Bang Digital attends Womenwill Lead event

Did you know that only 5% of Google Premier Partners in Australasia have female CEOs? This makes Bang Digital one of the few Google Premier Partners in the entire country to be led by a female Managing Director.

It’s gender disparities like this that came to light at last month’s Womenwill Lead event – a Google global initiative to create economic opportunity for women around the world so that they can grow and succeed at work.

Our two Senior Search Executives, Cassie and Joelle, attended the latest Lead event here in Perth and our Managing Director, Renae, sat on the panel discussion. Here’s what they had to say about the event and what they got out of the experience.

What is Womenwill and the Lead event?

Womenwill is a program to address the gender disparity issue through training and workshops that help women make the most of technology to build skills, get inspired and connect with each other. The aim is to create a space that sparks thoughtful discussion and an area to develop tactical strategies to respond to the issue of gender inequality attendees experience in their career.

A first of its kind training for both Google Partners and for Australia, Lead is a one-day only training program exclusively available for early career women from Premier Partner agencies; the highest tier of agency partnership Google has with digital marketing agencies.

Designed by women for women, the event helps women reach their career potential in the digital marketing and advertising sectors. With 35 agency women in attendance all from Premier Partner agencies, the course focuses on career development and cultivating female leadership within the agency landscape, in response to what is a highly male executive saturated industry.

The opportune setting to network, develop leadership skills and equip attendees with their long term leadership game plan, the training was led by facilitator, Sarah Lui, founder of The Dream Collective, with topics discussed including:

  • Experience of conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace
  • Opportunities and challenges for young women to succeed and advance into leadership positions
  • Work-life balance and how to lead a holistic life that is reflective of our purpose, passion and expertise

Cassie’s takeaways

The role unconscious bias plays in the workplace

The highlight of the event for me was a segment called “Gender Equality Basics: Unconscious and Internalised Bias”. I found it interesting that women even have biases about women. This is known as unconscious bias, which is an unaware and automatic assumption about a category of people based on their background.

Sarah asked the audience something along the lines of, “What do you think is the reason that women’s representation in leadership positions drops off the higher the level of leadership?” Most women answered “having children”, however the actual research says that it’s not children at all. There are 3 distinct reasons:

  1. Lack of role models
  2. Fear of not fitting into the male dominated culture
  3. Lack of support in career progression from their direct managers

It was interesting that a lot of women in the room felt that they have taken on “male” characteristics in certain situations such as in meetings with clients. Somen women dressed more masculine (i.e. pants and shirts) while others put on deeper voices.

A lot of women also felt that they weren’t taken seriously or were completely overlooked because they were women. This is not something that I haven’t personally felt, but nonetheless. On the back of this, when women were taken seriously by their male colleagues or clients by way of being more assertive and making their voice heard, people would say that they seemed aggressive.

Self-doubt when judging ability

Another fantastic segment was called “Managing & Leading”. Essentially, we undertook an exercise that proved the more diverse, the better. We had to rate how important certain items were on a list of 1-15 if we became stranded on a raft in the water. We did this individually then as a group of 4.

Across the board, individually most of us would have died by the time rescue came around. However, the likelihood was much higher based on the decisions made as a group. Women a plagued with self-doubt, as are men but to a lower degree.

A great example given to us is that a woman applies for a job when she has 90% of the requirements, but a man applies when he has 60%. This is partly due to the Performance Evaluation bias – women are judged on their track record while men are judged on their potential – an inequality issue that needs to be addressed.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and if there’s one statement from Sarah that I will takeaway as a young career woman it would be “hold courageous conversion” around all things gender. Bring awareness to situations where gender bias is occurring and don’t be afraid to speak up for women. Speaking up is what brings about shifts in people’s beliefs and attitudes, which then changes actions.

I feel enormous levels of gratitude towards working for an agency like Bang, where I am not defined by my gender. It’s a fantastic feeling to work with a smart, hard working, open minded and respectful team of men and women everyday.

Joelle’s takeaways

Eye opening stats & expert panel insights

I found the expert panel extremely insightful, especially when discussing major disparities between males and females in regards to confidence in ability. They spoke about how decision makers and managers like their staff to come prepared and ready to negotiate in discussions around wage and non-monetary benefits.

The statistics presented around this were pretty eye-opening to the difference in self-doubt between men and women in the workplace. Only 6% of women negotiated their wage at their first job, compared to over 60% of men in the same position. This is a huge difference and just goes to show the self-doubt women face every day in the workplace based on both conscious and unconscious biases.

After we were shocked by the numbers, we were empowered with tools to negotiate our salaries and have tougher conversations (i.e. remove the ‘I’). Rather than saying “I deserve a pay increase”, come at the conversation from the perspective of “someone in ABC role with DEFG experience, contributing HIJK results to the business would be on a salary of LMNOP”.

Women also shared their experiences related to sexim, misogyny and the pay gap in their careers (did you know that the gender age gap has only improved 1% over the last 30-odd years?). It made me feel extremely grateful to be working for such an amazing, transparent organisation like Bang where this isn’t an issue internally and if it were ever to come from an external source, we would be fully supported in resolving the situation.

Keep up-to-date with all the exciting industry events and initiatives the Bang team partake in on our social media stream.