March 8th is International Women’s Day.

It’s a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

So the women of Genesis discussed who and what they think deserves to be celebrated and what needs to be addressed in our industry.

Q1: Which women inspire you and why?

Dawn McCord, Business Development Director: “I am fortunate to have been raised by a loving yet strong mother (supported by my grandmother), they have both loved me no matter what and taught me resilience.”

Ruth Laverty, Senior Digital Creative: “My sister and my friend who are female business owners. I admire them for having the ‘balls’ to go for it”

Helen Blakley, Deputy Managing Director: “My mum. In her 40s, she returned to academia to complete qualifications and upskill in her nursing role – not an easy task with 4 children and working night-duty at the weekends but demonstrated to me the importance of having a determined desire for self-development and ability to achieve your goals.”

Susan Greer, Digital Media Executive: “The strong women in my family who have always been matriarchal figures, including my granny who lived to 101 years old and had a smile on her face until the very end.”

Q2: What’s the best thing about being a woman in advertising in 2022?

Cora Degan, Digital Account Director: “The freedom to dress down! I’ve always been a little jealous of men who can have five suits in the same design and two pairs of flat shoes and just wear them on repeat. Since the pandemic and subsequent move to more casual work attire outside of formal meetings, it’s much easier to manage my work wardrobe.”

Natalie Glover, Account Manager: “I am new to the world of advertising, but in this short time I feel surrounded by like-minded and successful women. I am excited to work in an environment where I see women help and support each other.”

Susan: “Being surrounded by like-minded women who are full of knowledge, creativity, and ambition. As well as this, we can introduce new ways of thinking and ideas for change both inside and outside the industry.”

Q3: How can the industry do more for women?

Cora: “I’d love to see a greater range of female thought-leaders in the industry – working mums, women without kids, mothers whose partners take the lead with the kids and home, etc.”

Susan: “Reduce the stigma surrounding career-driven women and that it’s okay not to follow the ‘norm’. The industry should also support women in terms of their personal life as it is fact that women face more in terms of their health & wellness than men”

Dawn: “We are lucky at Genesis as we have many talented females employed in the agency. The senior management team has more women than men. More women getting access to senior roles within the industry encourages other women to pursue leadership opportunities if that’s what they’re after.”

Q4: Do you think the industry has improved for women in recent years?

Helen: “Yes, having started in the industry in the late 1990s to present day, I have seen a marked shift in the percentage of females in leadership and management roles within the industry.”

Ruth: “There are more women in senior positions which is great to see, but still a lot of room for improvement. In 2020, 53% of all graphic designers were women, but only 11% of creative directors were. Having said that, I think Genesis is unique in the number of senior positions held by women across all departments, which is great.”

Natalie: “I think that the industry has changed a lot, especially in the last 10 years. It’s great to see more women in senior positions. There is still a way to go but it’s going in the right direction.”

Q5: How important is it to see female leaders in this industry/company and why?

Ruth: “So important. Women need to see that senior positions are achievable for them. It’s also great to have female role models to look up to.”

Dawn: “Very important, it shows younger women that anything is possible if you work hard and put your mind to it.”

Cora: “You can’t be what you can’t see. It’s important to have female leaders to inspire confidence in less experienced women in the organisation. In fact, it’s important to have multiple female leaders/directors/board members to show younger women that there are roles there for them to grow into; that it’s not all the women in the organisation competing for one token place on the board.”

Q6: How important is it to have female mentors in the workplace?

Susan: “It’s important to have female mentors in the workplace as it’s just human biology/psychology that women understand women better than men. However, it is good to have perspectives from both parties.”

Helen: “Especially for the younger generation, the power of role models cannot be overlooked. Regardless of a person’s gender, all people need someone who will guide them to progress in their careers. It works best when you have a mentor who can really understand how you tick and can also challenge you to grow & be your best by pushing you out of your comfort zone.”

Natalie: “Having female mentors in work that you can learn from can provide a sense of motivation and inspiration that can help you in achieving your goals.”

Q7: What advice would you give to young women entering our industry?

Dawn: “Work hard, have integrity, and know your worth.”

Ruth: “There is no position in this industry you can’t reach with talent and hard work.”

Natalie: “Find an agency that is supportive, encouraging and you can grow in. You will want to learn as much as you can, and in doing so you want to be surrounded by good people who want to see you succeed. You need be surrounded by great people, especially when you have a tough day.”

Q8: What’s one simple thing people could do to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Helen: “Reflect and think about a female who has inspired you in your personal or professional life and how you can put this into practice.”

Cora: “Grab a book by a female author! For an industry read, try “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” (2014) by Ann Handley, or for a very funny take on how to support the women in your life try “The Guilty Feminist” (2020) by Deborah Frances-White.”

Susan: “Celebrate yourself, where you’ve come from, where you are now and where you want to be.”