Female leadership team at Malaysian digital agency form group to tackle gender inequality

missmafiaThe debate over gender diversity in the media and marketing industries has triggered the creation of a networking group in Malaysia aimed at inspiring women to pursue their marketing careers and “reach the top”.

MissMafia has been founded by four senior executives at Kuala Lumpur-based digital agency Lion & Lion.

Spurred on by comments from Kevin Roberts, the global boss of Saatchi & Saatchi who was forced to resign after suggesting women are happier in non-executive roles, the group want to connect women within “Malaysia’s female leadership community”.


Meredith Wallace

Writing in today’s Mumbrella, Meredith Wallace, Lion & Lion head of social media and engagement, said Roberts’ comments were “ludicrous” and only served to underline the gender inequality gap.

“If anything, his remarks highlight just how far we still have to go in terms of changing mindsets today,” Wallace said. “Even in marketing, a field many have assumed is female-dominated, diversity wanes at the top, with women hardly present in senior leadership positions.

“As a result, there simply isn’t enough women in leadership within marketing to provide mentorship at scale for an organisation, a fact that is especially true for fields that are generally more male-dominated, such as search marketing and web development.”

Jessica Yong

Jessica Yong

Wallace and her three colleagues – client director Jessica Yong, creative director Jenifer Ooi and head of outreach Niniek Sugiarti – hit upon the idea of MissMafia after realising they were in a unique position at Lion & Lion.

“As part of a largely female leadership team, we realised we were in a different environment than we had been in the past, one that was more encouraging, uplifting, and more productive for our career aspirations,” Wallace said.

“We want to encourage more women to reach the top, and not feel limited in their career growth. This is especially true in marketing, where women often limit themselves to mid-level positions, or stick to what are traditionally seen as female roles within marketing, such as content or PR.”

A MissMafia event last night heard from Geraldine Wong, CMO of SEEK Asia, Annalisa Andrulli, CMO of food delivery business foodpanda and Amelia Lim, CMO of insurance comparison site GoBear.


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