Breaking the Bias on International Women’s Day
Originally published by Arabian Business.
“Within our core business activity, we are pleased to use the power, visibility, and reach of our media brands to foreground and amplify women’s stories and voices. We do so more consciously and extensively than usual this month, in recognition of IWD – which itself serves as an important reminder that we can more consistently and continually enhance the diversity of the voices and experiences to which we give a platform”
Today, and beyond, ITP Media Group joins the global community in celebrating International Women’s Day 2022. For over 100 years, people across the world have come together to mark IWD, celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements, while advocating for ever-greater gender equality.
Although important gains for women’s rights and equality have been made over that time, much work remains to achieve a world free of bias and discrimination, where difference is valued and celebrated.
At ITP Media Group, we are proud to be part of such a global movement, while recognizing that we can do even better within our own spheres of influence. So I want to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the ways that we are working to break the bias, now and into the future.
Within our core business activity, we are pleased to use the power, visibility and reach of our media brands to foreground and amplify women’s stories and voices.
We do so more consciously and extensively than usual this month, in recognition of IWD – which itself serves as an important reminder that we can more consistently and continually enhance the diversity of the voices and experiences to which we give a platform; more on this later.
With the launch of the first-ever Arabian Business KSA Women’s Excellence Awards on March 21, we commit to placing front and center the triumphs and accomplishments of the Kingdom’s female leaders. In doing so, we take pleasure in creating countless opportunities for others to connect with, learn from, and be inspired by the hard-earned wisdom and insights of these role models – both live, in person, and after the event.
After all, galvanizing our brands’ ability to educate and empower the next generation of leaders and citizens is one of many ways that the power of media can be put to good use for worthwhile ends, which is what we increasingly aspire to.
Other ITP Media Group brands, such as Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East, and Cosmopolitan Middle East are also proudly showcasing outstanding women and the ways in which their work and accomplishments are pushing boundaries and making a difference across all parts of society.
The recently launched Time Out Riyadh is marking its first IWD with numerous features celebrating Saudi and Middle Eastern women’s remarkable contributions to hospitality, art, culture, sport, environmental conservation, and more.
Notably, even those trade brands which represent traditionally male-dominated industries, such as Aviation Business Middle East, MEP Middle East, Construction Week Middle East and Logistics Middle East, are placing women’s career successes and contributions firmly in the limelight.
Such stories are particularly significant, since they represent women succeeding against the odds in contexts where they continue to be underrepresented and often undervalued. These women are not just smashing stereotypes, but also transforming their industries and in many cases our collective futures through their innovative and trailblazing work, for example in response to sustainability challenges and climate change.
Alongside actively engaging with and learning from the centering of women’s experience this month, this is also a time for reflection and reappraisal for many businesses, like ours, willing to acknowledge our stake in and responsibility for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
In recognition of this, in January 2021 ITP Media Group joined the UN Women’s Media Compact, a global partnership established in 2016 to advance women’s empowerment, and in October 2021 we signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, through which we committed to continuing to advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.
The rich breadth of activity and content prompted by IWD this month indicates that we are making good headway in a number of these principles, not least promoting equality through community initiatives and advocacy, and implementing enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
It will be important for us to build on this momentum, and to ensure that our content, platforms, and offerings are more consistently diverse, equitable, and inclusive than they have been in the past: not just when we officially mark IWD during the month of March, but throughout the year.
But we also acknowledge that we can continue to do better in other areas.
A particular challenge for ITP Media Group is that of establishing high-level corporate leadership for gender equality. We need to work harder to understand and overcome the structural, cultural and organisational barriers hindering gender balance, and indeed other forms of diversity, at senior leadership levels.
This is a work in progress, but one we are committed to tackling, and I look forward to seeing greater diversity, equity and inclusivity in our management teams in future.
Beginning to measure and publicly report on our progress to achieve gender equality, as the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles asks of us, is a step in the right direction.
As we confront the barriers to gender diversity, we are committed also to understanding how these intersect with other barriers experienced by people across our sector, not least in relation to racial, national, and cultural differences. There is room to learn and grow in this, and we are determined to do so, in the conviction that we all reap the benefits from more inclusive societies and more just futures.
For now, I want to end by taking this opportunity to publicly recognise and express my grateful appreciation for the invaluable work of all the highly talented women across ITP Media Group that contribute to making our business the success that it is, and that do so while challenging and breaking gender biases across society, each and every day.
I look forward to continuing to learn and work alongside you as we at ITP Media Group deepen our commitment to greater diversity and equality within our core business and organisational structure, and as we seek to better represent, recognise and reward the diverse leaders that will enrich our societies, sectors, and workplaces into the future.