (like men have been trained and encouraged to do from the beginning of time), you have to speak up and demonstrate that you know your own value and vocalise that. I see it as my continuing responsibility to encourage that ability to speak up in the next generation.


How do you feel the media and creative industry treats women? 

The industry is certainly changing; we all know the gender pay gap still exists and there is certainly a long way to go in terms of equality, highlighted in the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. However, more and more companies are trying to attract and retain a more diverse workforce and we are seeing more agencies adapting their cultures to suit the ‘super mum’ (or dad). There has been so much progress made already and with many exceptional, female role models proving we can do it all, the future looks bright!


What would you like to see companies do to make give more gender parity?

I would love to see more creative ways to re-engage returning mothers into the workforce. One of the major issues for women in creative is the under-representation at Board level and no amount of attraction at the junior end will fix that problem if we don’t also address the fact that, for many women there is still a choice to be made between motherhood and career. We need to see more solutions focussed attempts to re-engage people who have worked tirelessly to reach a certain level and are then cast aside for senior positions due to taking time out to raise families. There have been noticeable strides made in terms of work/life balance, flexi hours etc. but in my opinion, the industry needs to think outside the box  and find meaningful ways to fast track/ reintegrate talent at the senior level to really affect change.


What advice would you give to women ambitious for a great career?

Connect with other women, seek mentors and ask for help, and in turn, help inspire the next generation. Also, be brave to speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and then prove why you are worth it.