Marketing seemed to present more rapid career advancement to women over many other professions and during my early career I was lucky enough to have two senior bosses who not only gave me ample opportunity to step up to the mark and gain new skills and experience, but importantly were happy for me to do so.
At the age of 28 I conducted a management buy-out of the agency that had employed me for the previous two years. Did I have the experience to do so? I most certainly did not! Had I gained the confidence that I should at least give it a really good shot? I certainly had.
What we really need is the realization and appreciation that if the U.K. is to emulate the U.S. (not the paragon of equality--female board representation at the 200 largest companies by revenue is about 20%--but streets ahead of the U.K.) then the creation of a level playing field is essential. Career expectations for women, along with the education and behavioral agenda has to change. Imbuing confidence and self-belief is not a short term fix; for any woman it has to start in the cradle and continue to grow and build throughout her whole working life. Nothing less will do the job.
Domini Pettifar is joint managing director, dnx marketing, a U.K.-based agency that specializes in busines-to-business marketing and communications.