Celebrating Women Leaders in Marketing
Written by: Sahil Dhaliwal
As many turned to social media to celebrate International Women’s Day last week, we are continuing to highlight women’s accomplishments and historical achievements this March as we honor Women’s History Month.
Women’s History Month — all started with a day.
The first International Women’s Day started in Manhattan on February 28th, 1909, organized by suffragists and members of the Socialist Party. Though the holiday wasn’t widely recognized in the US until much later due to its socialist roots, it took off in Europe the very next year. Clara Zetkin, a German women’s rights advocate, brought up an official declaration of International Women’s Day at the 1910 International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen and the holiday was formally honored as March 8th, 1911. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the US and the United Nations bestowed the international holiday on March 8th.
The UN General Assembly declared the purpose of the holiday as twofold: first, to “recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women” and secondly, to “acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security”.
How Women’s Day became Women’s Week.
In 1978, the Education Task Force in Sonoma County, California, felt there was insufficient information being taught on women’s history in public and grade school curriculums, and so expanded the day into Women’s History Week. This week was filled with presentations, an essay contest and even a parade, dedicated to honoring women’s contributions and achievements historically and socially.
Finally – Women’s History Month.
As the week-long observance took wind and more organizations began participating, the movement eventually received mainstream and political attention. As President Jimmy Carter issued his presidential proclamation in 1980 that made National Women’s History Week official, many more communities, school districts and organizations began participating. By 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month.
Why It Matters
Nationally observing Women’s History Month every year allows us to discuss the incredible legacy of the women that came before us and how their sacrifices and efforts lend us the privileges and rights women are afforded today. So often the struggle and truth of marginalized communities’ stories go overlooked in history classes and therefore risk becoming invisible. Acknowledging our history is a critical step in understanding our present: gender disparities negatively impact women across many industries even today – particularly made apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic (though this may not reflect every woman’s reality, it is a persistent struggle for many). Additionally, it’s imperative to acknowledge intersectionality in conversations about women’s issues and avoid discourse and statistics that aren’t inclusive of all women.
This Women’s History Month, we wanted to acknowledge the disparities in our own industry. According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), analysis indicates that though women overwhelmingly make up the marketing workforce, they make up less than half of leadership roles and CMOs. The study also relays that the industry “performs even more poorly when stepping beyond gender representation to take into account factors like race, as just 13% of marketing leaders are people of color.”
As we acknowledge these difficult truths, we want to take the time to highlight just a few of the many dedicated and successful women leaders in marketing today:
Cheryl McCants – CEO
McCants founded Impact Consulting Enterprises in 1989, boasting over 25 years of marketing excellence. With prior experience working at top companies like Nike, AT&T and Girl Scouts of USA, not to mention her 2017 Top Woman in Public Relations title, McCants is clearly a marketing powerhouse.
Maggie Chan Jones – CEO
Jones is currently the founder of Tenshey, Inc., through which she promotes gender diversity through executive coaching. Prior to her startup, Jones was the first woman to become CMO at SAP, landed on Forbes Most Influential CMO’s list, and is an active advocate for women in leadership.
Dara Treseder – CMO
Treseder currently runs global marketing and communications at Peloton. A veteran CMO, Treseder’s resume is impressive, having previously led marketing and growth efforts at giant companies like Apple and Goldman Sachs. Not only did she get inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement, but Treseder also made Forbes 2020 List as one of the most influential CMO’s in the world.
Bozoma Saint John – CMO
Recently appointed CMO at Netflix, Saint John is a champion of diversity in business. Getting her roots in marketing from Spike Lee’s ad agency, Spike DDB, Saint John has since become quite the force in marketing, landing on Forbes 2018 Most Influential CMOs list, and earning recognition in AdWeek as one of the most exciting personalities in advertising.
Julia Goldin, CMO/EVP
As Chief Product & Marketing Officer, as well as Executive Vice President, of Lego, Goldin has made herself known as a leading force in the marketing industry. She launched the #LetsBuildTogether initiative in response to the global pandemic to promote connection amongst children facing shelter-in-place-related isolation. Prior to Lego, Goldin held CMO positions at other well-known companies like Revlon and her impressive 13-year career at Coca-Cola.
Slowly but surely, our society is growing more informed and hopefully more united in the fight for gender equality. As we embark on this Women’s History Month (& the rest of the year), all of us at Kworq proudly honor this observance and actively engage in our social responsibility to promote equity in the workplace.
Happy Women’s History Month.
Also published on Medium.