In the early days of measurement there were probably more women-owned measurement companies than those run by men. Today there’s nary a one. Where are the women in measurement, especially leadership? How did a pretty progressive industry do a ful about face in terms of gender equality?

The industry’s leading trade group AMEC reflects a similar imbalance, with women representing just 30% of its board members. OK, yes, they do deserve kudos for hiring Johna Burke as their Global Managing Director, and nominating her as their first female Executive Director. With luck she’ll be able to add some diversity to that board.

Note in contrast, not only is the Institute for PR headed by a woman, but the membership of its Measurement Commission is 53% female, with lots of diversity and youth in its ranks.

Ours is an industry where the majority of customers are women. Yet the leadership and sales teams of most vendors are almost all men. It’s a very strange situation when those men are pitching their services to the women. You’ve got to scratch your head and wonder what century our industry comes from.

Year of the Woman for The Measurement Advisor

Which is why I’m getting up on my soapbox and making 2019 “The Year of the Woman” for The Measurement Advisor. (I predict it won’t be that for the rest of the industry.) For starters, we’ll be highlighting those pioneering women who have established their place in measurement history in a regular column called The MeasureHERment Interview. Thanks to Mark Weiner, Chief Insights Officer at Cision, for the inspiration. You can read this month’s installment featuring Johna Burke, new Global Managing Director of AMEC.

But, let’s be honest,  as with any major cultural change, it will take dollars and influence to improve gender balance in this industry. Vendors, you are now officially on notice: Look around the room at the clients you are pitching. If there are more women than men on the client side, and there are only men on your side of the table, you deserve to lose the pitch. And women, if you are in a pitch meeting, lead it, don’t just be a token. Never ever let them get away with “hepeating” your ideas (i.e., taking credit for an idea you suggested).

And measurement conference organizers, #timesup for you, too. It is no longer acceptable to have panel after panel of men telling the mostly female audience what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. The measurement equivalent of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is out there somewhere in that audience, and she will be gunning for your job. ∞

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