Cannes joins Aussies in 50:50 gender target

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SYDNEY, Wednesday: Not everybody across the ditch is thrilled by the announcement that WPP AUNZ has unveiled a target of 50:50 gender distribution across senior leadership positions to be reached by 2021.

The proposal has been widely praised by the Aussies. Contrary views also received wide exposure, with many saying it did not go far enough – summed up by one journo who wrote: “Ah, so, what happened to the best person for the job?

The project will sit alongside a range of other diversity initiatives recently installed at WPP including the Walk the Talk programme for women and a paid parental leave scheme.

Reaction in NZ to the project has so far been muted – mainly because the release as yet to be distributed in NZ.

In the statement, WPP AUNZ interim ceo John Steedman said: “We are absolutely committed to building a more inclusive and diverse group of companies, and this latest initiative is a fundamental step to ensure that we have the depth and breadth of thinking that we need as our industry continues to transform.

“I wanted gender equality. Not tokenism.”

“Diversity is not a women’s issue, it is a business imperative. It demands all of us to be smarter and more open and optimistic about our future. Any leader appointment is based on ability; however, we will ensure that we have a strong pipeline of diverse candidates when filling these senior roles.

“Whilst diversity is so much more than gender, we do have a gender imbalance at the senior levels with 39% of the senior roles currently being held by women across WPP AUNZ. We are committed to changing gender imbalance with this target.”

WPP agencies in Australasia include Colmar Brunton, Geometry, GroupM, Designworks, Assignment, Ikon, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson.

Cannes, too
Coinciding with the WPP release, the Cannes Lions announced it would expand jury guidelines to champion equal representation and equality. The updated guidelines urges jury members to consider whether the work perpetuates negative stereotypes and inequalities.

Cannes VP Louise Benson said (also via a statement): “These guidelines echo and enhance our other initiatives that address gender imbalance and inequity including See It Be It, The Female Founders Start-Up Academy and Glass: The Lion for Change.”

The 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will take place from 17-21 June.

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