Mad[Wo]Men: The Rise of the Female Creative

Women-Creative-spread-1.jpgThe past 18 months have seen the Australian advertising industry placed on international notice for the scarcity of female leaders in creative departments, leading to calls for reform from industry crusaders and sparking investigations into gender inequality, including The Agency Circle's diversity survey. It's perhaps the overdue  shake-up adland needed; a seismic shift in industry culture towards greater development and support for creative women. In a 14 page article in the upcoming issue of Campaign Brief magazine we turn to our most revered talent to glean an insight from the frontline on the encouraging progress being made - there are now more than 40 female creative directors in Australia - and the issues affecting their future.

In a time when women have access to a wider range of career futures than ever before, it could be persuasively argued that the advertising industry had been dragging its feet when it comes to affording senior creative women the same levels of respect, recognition and remuneration long taken for granted by their male counterparts. 

However, in recent years there's been a marked global rise in society's acknowledgement of gender inequality. The launch of conferences and programs from organisations such as the 3% Movement appear to represent a genuine commitment to making changes to level out the playing field in a movement backed by both women and men. 
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The Agency Circle data reveals that creative departments in Australia are on average 29 percent female and, whilst chair of the group, Sarah Palmer, is yet to observe an increase in the overall numbers of females in creative year on year, she has noticed an increase in programmes designed to nurture career development and provide support to women.

Says Palmer: "Programmes like the Communications Council Creative Leadership Program, while not designed exclusively for women, provide important training to encourage continued careers within creative agencies."

Palmer adds that the increased visibility of female creative directors in Australia has also helped to promote much-needed role models in our industry. However, to realise equality of gender in creative departments, she believes agencies need to deliver on their commitment to providing flexibility. 

In her role as chair of The Communication Council's Diversity and Inclusion Group, Lorraine Jokovic, CEO of agency Loud, conducted extensive research into the barriers obstructing career progression. 

Read the whole 14 page story in the latest Campaign Brief magazine, out soon...

To receive this issue SUBSCRIBE NOW TO CAMPAIGN BRIEF @ only $40 per year.

15 Comments

stoked said:

yeah the girls

#greytoo said:

Go the girls, great that we’re tackling sexism in our industrty.
How about ageism next?

it's a nice start said:

But i won't believe that we've made real cultural change until we start to see some chicks pop up in the lists on the right hand side of this site.

This is a great initiative said:

It'd be really nice if we could have an industry-wide conversation about cultures and race too. We pride ourselves on being a multicultural country but if you look around most agencies, and indeed this list above, it paints a pretty one-sided picture. I'd love to see this initiative extended.

Look at me.... said:

I have a vagina. I'm special.

@ it's a nice start said:

Although a good point, I don't think that's very fair to the people on that list.

They have worked extremely hard to get on there, and should be proud.
I've never worked at an agency that is full of all white males, and I don't think
those who've been in the industry over the past 10-15 years have.

Let's praise great creatives out there, the best of the best make it on that list regardless of gender, race or age. Let's not forget this is about equality.

If you don't think that's very fair to the people on the list said:

Then you're ignoring the subtle unspoken advantages of white men. You may not see the gentle crushing of women & their aspiration, you may not feel the digs & put downs that are often communicated by a withering look or being ignored with a shrug.

Nobody would suggest that those on the list have not worked hard, but I'm quite safe to say that the men on that list had unspoken advantages that only women are conscious of. And that is not because they are only visible to women, it is because men are not looking.

Good luck with your Liberal National attitudes & agenda (that seems to work doesn't it - 3 women in the ministry) but the world is moving on. See ya.

Dear ‘if you don’t think..,’ @ 10:02am said:

You should never lose an argument through ignorance.
Unfortunately, the subtlety you so rightly speak about in relation to men’s unspoken advantages is lost in your Liberal National jibe.
Never forget there were no greater opponents of legalized abortion than the Labor members burdened by their Irish Catholic unions past. In that they stood arm in arm with the Kevin Andrews of the world.
But, no. According to you, all negative attitudes to women only comes from the ‘right’ .
How quickly you forget Shorten’s knifing and betrayal of Gillard.
Truth is, misogyny, unspoken advantages, the gentle crushing of female aspiration, is not confined to one sector of political landscape - it’s universal. Left, right and everywhere in between.
By accusing one, you excuse the other.

If you don't think that's very fair to the people on the list said:

Yes well said. Guilty your honour. Everything you say is correct. The Catholic Unionists are as you say just as bad. Mea Culpa.

I want... said:

Personally, I want to be written about because I am good, not because I am a woman...how insulting

Well done Cindy said:

You have to credit Cindy Gallop for half the people on this list. She put the fear of God into every agency in Australia. If you look at the date most of these women were appointed CD etc it was post Weinstein. If you look at every major staff announcement photo since then there's rarely a group shot without a woman in it and definitely not anything like the Burnett shot of days gone by. So well done Cindy. And if it's great that agencies have been forced to open their eyes to look for talented women within their organisations. But I also feel sorry for the many talented up and coming young men during this time who have been overlooked for a female colleague because of political pressure and fear.

@well done Cindy said:

Yep, you the ‘fear’ comment right... I’ve seen men under much more scrutiny and pulled into meetings with HR for minor infractions or misunderstandings... Shoot first, questions later etc. Let’s hope we have equality without the expense of justice.

Hey ‘I want’... said:

If you are good - you would have been asked.

Give it a rest said:

Are we done now? It's very clear that females are just as smart, creative and intelligent as the male variety. Let's move forward and acknowledge the work rather than the gender.

Not convinced said:

Did you really type that? "Are we Done Now?" Patronising arsehole. Proves the point really.

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