Breakfast News – Why are we not gender equal in 2017?


The latest Breakfast News event took place last week, on the subject of ‘Why are we not gender equal in 2017?’, and saw a raft of speakers offer their insight to another full house of attendees.

The event, in association with the AGR and sponsored by Blackbridge, first saw a welcome by Simon Rogers, director at GTI Media. After a 60-second update by David Palmer, research manager at trendence, it was then on to Declan Curry and his regular economic update.

Curry reminded all present that it has been almost fifty years since legislation to ensure equal pay for men and women was introduced for comparable jobs.  The UK government estimates that the “gender pay gap” is at 18%, which is at its lowest level ever. Overall, women can expect to earn significantly less than men over their entire careers as a result of differences in caring responsibilities, clustering in low skilled and low paid work, the qualifications and skills women acquire, and outright discrimination.

Following on from Declan Curry was Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), who pointed out that gender hiring isn’t only a STEM and finance issue but is also prevalent across a number of sectors.

Next to take the microphone was Andrew Baird, director of consulting at Blackbridge Communications, to talk through the language that resonates differently with the various genders: 71 at the last count. Baird showed some examples of ads created for a fictional hotel firm, “Rowan Tree”, which had been gendered in their language.  Campaign A had “male” language and campaign B was written to appeal to “females”. The two creatives had been shown to a sample of people and without them being told the reason for the study, they produced some interesting findings:

  • 52% of the male audience, and 63% of the female audience thought that campaign B showed Rowan Tree as a place most likely to meet their long-term career aspirations
  • 57% of the male audience and 70% of the females surveyed thought that campaign B described a working culture that is closest to their ideal
  • 51% male and 63% female thought that campaign B made them more likely to want to work for “Rowan Tree”

In conclusion, the female gendered copy was more attractive to both women and men and as such could help to attract women without deterring male candidates.

The morning’s final speaker, Professor Germaine Greer, was asked “Is the workplace gender equal?”.

Greer compared biological essentialism and social constructionism, within the workplace. Suggesting corporations need to change the way they work, rather than adhering to the male mind-set and women adapting.

The next Breakfast News will take place on 23 November 2017.  You can view the full slides here.

The AGR’s conference takes place in Brighton 6th-8th June – places still available.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

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Marcus Body Date: Jun 1, 2017

On the Rowan Tree test: If the "female" language in the ads was more attractive to both men and women, then it wasn't "female" language at all, it was just better - or am I missing something? Looking at the slides, they appear to show that female respondents responded more emphatically to the language (positively and negatively), and male respondents were more neutral, but that both genders seem to agree on what's attractive and what isn't. So isn't the conclusion that the words deemed to be "male" are in fact just "not very good", as the men didn't like them either?

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Breakfast News – Why are we not gender equal in 2017?