This was the debate chaired by senior editor of The Economist, Anne McElvoy to a panel that included, Miriam Gonzales, Founder of Inspiring Girls and partner of law firm Dechert LLP, Sue Ryan, head of training for The Mail Publishing Group, Charlotte Ross, deputy editor of The Evening Standard, Dazed weekend editor and gal-dem.com deputy editor Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, and editor emeritus of The Telegraph, Ian Macgregor.
Sponsored by Cision and organised by the London Press Club, the discussion took place at the Grand Stationers’ Hall in London.“Right now it’s a good time to be an ambitious young woman” said Ross.
But at the same time she argued that, “entry level positions are not the same as senior positions” and women have to ask much more often than men for promotions or salary increases and when they do, are more likely to be seen in a bad light.
As the only male on the panel, Macgregor echoed the need to “employ more women in senior roles.”
He said, “it’s time for men to speak up for women” especially considering the disproportionately low gender split in media caused by an “unconscious bias” which favours employing people who “look like you.”
Brinkhurst-Cuff exposed the “imposter syndrome” experienced by underrepresented groups in the media. She said that, “We need to recognise the duality of gender and race” especially considering her observation of the room in which the lack of women of colour present was “sad.”
For her, “it’s hard to work for a publication which attacks your identity” because discriminatory stories can prevent potential job applicants who may come from minority backgrounds.
Macgregor boasted how the Telegraph now implements a “blind CV approach” which masks the gender, race and socio-economic background of its applications for a fairer recruitment process.
The audience were also quick to call out the lack of flexible employment, as Gonzales highlighted that “women are expected to be primarily responsible of childcare and the home.”
The industry stunts women’s ability to climb the ‘career ladder’ with a number of barriers, including having a family and the lack of job shares or part-time opportunities made available.
Ross advised that “there is no reason why the industry can’t be more flexible” and Macgregor also suggested we should be putting deadlines on achieving equality in the workplace.
Ultimately the panel concluded that more work still needs to be done with Gonzales stating, “I would like to live in a country where no one says who wears the trousers in this relationship.”