Celebrating Mothers in Marketing 

Mother’s Day in the US has just passed us and I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate all the mothers out there who have forged successful careers in marketing. In modern society, women are still faced with inequalities in the workplace so it’s important to highlight role models like the women I’ll be discussing below. They are a great source of inspiration for all women in the workforce, so this article is dedicated to them.

We’re Not There Yet on Equality

Gender equality in the workplace is still an issue, with the pay gap between men and women ever-present. Over the years, the gap has narrowed but there is still a lot of work to be done. As the United Nations says, “Worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. As a result, there’s a lifetime of income inequality between men and women and more women are retiring into poverty.”  

In the marketing industry, for the same role with the same number of years’ experience, men get paid $10K – $40K more than women, and sometimes the gap is even greater. This isn’t only true at the mid-senior level; it’s true at all levels (Source: MarketingMag).  

Mums or not, women are taken less seriously in the working world, despite having the same skillset and experience as their male counterparts. Many companies continue to allow the gender pay gap despite the Equal Pay Act of 1970 but there is hope – some companies are setting great examples.  

Companies To Look Up To

Childbirth and looking after a newborn takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s important for companies to give new mothers enough time to manage this period and feel comfortable reintegrating into their working roles. Many firms have introduced daycare centres close to or within their offices, which is a great step in helping employees to manage work and family life.

While a lot of progress has been made, the journey to end gender discrimination in the workplace is not over yet. Below are several companies that are making great changes to accommodate parents, which will help to set the tone for the next generation.

  1. Microsoft  
    It’s exciting to witness a company as prominent as Microsoft making room for mothers. Their earlier policies for parental leave were somewhat lacklustre but more recently, they have started offering 20 weeks of paid maternity leave and 12 weeks for parents that adopt or foster. Women at Microsoft are finally getting their dues. 
  2. HubSpot 
    HubSpot recently landed the third spot on the list of the best places for parents to work. The company ensures that women don’t have to make a choice between working or motherhood by providing them with employee benefits where they can take parental leave and discuss family planning and career goals. They also support women in tech by providing training specifically for women, to help them reach their career goals. It’s good to see a company in the marketing sphere take women’s careers seriously.  
  3. Adobe Systems  
    When the pandemic hit, parents had the added responsibility of home-schooling. Back in 2020, Adobe showed its conviction to better its employees’ lives by bearing the expenses of home-schooling and entertaining their children by providing them with toys and other things to keep them occupied. They also provide ample maternity leave for new mothers and build dedicated communities for women working in Adobe across the globe. Through these communities, they can network, undergo mentoring, and advance their careers. Their Women’s Executive Shadow Program (WESP) gives the mic to female leaders to share their stories and encourage the development of more leaders like them. Adobe’s approach to caring for its employees is a great example that every company should aspire to. 

Leading Mums in Marketing

Women often have a question lurking in their minds when they are about to become mothers – will they be able to have a career while raising children? Will they have a healthy balance? As well as being supported by their employers, having strong role models who have succeeded in this arena is a great help. Here is a brief list of mums in marketing that are setting a great example. 

Indra Nooyi

This Indian American former CEO of Pepsi Co. is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 most powerful women in the world. She was paid a whopping $31 million in her final year for her role at Pepsi Co. where she started as Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning. Later, she held the title of Chairman for more than 12 years.  

She is the definition of having it all – she states, “I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful husband, two great kids, a very tight-knit family, an awesome job with a great team. But to get here and to stay here, lots of tradeoffs, lots of sacrifices under the water, a lot of collateral damage.” From a third-world country to the CEO of a top American company, she is a woman that everyone should look up to. Furthermore, in her latest book, she questions “Are Gender Rights Only for Privileged Women?” – a question that is still relevant in many parts of the world.  

indra nooyi

Whitney Wolfe Herd

Creator of the dating app, Bumble, Whitney envisioned a world where women make the first move. (On the app, it is only women that can send the first message to their matches.) Her story is filled with courage and determination where she unapologetically went after what she wanted despite the challenges involved. The concept of the female-focused dating app came to her after a difficult experience as the Vice President of Marketing for Tinder. Her marketing ideas helped the company gain popularity, but after Tinder’s co-founder, Justin Mateen, sexually harassed her, she branched out on her own. The lawsuit against Mateen was settled for a million dollars, after which Whitney decided to make a safe dating app for women. Today, Bumble is valued at a billion dollars.  


Whitney Wolfe Herd

Sofia Vergara

This modern family superstar is often dismissed as being a beauty without brains. However, she had the brains to create a million-dollar business. With her company “Latin World Entertainment” (which she co-founded more than 25 years ago), she gives back to her community. In an interview, she said, “It’s fun to shock people with my business ideas.” And shocked us she has, as her company is valued at $35 million.  

Sofia Vergara

Madam C J Walker

Madam C J walker is the original trendsetter, recorded as the first self-made millionaire in America by the Guinness Book of World Records. After her personal struggles with scalp disorder, she invented a product that helped women suffering from the same issue. Her original name was Sarah Breedlove, but she ditched that to adopt the title “Madam” along with her husband’s initials, which helped her make a personal connection with her customers. She furthered her advertising efforts by printing her face on her products along with the new name, “Madam CJ Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower”.  

Madam C J Walker

Wendy Clark

Before becoming the Global CEO of Dentsu International, Wendy Clark was a marketing veteran at Coca-Cola. She lives her life with “relentless optimism” and says that her passion for her job wakes her up every morning. After graduating from Florida State University, she entered the marketing world which was strained by the recession at the time. She did not let that hold her back and she took a job as a receptionist in a small agency.  From there on, she worked relentlessly all the way to the top. Right now, she is working towards the “pursuit of a more conscious consumerism by setting aggressive decarbonisation targets at Denstu International. Her journey is truly inspirational, and I cannot wait to see what other milestones she hits in her life.  

Wendy Clark

Ultimately, there is no correct definition of what a “successful mother” is. Women do not have to put pressure on themselves to have it all. If someone wants to have kids and have a full-time job, good for them. If they want to raise kids full-time and leave the working world behind, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Our job as a society is not to categorise women (or anyone) into a box. Instead, our role is to make the accommodations that make their lives easier.  As employers we need to support our teams in their lives and ensure fair, kind practises across everything we do.  It’s great to see the progress but we still have a long way to go and I hope you will all join me on this journey towards leaving these issues behind us. 

My team and I wish all the mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!