Women In Advertising Tasked On Mentorship, Collaboration To Break Gender Bias


By Toyosi Olajide

The focus was on mentorship, collaborations, and unity when advertising professionals under the aegis of the Women In Advertising (WIA)-a platform of the Advertising Agencies Association of Nigeria (AAAN), met to commemorate the International Women’s Day, over the weekend.

The event tagged “Sisters, not Strangers,” held at Insight Communication Grounds, GRA Ikeja Lagos, witnessed a turn out of veteran advertising professionals, marketing comminutions Amazons across brands, and young professionals aspiring for the zenith of their careers.

In a welcome address by the Chairman of WIA and CEO of DDK Nigeria, Temitope Jemerigbe, senior practitioners in the industry were tasked with taking time out to listen to younger women’s feedback, and see what they can deliberately do to help them as they grow.

“The headline of the session which is “Sisters Not Strangers” is not chosen by accident. The conversation plan is to erase bias, most especially the unconscious ones. We want to create a platform to reach out to our bosses concerning things we feel should be done better. A platform will be created to aim at how we can deliberately impact the life of one another. This platform will give room to voicing out our challenges and we want to also raise women to the position where they are influencing policies.”

Speaking to the theme of the event, “Tackling Unconscious Gender Bias in the Workplace,” leading women are disrupting their spaces in their career, engaged in an interactive fireside chat session. These women include Mistura Owolabi, Senior Copywriter of Insight Publicis; Timileyin Faniyin, Advertising Director of Image and Tiles and Fabia Ogunmekan, Executive Director, Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR). The speakers drew largely from their reservoir of experience to speak on their career journeys and the need to make the working environment conducive to female professionals.

They also urged women present to strive to overcome gender bias in the adverting industry and the workplace. They also advocated that senior women in the industry should mentor younger practitioners in the interest of ensuring that more women get to the boardroom and grow the industry.

Owolabi pointed out that biases exist among women, a serious challenge that needs looking into.  She stated that women love to compete in the workplace while most men don’t. “Competition is common among women. In a place where we have five workers like two men and three women, the men usually don’t have that time to compete with themselves instead they focus on their work just to achieve their goals. But women want to know who comes out best not minding if the result was great or not,” she explained.

For Faniyi, some organisations and superiors discriminate against women by giving them fewer and less challenging tasks in the workplace. “Advertising is hard but it shouldn’t be made harder for women.” She added that biases against the ability of female professionals are rife: “Communication is a vital option to break that bias that women encounter in the workplace, there are some ways a woman can be tasked to do a job that can be communicated to her without using offensive words like ‘you are a girl so do this,” she stated. She further added that some women don’t like to mentor others and won’t want to share their success stories because they believe others should also learn through the tough way.

Ogunmekan on her part tasked women to do more networking with themselves where the opportunity raises. On mentorship, she said “Not every senior woman should be put in for mentorship because not everyone can do that.”

In her contribution, Bunmi Oke, CEO and Lead consultant of Ladybird Advertising encouraged younger advertising practitioners to be diligent to work and respect senior colleagues as well as avoid giving flimsy excuses, advising that the senior colleagues reciprocate the gesture.

Asides from the learning sessions, the event was fun-filled, with a question and answer competition along with a dancing competition. The winners got an all-expense-paid trip to the Women in Advertising Committee’s forthcoming event and the WISCA annual conference.

Women In Advertising is a platform of convergence where female advertising professionals network and engage in activities aimed at fostering the progress of its members and of the marketing communications industry at large. The body held its maiden edition of Women in Advertising and Communication Annual Cocktail on Thursday, 25th October 2018 at The Regent Luxury Suites, GRA, Ikeja.

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