Saatchi & Saatchi sexism row: Is equality "tiring and unfair" or a "business imperative"?

The chairman of advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts, has hit the headlines this week after being suspended from work for comments suggesting that the debate on gender equality is "all over" and that he does not think a lack of women in leadership roles "is a problem"

While 50% of staff in entry-level positions in advertising firms in the US are female, only 11% of the top jobs are filled by women

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The chairman of advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts, has hit the headlines this week after being suspended from work by parent company Publicis for comments suggesting that the debate on gender equality is "all over" and that he does not think a lack of women in leadership roles "is a problem". 

The spirited debate came to talkRADIO on Tuesday, when Jonny Gould and Ash invited author Lisen Stromberg onto the air to discuss Roberts' comments, and the challenges facing women in the workplace. 

"Isn't equality tiring and unfair?" asks Jonny at the start of the interview, describing himself as a meritocrat.

Stromberg, author of Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood without Killing Your Career, pointed out that, while 50% of staff in entry-level positions in advertising firms in the US are female, only 11% of the top jobs are filled by women. 

"What [Kevin Roberts] said spoke to a lack of understanding about the environment women in advertising are facing," she said.

"What he spoke to was an unconscious bias he's living in. 

"His conjecture spoke to this idea that women are happy at the mid-level and don't want to rise to the top, which is why there's no women there.

"We've proven again and again that is not the case." 

With Jonny sticking to his guns that success should be based on merit, not equality, and Lisen firm in her belief that "diversity and inclusion should be a business imperative", it makes for a fascinating discussion. 

Listen to the full interview above and let us know what YOU think 

Comments