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Opinion

#IWD2020: Making the Influencer Marketing Industry More Gender-Equal

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we speak with several women in the influencer space to get their thoughts on how we can make a more gender-equal environment and what they – or their respective workplaces – are doing about it.

This International Women’s Day 2020 is all about #EachforEqual. Ahead of Sunday, we asked several women in influencer marketing how collectively, as an industry, we can help forge a gender-equal environment so aspiring individuals can flourish whether that’s personally, in the workplace or online.  

emma harmanEmma Harman, managing director, Whalar EMEA

“Influencer marketing empowers female creativity in a way that simply didn’t exist 10 years ago. At Whalar, we unlock thousands of creative voices from around the world providing women of all ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities and socio-economic backgrounds with a platform to monetise their creativity without having to compromise their family life or core values. As a new disruptive industry, we have the opportunity to shake off the gender stereotyping that has plagued advertising’s past and create a work culture that values talent above all else.

The advertising industry should be providing opportunities for employees at all levels to have work-life balance and live happier and healthier lives. This comes in the form of an inclusive culture, personal development, flexible working conditions and fair pay – all things that we place a lot of value on at Whalar. I became a mum in 2017 and feel lucky that I’ve not had to make a choice between earning a living and having a family.”

hannah mondsHannah Monds, managing director, EMEA, Tagger

“The positive effect women have had on the influencer marketing industry as a whole is unmistakable. Beyond the impact that female influencers and users have had on the space, women in leadership roles are a significant driving force in furthering the credibility of the industry. As to helping cultivate a gender-equal environment, I believe one of the most effective actions industry leaders can take is simply to listen. Pay attention to the experiences, good and bad, of the women around you. Seek to emulate and improve on the good, and attempt to mitigate the bad. Often, it’s the small changes that can make the biggest difference. 

As to my personal experience, I’m privileged to work in an incredibly diverse, accepting, gender-blind environment at Tagger. As the company’s very first hire in EMEA into a senior role and an integral part of the management team, my gender has never been an issue and it’s allowed me to be a more effective and dedicated employee and leader because of that.”

lara pulseLara Daniel, founder and CEO of Pulse Group 

“Social media embodies the potential to connect with people outside of a person’s direct social circle, hence liberating them from the stereotypical gender-norms an individual might be surrounded within their day-to-day offline life. 

If the industry collectively shifts to focusing more on the individual strength and weaknesses than playing into generalised gender characteristics then we can truly foster gender equality. 

However, forging a gender-equal environment does not only come from the content provided but more so from the content consumed. Therefore, as a consumer, choose to confront yourself with content that inspires you, opens up your range of possibilities and does not limit you within stereotypical gender norms.”

Caroline Jackson headshotCaroline Jackson, digital marketing manager, LIKEtoKNOW.it.europe 

“In a career path that’s built on bringing your true authentic self to work, influencer as a channel has created a new sense of empowerment in the workspace. It comes from our freedom to express ideas, hopes, and emotions that deepens the connection to work in a way that can shift norms.

At rewardStyle, being part of #rSthefamily means we can truly bring our whole selves to partnerships we spearhead for our influencers, brands and consumers. We’re led by a female founder, a force that’s all about raising women up as entrepreneurs in an office that’s 89% female and empowers businesses of over 50,000 female influencers around the world so elevating women is entrenched in the rewardStyle DNA. Females dominate this number one marketing channel and are truly valued as change-makers and we’re all about championing them throughout their influencer journey.”

Jess Markwood The FifthJess Markwood, content and strategy director, The Fifth

“Aspiration is an interesting and potentially controversial word when it comes to influencers, especially when looking at it through the lens of promoting gender equality. In many ways, aspiration is precisely the reason many women feel almost overwhelming pressure to look, act and feel a certain way. This pressure manifests itself across every female generation on social media from school girls needing designer clothing, young women not wanting to post the same outfit twice and mums feeling they need to have a bright career, be a perfect mother and find time to do yoga all at once. 

Today, influencers have a duty of care to their audience; to promote a more realistic, honest, attainable and body-positive message. They should be using their influence for good. Women should be aspiring to be content above all else and using social media as a tool for self-fulfillment rather than pandering to the patriarchy through posts that focus on beauty and seek out surface-level approval. 

Conversely, we as agencies and brands, also have a duty of care to the talent we cast and the audiences we’re marketing to. Our agenda should empower talent to maintain their authenticity and integrity, our casting should be inclusive and we should constantly remain mindful that we all have a role to play in driving positive change forward.”

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset Processed with stampSanna Persson, marketing manager at Cure Media

“I’d say the influencer marketing industry is unique in the way it’s shaped and influenced by women all over the world. No matter who you are, you have a voice and a story to tell. However, even though women are definitely dominating the scene on the influencer side, I think it’s crucial that this is reflected also on the company side both at influencer marketing agencies and at companies running influencer marketing campaigns in-house. 

At Cure Media, we work actively to ensure that both genders are equally represented in leadership positions so that we can stay ahead of the game and fully understand our customers’ needs. Also, we always aim for an environment where women are encouraged to evolve, both in their personal and professional life.”

lisa tribeLisa Targett, UK general manager, TRIBE  

“With an endless supply of creatives, we can finally represent real people, real situations, and real demographics in advertising, which drives engagement up and costs down. Now we finally have the creative variability to match each targeted niche, courtesy of aspiring individuals that are our customers. 

We’ve always said, who better to create content that your customers love than your customers themselves and everyday people have both the tech and the talent to forge a visually representative future of gender in our advertising creative. 

The TRIBE UK team is predominantly young women and over half of the 65,000 TRIBE creators globally are women too. Men are twice as likely to be the CEO or MD in marketing and only 16% of women are creative directors according to Creative Equals, so we’re proud of the fact that we’re a female-led business, making waves in this young industry.”

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