Supporting Women’s Advancement on International Women’s Day

Today, individuals and organizations across the globe are participating in International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual celebration furthering women’s advancement that dates back to 1911. Elevate is proud to join these groups of advocates in promoting this year’s campaign theme, #balanceforbetter.

The campaign highlights the immense and often overlooked benefits of gender balance. Several studies have pointed to the benefits of gender parity. In fact, a “recent report from McKinsey Global Institute estimated that $12 trillion can be added to global growth by advancing gender equality.” There is even “a correlation between economic performance and gender parity” as well as a “correlation between financial performance and female leadership. A landmark and much-quoted report from Credit Suisse Research Institute found that companies with women directors outperformed those without women directors in average growth, price/book-value multiples, and return on equity.”

Balance in the workplace, in short, is good for business. In support of driving this initiative, the Elevate team ran a workshop this week in honor of IWD. We sought to challenge how we see gender and discover actions we can take to further the IWD mission.


First, We Got Inspired

To kick off the workshop, our team worked in pairs to match public figures, both male and female, to statements they had made surrounding equality and their approaches to life. From Nelson Mandela to Amal Clooney, we learned more about these leaders’ perspectives and personal advocacy. We asked several questions, including if we were more likely to admire someone who is male or female. We also discussed whether their job or the cause they aligned with had an impact in how we interpreted their quote.

During the activity, a question came up: why were we including male figures if IWD was in support of women? Our discussion then surrounded the importance of including men in the gender parity discussion, as IWD seeks to further progressive attitudes toward gender as a whole. To the point of this year’s campaign focus, IWD seeks balance.

The Elevate team discussed gender parity in honor of International Women's Day

How Compensation Fits In

A gender-related issue that is often discussed at length is the gender pay gap. While the numbers show that women’s median pay continues to be less than men’s, there are many factors that contribute to the disparity. According to the AAUW, “the gender pay gap is the result of many factors, including occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and direct pay discrimination. Additionally, such things as racial bias, disability, access to education, and age come into play. Consequently, different groups of women experience very different gaps in pay.”

We began this exercise by asking:

  • Do we pay more or less attention/assign more or less value to women depending on the industry they work in?
  • How is the gender gap and our views on gender impacted by our culture’s historically patriarchal attitudes?


We discussed the differences in net worth for each of the celebrity influencers we examined at the beginning of our exercise. One key takeaway surrounded the areas in which women were most rewarded – entertainment – whereas the compensation for men in technology surpassed everyone on the list.


Experiential Industry Trends Related to Gender

Finally, we addressed our own industry. Experiential marketing has a strong female presence, including at Elevate, where women represent more than 50% of our team. Our roundtable discussion included questions related to the following:

  • Despite a large female workforce, CEO positions in experiential are typically occupied by men. Why?
  • Have education pathways historically favored men? How? Are things changing?
  • Smaller PR / Marketing agencies tend to have a bigger female presence. Why?
  • How are we measuring progress in gender parity?
  • What can we do to contribute to progress in gender equality?


Understanding why gender parity is important and reflecting on our own attitudes allowed our team to not only challenge each other, but chart pathways forward. We made a commitment to continue to refine our own practices and seek opportunities for advocacy.

To learn more about International Women’s Day and discover ways your group or organization can take part, visit

Do you have a question or comment related to IWD or any other topic? Contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

Author: Nick Riggall


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