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Google wins discrimination court battle over gender pay

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Google has emerged with its wallet and reputation intact following a US courts decision to throw out a case in which the tech giant was accused of systematically rewarding male employees with higher levels of pay than their female colleagues.

Three female former employees were seeking to sue Google via a class action on behalf of all Google’s female employees over the past four years at San Francisco Superior Court, alleging ‘systematic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the board’.

After digesting arguments from both sides, however, judge Mary E. Wiss dismissed the "conclusory" claims, confirming that there was insufficient evidence to justify further action on the grounds of sexism.

Wiss asserted that Kelly Ellis and Holly Pease had failed to show that they had been underpaid relative to male counterparts despite sharing 15 years’ experience as software engineers with Google between them. The case of a third claimant, Kelli Wisuri, who had served less than two years in executive communications was also thrown out.

Google’s staffing is heavily biased toward white males according to the company’s own demographic report, with 70% of its total workforce and 80% of its technical staff being male at the last count.

The three claimants now have 30 days in which to decide whether to launch an appeal in their discrimination case.

Google recently hired a diversity vice-president amid widespread criticism of its hiring practices.

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Kantar Media names Louise Ainsworth as EMEA CEO

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Kantar Media has announced that Louise Ainsworth has been appointed chief executive of EMEA, effective June 25.

Joining directly from her present role as chief executive of Kantar Millward Brown, Ainsworth brings a wealth of experience in digital media, audience measurement, brand management and communications in tow.

Andy Brown, global chief executive and chairman of Kantar Media said: "I am thrilled to welcome Louise to Kantar Media.

"Her rich experience in digital and the changing media ecosystem is widely recognised across the industry and will be a considerable asset for Kantar Media and our clients alike.”

Ainsworth added: "Our clients are facing more change and disruption than ever before – Kantar Media’s unique scale and breadth of high quality data sets are well-placed to help our EMEA clients convert the challenges they face into valuable opportunities.”

Upon arrival Ainsworth will sit on the Kantar Media executive committee, reporting directly to chief executive and chairman Andy Brown.

Ainsworth previously served as chief executive of WARC.

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Unilever taps WPP agencies to educate its startups as part of in-house collaboration

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Unilever has announced a partnership with WPP that will see the network's agencies work with the startups under the FMCG’s giant's Foundry programme in Singapore.

Unilever hopes the collaboration will lay the foundations for the marketing services ecosystem of the future and bring key external marketing expertise, in-house.

David Porter, Unilever’s vice-president of media for Asia, Africa and Russia said the partnership was an "in-sourcing" model, adding that the group was "looking at a number of was to bring external marketing services closer" to Unilever staff.

​The move from Unilever to work with WPP comes amid ongoing agency cuts in the FMCG space. Last year alone, Unilever was able to invest an additional €250m into media buying and in-store advertising after slashing the number of agencies it worked with and bringing certain elements of its marketing mix in-house.

The fresh collaboration will now see the likes of Ogilvy, Mindshare and Wunderman, work alongside startups, such like Celtra, Unruly and Viddsee at Unilever’s Level3 co-working space in Singapore.

It will be led by Sudipto Roy, managing director for media and data, and Team Unilever for Asia, Africa, Russia.

“We have taken a fresh approach to the ‘Team WPP’ design. Instead of designing around the brand or the category, we have designed around capabilities and intelligence in order to solve business problem,” explained Roy.

“We have access to cutting edge technology and new products across every pillar of the Unilever marketing framework through the startup community in Unilever Foundry. We look forward to collaborating with them to deliver breakthrough models, communications and consumer connections products.”

Unilever Foundry also unveiled a new advisory board for Level3 in April, naming the likes of Rajan Anandan, vice-president of Southeast Asia and India at Google, Daryl Arnold, chairman of Newton Circus, Maximillian Bittner, founder and advisor of Lazada as new board members.

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After #MeToo, C4’s £1m Diversity in Advertising award to focus on ‘portrayal of women’

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Channel 4’s ‘Diversity in Advertising’ competition has returned for the third year, this time asking advertisers to focus on how women are portrayed.

The initiative offers £1m of free airtime to any advertiser who best responds to a brief set by the broadcaster. In 2016 it was the representation of disability, won by Mars, and then non-visible disabilities which was won by Lloyds Bank in 2017.

In light of the #MeToo movement, the centenary of the right to vote and the focus on gender pay gaps, Channel 4 said it wanted ad creatives to create campaigns which would “challenge engrained stereotypes, objectification and sexualisation of women”.

A recent study found that there are twice as many male characters in adverts than female characters and that when women do appear, they are most likely to be younger (in their 20s, compared to men who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s).

“There are campaigns already on our screens which represent women in a positive and appropriate manner – but sadly there just aren’t enough of them,” said Channel 4’s head of agency and client sales and commercial marketing Matt Salmon.

“This year we’re looking for an ad that really stands out even from the positive ads we’ve seen before. We want a campaign that’s a beacon for the issue, an idea that calls out the challenges and makes a really positive statement to our audiences.

“The winning ad shouldn’t be representative of what the future ‘norm’ should be, it should act as a catalyst for the change in mindset we’d like to see within the industry.”

The deadline for this year’s entries is 9 July 2018. A shortlist will be announced on 17 July before the winner is announced in September and the campaign will be on air in early 2019.

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