by MarkLives (@marklives) How are South African creative agencies faring in ensuring gender equity in the workplace? Are women enjoying the same opportunities and pay as their male colleagues — or are they still mired in gender bias, sexism and harassment? Without any real hard data available, Masego Motsogi of Grid Worldwide is the last key female executive to give us her assessment of the state of adland.

Masego Motsogi

Masego Motsogi (@masegom) is the managing director at Grid Worldwide and her experience in the industry spans just over 16 years. She has worked with clients across various industries and has a keen interest in youth and women development and advancement in the industry.

I could opt to lament the lack of female empowerment and/or the very poor understanding of women’s capabilities and how that is weighed unequally to what men add to the equation.

I could choose to cite the World Economic Forum (WEF) study that recognises that women are more productive than men, or the Association of Communication and Advertising (ACA) of South Africa’s 2018 salary survey which shows, in very many instances, that women are paid less than their male counterparts for the same designation.

I could choose to speak to the fact, whether it’s by nature or nurture, women express emotion differently and what may often be labeled as an emotional outburst by some may also be interpreted as an expression of determination or initiative.

I could also choose to call out the many times women have led thinking in many boardrooms but have had their ideas “mansplained” and, in turn, the same ideas ultimately being attributed to men.

Choose instead

I could to choose to. But I choose to celebrate women in our midst, instead.

The reality is that, for the foreseeable future, the world will remain patriarchal and, as such, these patterns of discrimination will remain firmly lodged in the way our society operates. I have no doubt that things will change in due course but, while that plays out, I choose to celebrate those who are making tracks in our industry.

I choose to celebrate women…

  • Women who stand steady and command their worlds and are forces to be reckoned with.
  • Women who have to choose between their passions and their responsibilities, and have to constantly answer questions about how they balance it all.
  • Women who find themselves having to raise their voice a little over the mens’, so as to be heard.
  • The women who are called “angry” and are said “to need a man” to dissipate their obstinate energy, the “bossy” ones and the “too-nice” ones.
  • I celebrate women who quietly but intentionally give wings to those that are too modest to rear their heads in this wild world which is quick to dismiss.
  • The mothers whose computer keyboards clink away in the middle of the night, and whose emails collide with those of other mothers as they prepare for another looming day that will require them to deliver their best selves.
  • Women who want better for themselves and those around them — the women who are on a quest to move mountains.
  • I celebrate women who find strength in knowing that theirs is a fight that may not be won now but who continue to push against the grain with the assertion that it will make it a little easier for young lionesses making their way.

These are many women who, in their own way in whichever space they find themselves, are making a difference in either how women are perceived through their own boldness or those who are directly advancing the female agenda in the industry.

Let’s face it: when one group is made weak by design, it is inevitable that the whole industry will suffer. The sensible thing to do is to ensure that all are treated equitably and are given the space to perform optimally, ultimately leading to a much-stronger industry — a more-diverse industry that could lead the discourse on how the world could work better.

And, so, with that, I hope that we all realise the strength that is woman, as I continue to celebrate women without whom the industry would be all the poorer. Hear, hear to these women!

See also


MarkLives logoLaunched in 2016, “The Big Q” is a regular column on MarkLives in which we ask key advertising and marketing industry execs for their thoughts on relevant issues facing the industry. If you’d like to be part of our pool of panellists, please contact editor Herman Manson via email (2mark at marklives dot com) or Twitter (@marklives). Suggestions for questions are also welcomed.

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