Nishma Robb

Head of ads marketing UK, Google

The power of communication in changing gender stereotypes

Nishma works with the biggest brands and agencies in her role at Google. With more than 20 years experience in digital advertising, she is also perfectly placed to chair the UK branch of Women@Google, an employee resource group originally founded by Sheryl Sandberg.

Before Google, Nishma was chief client officer at iProspect. She’s a prior recipient of the Asian Women of Achievement’s “Business Woman of the Year” award and was named one of Media Week’s “Top 30 under 30.” As chair of Women@Google in the UK, she’s on a mission to help inspire girls and women, who are entrepreneurs, with the magic and promise of technology, and is a passionate leader and champion for diversity in business.

Dots Live

How everyone can play a role in challenging gender stereotypes


“Everyone has a role to change the stories they hear,” said Nishma Robb, head of ads marketing UK at Google as she took to the Dots stage.

71% believe brands should be held accountable for their messages, yet there’s still gender inequality in the way that male and female roles are being represented in advertising.

The power of communication to change a story

Part of Nishma’s role, her passion project, is being chair of Women@Google. It came about after the recognition that there weren’t that many women at Google, and was founded to increase numbers of women at the company, as well as look at improving their chances of advancement. There are now 20,000 members of the group.

“Everyone can have an impact in changing gender stereotypes in our world,” said Nishma. “We are hit with 5,000 ads in a day – consciously or unconsciously. As a young girl I loved advertising. We’re lucky in the UK because we have fantastic advertising, great storytelling, and so we’ve got great creative. So why are we getting it so wrong?”

According to research by the Female Tribes project, 43% of women, globally, feel their opinion is less valued. Out of those surveyed, 86% agree femininity is a strength, not a weakness.

Discrimination in the workplace is still rife – women are feeling this and want it to be addressed. In fact, young women feel discrimination is getting worse.

“Please can we stop pushing out-dated gender roles,” Nishma said.

Femvertising

Nishma went on to promote the power of femvertising – advertising that’s pro female. A few key brands like Nike and Dove are doing well in this area. Mattel even created a pro female Barbie campaign that helped shares jump by 23%.

“52% of women have bought a product because they like how the brand portrayed women,” said Nishma. “But it’s not job done, It’s a job continuing.”

Nishma concluded on an inspiring note: “Break the mould. Don’t be defined by stereotypes. Break the barriers.”