Gender Issues: Women in advertising on today’s challenges
October 07, 2013 | Carly Lewis | Comments
“Women are still underpaid in our industry”
The upcoming issue of 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
Tuesday: 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 female leaders in the ad business
What are today’s most urgent issues around gender in the marketing world?
Jill Nykoliation, president of Juniper Park
The glass ceiling has been cracked, but it hasn’t been shattered. The gaffes keep happening. Bic pens for women? Really? It was also truly appalling that Playtex, an inherently female brand, conceived of, let alone approved, their crude campaign for its “Fresh & Sexy Wipes.” How did the headline “A clean beaver gets more wood” get the approval of the CEO?
Christina Yu, executive creative director of Red Urban
There’s a lack of mentorship. It’s important to have a good, inspiring leader.
Lauren Richards, principal at Pollin8
Equal pay for equal work is the most pressing. Women are still underpaid in our industry. And I find it astounding that there are still so relatively few women on the creative side of the agency business. Advertising spend is greatly skewed to women given the involvement or direct purchase behaviour of household products. Why wouldn’t more female creatives be hired and nurtured into fabulous creative talents who could bring insight on the woman’s psyche?
Karen Howe, senior vice-president, creative director at One Advertising
There are not enough senior level women managing agencies and heading up creative departments. According to the ICA, the percentage of women in advertising in senior management roles is less than 10%, yet we represent 51% of the population. Sexism is just like racism. It still exists, yet it is much subtler now. It’s gone underground. If women are forceful on an issue they are told they are taking it personally. A man would be applauded for a strong point-of-view.
Nancy Vonk, co-founder of Swim
Most women drop out of creative departments by their mid 30s, before they achieve their potential. Talk about a brain drain. Since I first entered the field it’s been very hard to find great senior female talent. Why are they leaving? Considering women are usually the targets, it’s obvious that female perspective on reaching her would be valuable.
Jill King, president at One Advertising
I don’t think we’re seeing enough women getting into the digital and technology space. This is a huge concern, as it’s a quickly growing piece of what we do. The understanding of latest developments, what’s possible and how it can drive communication is critical to marketing today. Where are the women? Is writing code unfeminine? I don’t get it.