<This is a re-post from my article on Linkedin: Kristin_Luck_WIRe >
1. WIRe: Women in Research. Kristin, what is it and why did you set it up?
I originally launched Women in Research (WIRe) as a way for women in the industry to informally meet and collaborate. I noticed that in the early years of my career, I worked almost exclusively with women. As I progressed into more senior management positions, I now work almost exclusively with men. That’s a real issue since it means there’s a lack of women’s voices, ideas and contributions in senior management which will ultimately impact the future of our industry. There are 3.4 billion females in the world and women now outnumber men in most of the developed world according to Geohive. Women are exerting more and more influence over brand decisions, even over products that are traditionally seen as the domain of men. In fact, women make or are actively engaged in 85% of purchases. It is unlikely that we will see much change in how we market brands to women if we don’t see bigger changes in who is driving that marketing (and that includes who is driving the research).
Fewer than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs and a mere 8% of the world’s CMOs are women. Just as concerning, the creative minds in advertising agencies are overwhelmingly male. 97% of agency creative director positions are held by men. Any researcher can see, from these statistics alone, that brands, agencies and research suppliers are missing out when women don’t have a seat at the table.
Since its inception in 2007, WIRe’s evolved to a network of over 2,000 women around the globe, focused on career development, education and one to one mentoring – it’s really about creating more opportunities for women to step into senior management roles and have an equal voice in marketing research, which is paramount to brand success, and the future of our industry.
2. What has been the positive impact of WIRe, thus far?
WIRe is actively collaborating with industry event organizers and other media outlets to ensure better representation of women both on stage and in print. In August, ESOMAR invited WIRe to guest edit RW Connect, and we had some really amazing contributions from many of the leading female voices in marketing and research today.
In 2012 we launched the industry’s only one-to-one mentoring program for women in research and we are just starting to see the positive impact of that program – from promotions to speaking invitations, the next generation of female researchers is really starting to make their mark.
More than anything I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with WIRe. Whether it’s getting more female speakers on stage or conducting research on the state of women in our industry, WIRe has called attention to the lack of diversity in senior management roles. Awareness creates opportunities for change.
3. You’ve been working on promoting diversity in research. Is that one of the reasons why you’re standing for the ESOMAR council?
Greater diversity cultivates different perspectives and new ways of thinking. Given our quickly evolving industry, we need a council that represents the ESOMAR of the future- and that means a Council that includes more women (who make up well over half our industry, yet held only one council seat in 2013/2014) and young researchers, as well as members from the US and emerging markets that have not been well represented in the past, where ESOMAR has the greatest opportunities for growth.
As a frequent speaker at ESOMAR events, an active blogger for RW Connect and a frequent globetrotter and technology/new methods evangelist, I’m confident that I can make a real, actionable, impact on the future of ESOMAR.
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More information about WIRe @ www.womeninresearch.com
(Kristin is running for the Council of ESOMAR and yours truly is running for the post of the President of ESOMAR!).
More about Kristin Luck: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinluck