Madeleine Albright’s line “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” definitely inspired Dentsu Jayme Syfu Manila’s different campaign for women’s month.
In a world where the clamor for gender equality, equal pay, and the cry against workplace abuse have been louder than ever, this group of women decided to use solidarity as a way to cope, to fight and to rise to succeed.
Why the focus on the workplace? This is where discrimination, politics and ruthless competition happen. Following Susan Fowler’s strange year with Uber, Saatchi’s ex-Chairman Kevin Roberts’ infamous line on his belief that women don’t have vertical ambitions, it is indeed difficult for women to get ahead in the corporate world. But while this is all true, the eye-opening insight that more women are discovering for years now is that one tough barrier to success is something you would least suspect: other women. In some workplaces, women put down other women. And that is the painful fact.
Not dissimilar to movies showing “queen bees” lording it over, many women have shared stories where other women were not at all very helpful. For them, it is painful when body shaming, mean insults, discrimination against motherhood, malicious character assassinations, and even verbal abuse come from women.
Chairmom and Chief Creative Officer Merlee Jayme speaks out on this issue, “I personally had the painful experience when I was a fresh grad in the industry and a tough female Creative director kept on killing my ideas. Being young then, I just kept on working. Then one day, I just saw my idea produced, airing on TV with her getting all the credits for it. This gave me a different trauma so early in my career. Since then, I was pretty conscious in how women should be supporting each other. One time, I even confronted a client when I found out how she mistreated my fellow officemates. I figured, if we want more women to lead and succeed in this world, we’d better create a strong support group among ourselves.”
At work, women face so many challenges. From being pressured to have kids, to embracing their sexuality, to understanding depression, or to simply dressing and speaking right. This is one reason why the workforce participation of women has declined. In advertising alone, women tend to leave when they decide to start a family. However, with more than 85% of purchasing decisions made by women, there is a clamor from marketers to increase more female creative talent to work on their brands.
“We’re all guilty of this…advertising is full razor-sharp minds who can cut you in half…but I think with this initiative, people, myself included, have become more mindful. It’s still a constant struggle of course, but there has been an obvious shift in mindset in our agency… We all have cliques but I find people, and not just the women, being more open and accommodating lately”, Dentsu Jayme Syfu Creative Director Biba Cabuquit adds. Biba was one of the few women chosen by The Cannes Lions “See it, Be it” initiative to further women’s careers in the creative industry, encouraging them to stay in the industry.
The #sistergood campaign showed the women of Dentsu Jayme Syfu and their different ways of supporting each other with the challenges they meet every day. By sticking their necks out for each other, they know fully well that this is the true meaning of womenpower.
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