Aditi Shrivastava, Co-Founder, Pocket Aces discusses equality for women in the Advertising, Marketing & Media industry of India.
On the occasion of International Women's Day 2020, Social Samosa hosted a series of live sessions with inspirational women in the industry. One such woman is Aditi Shrivastava, the Co-Founder of Pocket Aces, the company that owns media channels such as FilterCopy, Dice Media, Gobble, and Loco.
Aditi Shrivastava, Co-Founder, Pocket Aces discussed this year's Women's Day theme - #EachForEqual and shared tips on networking for women, Pay-Gap, myths in the media industry that are dying, some inside dope for the next season of Little Things and more interesting subjects.
#EachForEqual in the Indian context
Aditi shares the most cliched statement that will be used today is "Every day is Women's Day". But she believes in the Indian context we are a little far from celebrating women every day and we need to start it at our home and our workplace. We need to acknowledge our moms, peers and focus on the way we bring up our men and the way we sensitize our partners. She reckons this is required on a daily basis in the Indian context. "We can get more ahead if we start at home and workplaces."
Transfering the theme to tangible results
We see a lot of companies have women at beginner levels, but the number of women is fewer in middle and top management. Aditi thinks we need to start the encouragement of women at lower levels. "Girls are a lot less confident than boys, and need extra support from other women in the company, to speak their mind, market themselves better, and to grow." Aditi shares a few ways we can transfer the theme of equality to become tangible:
- Things need to start at a lower level.
- We need to have more role models in the top and middle management.
- Men need to be sensitized.
Role models in top & middle management make it easier for younger girls to know they can grow. Sensitized men can provide women with the flexibility they need in a workplace, and give women the time they require for them to get over their hesitation. "Equality is not that hard to implement on a daily basis, and that's how it can translate to tangible results".
Placeholder presence of Women's Day content
Aditi asserts yes, we see a lot of activities right before or around women's day, but creators are getting more conscious about it. She shares at FilterCopy and Dice Media, such content is pushed throughout the year. Content that says fair skin bias is a bad thing, singlehood is okay, divorce is okay, it's okay to make a choice to have a kid.
"From a brand's perspective, they want to capitalize this day, but many brands are doing it through and through, it is happening but needs to happen more".
Flexibility at work is important. Are Indian companies changing and accepting facts?
Flexibility at work is very important, when asked whether Indian companies are changing and accepting facts, Aditi states, "It is changing, slowly but surely". Although she shares women tend to be the primary caregivers and a lot of companies have flexible hours but "As women, we feel bad to leverage policies".
She says women tend to think 'the guy sitting next to me will judge me if I go home early' and 'they will judge me if I take time off around my periods'. Aditi asserts, if people are judging you in the short term, they need to be sensitized, "We all have guy friends, tell them it's okay for a woman to use these flexibilities. Women need to be more confident about using these flexibilities".
Aditi mentions, "If you have a good gender-ratio in your creative team it will happen naturally, you don't need to force it or overthink it. She further shares, across the company they have over 200 people and 35-40% are women, and in leadership teams they have 50% of women, over 50% of the writers are female and quite a few directors are women too. "
"We never have five men sitting in the room and thinking how would a woman react to this, there is always a woman in the room."
"The world is supposed to be equal, and if your creative world is balanced, then you will neither take too many male queues or female queues. You will just be progressive".
She further adds, "For advertisers, it's a little trickier because they get special budgets around this time, so I think putting the business lens to it is important as well, you have to understand other people's constraints too".
She asserts TV has not done the biggest justice in terms of representation of women, "We are still portrayed as naagins and dayans and teaming against other women, but it is changing with the digital content. With these changes, some of the old school sayings will soon become myths hopefully".
Aditi states, "In the media ecosystem pay-gap does exist, but it's not as blatant. They will probably promote a man faster or give him a better bonus, but they won't pay a woman less and a man more for being in the same position".
So what can we do about this? She says, "I think we have to start at home, at our companies it's merit-based and there are new-age companies whose founders we know so we try to make sure they don't do it as well". Pay-Gap does exist but in subtle ways but we need to show them our merit.
"Raise your voice, sirf blone se nahi hoga, they don't want to lose you, so they'll pay you accordingly and promote you accordingly but you need to prove that you're indispensable".
Networking For Women
Women in the industry believe they have lesser opportunities to network but Aditi believes there are a lot of networking opportunities but there are two problems:
- Women are shy about walking up to someone they don't know and start conversing.
- A lot of networking opportunities happen after work hours, but women have responsibilities and priorities to take care of.
She says there are two reasons for Boys' Club: boys come out and girls don't. She adds women can get over this by getting stuff going within work hours and by sensitizing people at home that once in while you will have to wine and dine with clients.
Changes needed in the workplace
Aditi reckons, "I would like to see young girls raise their voices. Half the battle can be won with our efforts and the other half will be won after people see the change in our behavior".
How did Aditi reach where she is today(in her own words)
Aditi Shrivastava has come a long way. So how did she reach here?
I've been lucky.
I speak my mind.
I don't care about people judging me.
"Our dean once told us you can do anything, so that is my mantra, I can do anything".
Inside dope on the next season of Little Things: "We will see Dhruv and Kavya go to another country".