(Originally published Feb. 7 on LinkedIn)
History makers, difference makers, and changeMAKERS took center stage at the 2018 MAKERS Conference for gender equality.
We heard from women whose voices haven't been heard before. They shared the untold stories of women throughout history who've made significant differences in technology, politics, pay equity and more.
We've come a long way, but there are still changes that must be made.
Look around. There's a lack of gender equality in the images we see. Women and girls are stereotyped — or they are missing entirely. This inequality is in the television we consume, the movies we watch and the advertisements we see.
We've learned from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that 85 percent of women feel media and culture are blind to how much they stereotype women, and from the Association of National Advertisers that 55 percent of women and men believe women are portrayed negatively in media.
As one of the largest U.S. advertisers, at AT&T, we know this is something we can and must change.
Today, there's a lot of talk about the problem … and that's a good thing. But what we need more than talk is action.
The onus is on each of us – especially marketers, advertisers, writers and producers – to examine how we contribute to the issue, and what's in our power to change.
This was visible today at the MAKERS conference, which I was proud to attend with fellow AT&T leaders Corey Anthony, Anne Chow, Marachel Knight and Joan Marsh.
Thirty-three of us on the MAKERS' board of directors raised our voices. We pledged to do what's in our power to make a difference.
As Chief Brand Officer of AT&T, and a board member of the Association of National Advertisers, I pledged we will improve the portrayal of women in our ads by 20 percent by the end of this year. This accelerates the ANA industry initiative #SeeHer by two years.
How will we measure success?
We've taken a leadership role in the ANA's #SeeHer campaign. It drives measurable improvement in how the media portrays girls and women, using the metric of Gender Equality Measures, or GEM scores. These scores measure how women and girls are depicted respectfully, appropriately, authentically and positively.
AT&T is big company, with many different segments and advertising teams. We were the first company to add GEM scores to all our TV copy tests last year – more than 65 to date. It's a huge step. As a company with a data-driven approach to advertising, seeing the benefits that come with higher GEM scores will drive change.
It's not only a moral imperative, it's a business imperative. We discovered that ads with higher GEM scores are driving better business outcomes — better brand and message recall, brand reputation, and consideration.
Now we've put a stake in the ground: 20 percent higher GEM scores by the end of 2018.
It's an exhilarating challenge. I'm proud to be part of a company — and a group of changeMAKERS — who are willing to #RaiseYourVoice and drive real change.
How will you #RaiseYourVoice?