Balance for Better
Contrary to the AEC industry average of 19.2% of female leaders, M+A is proud of our 50/50 divide of male and females on our firm’s principal panel. Diversity by all definition, including gender, is a key contributor to the overall success of a business, lending more perspectives and subsequently a competitive edge. As the social climate surrounding gender equality continues to unfold, female representation is quickly becoming a more widely recognized and appreciated characteristic.
Today’s emphasis on brand transparency has propelled organizations to bring gender equality and women’s empowerment the forefront of their agenda. The movement is hitting on all facets of the spectrum economically, politically and socially and has welcomed the attention of some of the world’s largest corporations and influencers.
Dove’s 2016 global beauty report found that women were losing faith in what they saw in ads – 77% of respondents believe all images in the media have been digitally altered. As a result, just 4% of women feel that they are beautiful. Dove aims to re-define confidence and beauty, vowing that all future advertisements would be free of retouching in 2019.
Proper management of change, stability and growth lie in the way of bridging the gap between men and women. As International Women’s Day is approaching on March 8th, M+A is preparing our firm’s support for the international initiative.
Balancing profitability and value creation
In this day and age, companies that lack gender diversity fail to stand out. Empowerment advocates are taking action to show the importance of increasing female branding. A 2018 Mckinsey study revealed that racial and gender diversity leads to an overall increased financial performance.
Singer, and fashion mogul, Rihanna has embodied that in her line of work. For New York Fashion Week, Rihanna’s female-led team selected women of every race and body type modeled her new lingerie clothing line. The message she sent through her brand strategy rippled waves through the fashion community and the national media.
Offsetting wage gap
Brands across the globe are stepping up in their own unique ways to eliminate the wage gap between men and women. Companies are addressing the issue by offering discounts to eliminate the gap entirely in their stores and are encouraging more brands to participate.
Energy bar company LUNA offered a 20% discount on all bars to women specifically to create a gender neutral utopia for their brand.
A slightly different approach was taken by a Melbourne-based vegan café, Handsome Her, by offering priority seating to women and charging men an additional 18% in their stores to offset the gap.
Both of these companies took their proceeds and donated them to local gender equality charities.
Collaboration over competition
Women and female empowerment advocates alike are pushing to instill safety and comfortability in all communities globally. These qualities are prerequisites give women the proper grounds to establish an authentic connection with their community.
Swedish founders Aleksandra Avli and Sofia Kacim of community-led organization, HER, focuses on empowering women and encourage industries to depend on one another for guidance, support, and friendship without jealousy or negativity.
International Women’s Day is a testament to the efforts of advocates that created one of the largest and impactful communities to date. Of 104 brands observed, 67% of members said they evaluate all advertising and marketing content for gender bias prior to publication.
Organizations lacking equality advocacy are a step behind their competitors, but only when it is done correctly. If done incorrectly, a marketing strategy done with the wrong intentions can come off as superficial.
A brand’s content must hold weight or else the message won’t crack the surface of the viewer’s perception on the brand - they must walk the walk before they talk the talk. By creating genuine, long-term initiatives, we are kindling a flame of inspiration for future action, and that is what this day is all about.
by COLIN BAILEY
Colin is a student at The Ohio State University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. As part of the coursework to obtain a minor in Professional Writing he is interning with M+A for the Spring 2019 semester.