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At Nielsen, we #choosetochallenge

3 minute read | March 2021

This is a pivotal moment.

March marks a full year of living with the pandemic, which has, among many other things, threatened to roll back the progress our world has made toward closing the gender gap. 

“Humankind is facing many challenges together, but it’s a chance to change our mindset to be more inclusive and change the trajectory of gender parity,” said Sandra Sims-Williams, SVP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Nielsen and executive sponsor of the Women in Nielsen Business Resource Group.

As a company, Nielsen recognizes that it has a larger role to play in the industry and in the broader community to ensure equal representation and counting of women and across all diversity and inclusion factors. 

The launch of Gracenote Inclusion Analytics is one way we’re enabling the media industry to create more inclusive content, powered by diverse content creators. With this solution, studios and brands can see how and how often women and other multicultural groups are portrayed on screen. They can then choose to challenge these narratives, which can ultimately challenge our cultural norms. 

This month Nielsen will release a report on women over the age of 50, who particularly go unseen. Women overall have a 38% share of screen, for those over 50 that share of time on-screen plummets to just 8%. The report uses solutions from across Nielsen to create more color and context for this underrepresented group.

“Being seen is one thing, but being seen in a light that reflects my reality, and not a Hollywood trope, is what’s important,” added Sims-Williams. “Choosing to challenge isn’t just about today—it’s something that we need to do every day in the industry, in our communities and within ourselves.

Choosing to challenge isn’t just about today—it’s something that we need to do every day in the industry, in our communities and within ourselves.

Sandra Sims-Williams, SVP, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Nielsen

Recognizing that the conversation about women should extend beyond March, Nielsen also launched a new webpage “For Women, It’s Past Time to be Seen.” This site will serve as a hub for our research into gender parity moving forward. You can expect to see more research from across our business highlighted here, from women in sports to how women consume news and podcasts.

Nielsen is also choosing to challenge itself as a company to close the gap in gender parity. Over the past year, the company has re-focused its efforts and priorities around pay equity, doubled its parental leave, created new norms around work flexibility, as well as expanded its mental health and employee assistance programs, among other initiatives. The Company has also committed to increasing women’s senior leadership levels from 39% to 46% by 2023. While there is still much progress to be made, these efforts have helped to catapult Nielsen from #100 to #7 on Equileap’s Gender Equality Global Report and Ranking between 2020 and 2021.

“It feels as if the culture in media and entertainment on the precipice of change, and internally, Nielsen is shifting its culture too. Our events this month go beyond spotlighting examples of female empowerment. We are also creating space for real dialogue about our intersectionality and unique challenges, which will ultimately guide our roadmap towards gender parity,” said Sophie Harris, Women in Nielsen (WIN) North America Regional Co-Lead and Sales Manager Media, Gracenote. “At WIN, we are challenging ourselves to work together to increase the diverse representation of women in mid to senior levels of the organization, reduce gender bias and improve policies for women globally.”

The WIN Business Resource Group in North America worked with a committee of volunteers to spearhead a series of internal events that included panels, videos and conversations around how the company, its employees and WIN can work together to #choosetochallenge.