On the eve of International Women’s Day, Lets reflect

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People who know me well, know that I am passionate about the role women play in business. My passion for what I do and determination about making a difference stems from before beginning my career. It might have to do with the fact I went to an all girl’s high school where our motto was, ‘Facta non Verba’; deeds not words, and where it was drummed in that women can succeed and make a positive difference in the community and in business.

It might also have to do that I have an inspiring and strong mother who raised me to believe in myself, my abilities and that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything.

So, I started my career thinking that women can change the world! Needless to say, I was deeply disappointed to learn that it wasn’t all hunky dory for women in the workplace. One of my first jobs was for a Japanese paralegal company. Despite speaking Japanese and having entered the workplace with sound work experience, I was told very clearly that my role was making tea and that is all it would ever be! True story…

A couple of years later, I then realised that I had chosen a career that was still largely undervalued in workplaces – marketing is all about the right giveaways at the trade show, right? In some of my roles, I was not only fighting the gender battle, but also the battle of educating people about marketing (a battle that is still ongoing and experienced by many marketers!).

From being called Miss Marketing (I don’t think my male colleagues in marketing where ever referred to as Mr Marketing!), to being at the centre of a bet by some senior male colleagues about whether or not I would return to my corporate marketing job after my maternity leave, I have experienced through my career some of the challenges that still exist in the workplace for women. And yes, time and time again, I come across people not taking working mothers with a young family seriously. Did someone forget to tell me that as soon as you become a mother you are no longer a committed or dedicated worker as you have a family? Ooh, how my blood boils at times.

To top things off, only today I read an article about the significant pay differences still experienced between men and women in similar roles.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a wounded female marketer! My point, however is that there is still a long way to go for women in the workplace and that is why it is so important for women to support one another.

I have never been happier since starting Manning & Co. I love the culture that we have created here, as it is not one that I personally have ever experienced working for someone else. I encourage the team to be challenged, to be creative, to be innovative, to do well – and have fun at the same time.

So on the eve of International Women’s Day, thank you to my M&C team for your dedication, hard-work and commitment! And to Brent, don’t forget to say happy International Women’s Day to your mum and girlfriend tomorrow!

And to all of the inspiring women out there who juggle work and a family, you deserve a gold star! It should not be under-estimated the pressure and workload of the modern working mother. There are many women out there who work around the clock so they can be there for their children while managing a busy career. It is not easy, so it is even more critical to support each other.

Gemma Manning