How OMD EMEA is Breaking the Bias for International Women’s Day
Gina Ramson-Williams
8 March 2022

Today is International Women’s Day. A day when people and companies come together across the globe to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness of equality.


The theme this year is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead, and unfortunately, the last two years of the pandemic have slowed progress across the globe.


At OMD EMEA, building gender equity is a key DIB (diversity, inclusion and belonging) pillar for us, and we will be celebrating International Women’s Day this week with topical speaker sessions, pledges, charitable donations, quizzes and more. We believe the conversation needs to take place throughout the year and make it an ongoing part of our drive for change.

We are proud to share some of the initiatives we’ve run since we marked International Women’s Day last year, as we continue to make strides to #BreakTheBias


Breaking the bias in recruitment

2021 saw us pilot several new platforms to ensure we are recruiting without bias. Through the talent acquisition platform, Applied, we are anonymising CVs and asking competency-based questions of our candidates, which are reviewed by a diverse interview panel at OMD. This ensures we find the best person using a fair process as part of our recruitment approach.


We also use other recruitment platforms, namely Evenbreak, Vercida and MyGWork, which broadens out the talent pool to include disability, age, parenting, and LGBT+ candidates, ensuring that they can see and apply for all our roles. While International Women’s Day focuses on breaking the bias this year, we want to ensure we are reaching women from multi-cultural backgrounds, with disabilities, older women, in fact, anyone from any background so they can join us.

We are delighted to see our inclusive process has increased women in senior roles at OMD EMEA by 23% YoY.


Breaking the bias in menopause

Our Chief Client Officer, Jessica Roberts, shared her personal experience on our website and social channels last year as she spoke of her experience going through menopause. This is such an important topic that can impact younger women and men living with women who are experiencing the symptoms. We want to ensure everyone feels comfortable talking about it, to normalise conversations and ensure we support those experiencing menopause as a priority. For International Women’s Day this year, we are hosting a talk with Lynda Bailey, one of the UK’s leading experts from Talking Menopause. We will also be launching our menopause policy to all our people this week and have a new menopause employee benefit that provides the support.


Breaking the bias in mental wellbeing

The last year has taken its toll in many ways across the board. Everyone has felt even more pressure, whether that be parents, carers, CEOs, new starters, those starting their careers, or those who had to deal with living alone. We have heard from women struggling with trying to run a house, home-school and work a full-time job, as much as we have from men. We therefore made positive mental health a priority last year. We shared a programme of content throughout Mental Health Awareness Week that included financial clinics, massages, yoga, and a keynote focusing on the importance of nature and meditation. Again, during International Men’s Day, we focused on the importance of positive mental health, particularly on areas that men tend to keep hidden and by raising awareness of the high rate of male suicide in the UK and what to look out for. We also trained an additional twelve mental health first aiders, volunteers from within the agency, ready to give support to our people, should they need it.


Breaking the bias in learning and development

Through Omnicom’s Omniwomen program, we have been able to send several of our mid-senior level female employees to a series of sessions throughout the year. Topics covered included learning how to lead a team during lockdown, how to get better sleep, tackling menopause, how to achieve work-life balance, relationship advice and more. We also partnered with Inclusive Employers, an organisation which again has run some outstanding sessions during lockdown, including unconscious bias, how to tackle microaggressions, how to be an inclusive leader and much more.


As we look towards 2022, we will shortly be announcing our Gender Pay Gap report from 2021 with additional conversations and focus on what we are doing to continue to address the gap. We are also running a programme of events during International Women’s Day week, as we did last year, and will continue with other activities throughout the year. As we are now mostly working in an agile working environment and are in the office again, we will be running more hands-on charitable events this year, including supporting local charities aiming to help women return to work if they have been unemployed for a considerable length of time.


We are proud to be making progress across all areas of DIB and acknowledge that as new challenges arise globally all the time, our work is continuous and ongoing. We will continue to do all we can to further build inclusivity and an even greater sense of belonging to anyone joining OMD EMEA, our clients, partners, and vendors.

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