Alex Mahon, CEO of UK public service broadcaster Channel 4, joins Bouchra Rejani founder of WeMake, France, as part of the MIPCOM Women In Leadership Keynote Super Session at this year’s MIPCOM.
Speaking ahead of the MIPCOM Super Session, Channel 4 head Mahon said that, while the TV industry is doing better than many when it comes to women in positions of leadership, we still have “a long way to go. There are many female CEOs in production, but not in broadcasting and certainly still very few female chairs or FTSE board members. At the most senior levels of those making decisions we are still horrendously under-represented.” She added: “In our industry there are many places where it is so hard for women – the freelance community, directors, combining roles on locations with having families. We have plenty of work still to do.”
Under 5% of Europe’s top companies have a female CEO
“The access to executive positions is globally on average still twice harder for women than for men,” WeMake’s Bouchra Rejani said. “The figures speak for themselves: according to recent studies, under 5% of Europe’s top companies have a female CEO and just one in four leadership positions are held by women. The share of women in senior business executive functions has slowly grown, but women today are still paid some 20% less than men, for doing the same job. If there is no justice for women, there will be no justice anywhere. The modernity of a country is measured by the way women are considered.”
Both agree that putting more women in leadership positions makes good business sense: “Soft skills such as determination, attention to detail and measured thinking are undeniably key for all types of organisation,” Rejani said. “Today, and particularly in a post-pandemic society, employees want more – and constant – feedback and a better work-life balance. These objectives are most likely going to be met by a female manager and may not come as naturally to a male leader.”
The reality is that men and women do lead differently
Mahon added that women’s approach to business is different because so many of the systems withn which we operate have been designed by men. “The reality is that men and women in general, in the aggregate, do lead differently. If you read academic studies on the subject, this is not necessarily due to gender. It is certainly in part due to how the systems have taught us,” she said. “The system, the ways of operating, the behaviours that are valued and prized, have been designed by men, for men. So because women leaders have had to learn a system on which they were the non-dominant group, they have had to learn the ways around it and how to optimise for winning in a system that wasn’t designed by them. Research from the Council of Women World Leaders shows that this means we collaborate differently, we have smaller networks and we work harder to find creative solutions to problems.”
How to attract more than 300 million viewers worldwide
Pro-social issues will be the focus of another MIPCOM keynote, from Global Citizen co-founder and CEO Hugh Evans, will speak about how he is harnessing the power of broadcast to create groundbreaking entertainment specials that drive actual social impact. “There is a role for everyone to play in the movement to end extreme poverty and the TV industry plays a critical role in helping us build the movement through our series and events,” he said ahead of his MIPCOM Game Changer Keynote.
During his presentation he will outline how his organisation came to create a global broadcast special, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, featuring over 100 artists, attracting more than 300 million viewers worldwide and generating $127.9m in commitments for frontline healthcare workers and COVID-19 relief efforts. “I am proud to share that 100% of the money raised has already been dispersed to provide PPE to community health workers in over 180 countries,” he said.
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