Despite being a female leader, Initiative Indonesia managing director Riszti Primula (pictured) said she did not face any discrimination in the local advertising scene. Not letting gender get in the way in both her academic and career progressions, she has risen quickly through the ranks, from a planner to her current position. Her career in media agencies span over two decades.
In her office in Jakarta, 70% of the employee are females, and many of them hold important leadership positions like her. Speaking to Marketing Interactive, Primula said she feels very lucky to be an Indonesian, and be given the opportunities to speak her mind, make decisions and lead a team.
Marketing Interactive: In terms of advertising and marketing best practices, how progressive is Indonesia in gender diversity and equality?
Primula: There are many female leadership positions in Indonesia. Many institutions, companies and industry are led by well-educated women. Hence, I believe that there are equal opportunities for both males and females to thrive in Indonesia.
Although females have greater opportunities to reach their dreams in Indonesia, I must say that the culture of patriarchy still exists. But I see that there are more women, and men too, who are aware of this issue and have become more respectful to women.
And it’s not different in the advertising and marketing world, I now see many women in the top positions and being decision makers.
Marketing Interactive: Last year, the #MeToo movement took the world by storm. Did it have any impact in the local ad land?
Primula: To some extent, I saw that the global movement of #MeToo give more confidence to Indonesian women to voice their concerns and demands for justice, especially those related to harassment issues. The image of strong women who speak their minds and lead with strong minds are manifested in media and ads too.
Marketing Interactive: What are some of the biggest challenges that female bosses face? Have you experienced any yourself?
Primula: Another thing that I must be grateful for is the working environment and culture in this company. I trust that my team knows that my judgements and decisions are not influenced by my gender, but my skills and leadership abilities. Nonetheless, I still hear that in some companies such culture has yet to be established. Female leaders have to make more efforts to be taken seriously and respectfully by their male counterparts.
Marketing Interactive: Are there any mantra you go by and want to pass it on to other existing or aspiring female leaders?
Primula: Hard work pays off. Do not let your gender define you and your dreams!
Marketing Interactive: What are your hopes for women in leadership?
Primula: I hope that they can be true women, as amazing as they are now (being a woman is amazing) for they don’t have to be masculine to be great leaders. I hope that fewer female leaders in any sector or position in their career feel that they have to make a choice between being mothers or working women.
We can be both, and their spouses should also share this similar perspective. We have “multi-tasking” as our middle name, and God give us that talent for a reason.
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