To shed some light on the state of women in the business, in mid-March we gathered an accomplished group of executives and journalists, all trailblazers in their own right, for a roundtable discussion at the Hearst Tower in midtown New York.Joining me, Adweek's managing editor, were Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles; Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of digital marketing agency 360i; Nadja Bellan-White, senior partner and managing director of Ogilvy & Mather; Nancy Reyes, managing director of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, New York; and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe.
And it almost seems—maybe because of Sheryl Sandberg—there's something in the air right now.his December give yourself with the best gift you could ever give.Or if you are contemplating on what to give for this Christmas to your loved one, why don't you consider giving yourself fun and entertainment through the latest i Wash: Magic Tricks & Gags for your i Phone and i Pod touch.You would enjoy like the others who have already tried it.In this modern world of modern technology, the "in" thing is this for your electronic gadget.Is there something like a cool factor about being empowered in the workplace?
Joanna Coles: Well, I think it's more than a cool factor.
I mean, it's what's happening in the culture—and it's about damn time it's happening in the culture.
Two years ago, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote a provocative essay in The Atlantic called "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." The piece, which sparked a national debate about the impossibilities of work-life balance, stressed that unless a profound change in mind-set occurred at the highest levels of business and government, professional women are basically screwed. Women account for just 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, while 3 percent of executive creative directors at ad agencies are female. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stormed the zeitgeist with her rallying cry to "lean in," producing a book on how to succeed in a high-powered job as well as a movement.
While this drive is nothing new—think Gloria Steinem, Camille Paglia and Helen Gurley Brown—the hope is that as more women in positions of power speak out and create change, the door will swing open and a new generation of leaders will take their rightful seat at the table.
Women in media, advertising and technology understand well the challenge of reaching the upper ranks of power.
While a handful of top television executives (A+E Networks' Nancy Dubuc) and magazine editors (Time's Nancy Gibbs) are female, there remains a dearth of women running ad agencies, agency holding companies and digital companies.