Should we have an issue with women’s issues?

October 1, 2019

Asks Julie Drummond, CEO of Newcastle creative agency Drummond Central

What could any woman possibly have against the women’s issue of North East Times? Do I not want women to be recognised and celebrated for the amazing things we’re achieving? Of course, I do. But my issue is this: why does it have to happen in a special, women-only edition?

Annual ‘one-for-the-ladies’ publications will always give the impression that the other 11 issues have a blokey bias.

As a long-time reader of the magazine, I know this isn’t the case at all. In fact, I’d say the North East Times is a cool publication that reports on our region in a fair, diverse and progressive way.

As a woman in business, I’m acutely aware of issues around equality. The average pay gap across the UK is still a shameful 18 per cent. In my own industry, only 32.7 per cent of board members are women, even though 52.2 per cent of people in the industry are women.

It’s clear we still have a long way to go. And that’s precisely why we need to find a quicker way to get there.

My worry is that as long as gender distinctions and concessions continue to be made, women will never be seen as equals. Not now, not in 50 years’ time. And that’s a disturbing thought.

It doesn’t mean that men and women should all merge into a single, unified persona. Our differences should be celebrated.

But let’s also celebrate the qualities we share; like intelligence, determination, creativity and courage.

I want myself and my business to be recognised on merit and acknowledged through mainstream channels. If I discovered that we’d been given special treatment or an advantage, simply because I don’t have a penis, any sense of achievement would be instantly invalidated.

True equality means being able to stand on the same stage as men, in front of the same audience; not starring in our own mini production at a pink, pop-up theatre down the road.

We don’t need head starts or shortcuts, we need to be given the same opportunities, and afforded the same courtesies and privileges as everyone else.

I’ve been in meetings where people assumed that I would be pouring the drinks or taking notes because I’m the woman in the room. They soon realise I have much more to offer than a custard cream. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above making a brew for my colleagues or clients, but neither should anyone else.

Currently, 43 per cent of our people at Drummond Central are women. So does this mean I’m consciously trying to get that number to 50 per cent? No. Instead I focus on making sure we have an environment where people can succeed, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality.

To be more inclusive, diverse and representative of our society and culture, we need to encourage people from all walks of life into our businesses and show them that if they are talented enough, and work hard, they will be recognised and rewarded fairly and equally. Is that really so much to ask?

Equality is a huge issue. Certainly bigger than one magazine can do justice to. So I’d love to see the debate continue across other editions of North East Times. There’s a lot more to say on the subject.

Drummond Central
Drummond Central is an award-winning creative and digital marketing agency that helps ambitious businesses drive revenue and growth.

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