Gender Issues: What has changed the most?
October 08, 2013 | Carly Lewis | Comments
“We’ve made strides…but I despise the fashion advertising industry”
The latest Marketing (available this week) is our Gender Issue, which taps new research to explore how consumer stereotypes are breaking down between the sexes and what marketers need to know to hit their targets. With all the talk of gender marketing, we decided it was an opportune time to take stock of gender issues in the marketing industry itself as well.
Writer Carly Lewis reached out and engaged some of the leading women in advertising and each day this week we will post their responses to some important questions. The picture that emerges is one that suggests that while progress has been on the gender equity front, there is a lot more needed. Tell us what you think.
Monday: Today’s most urgent issues around gender in the ad world
Today: Making progress: What’s changed the most in the industry?
Wednesday: Tales from the front: Maddening firsthand encounters with sexism
Thursday: Where to from here? What are the remedies?
Friday: Listen up: Important advice from leaders in the ad business
What’s changed the most since you started in the industry?
Nancy Vonk, co-founder of Swim
Since I had my first job as a junior art director in the early ’80s, the landscape for women has changed in some ways and not others. There are as many or more women entering the field and in most schools the women are outnumbering the guys. But the numbers at the top haven’t budged, and the dropout rate for women is still very steep.
Karen Howe, senior vice-president, creative director at One Advertising
In some areas of advertising we’ve made strides in terms of how we reflect women. We’ll think twice before we put a vacuum in the hands of a woman in a TV spot, but I despise the fashion advertising industry. It continues to churn out ads showcasing skeletal 15-year-olds, leading to yet another generation of damaged young women who measure their self-worth in the pounds on a scale, or the inches on a measuring tape.
Lauren Richards, principal at Pollin8
I started in the business in the ’80s and certainly remember how commonplace it was for the senior executives of the agencies to target young women in the firm. Some men take advantage of “power positions” and the aura of success, by taking advantage of young women who are trying to find their way and may be flattered and unsure of how to handle the attention. I think the business has gotten much more professional in this regard, thank God.
Jill King, president at One Advertising
On the surface there are less offensive gender biases than there were (women must wear dresses and pantyhose to the office, spend some time on the reception desk as juniors and so on), although I’m sure many are still lurking under the surface.