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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Checkmate


Posted on November 25, 2013 and read 3,424 times

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brianna CheckmateBrianna Graves
Director of Content + Communications

It’s an age-old industry conversation: why aren’t there enough women in advertising?

But some men (yes, those in the leadership positions, the ones who already have the power and who will have to give up some of that power to let the ladies in) have grown immune to the conversation. Not by admission, of course, but in reality? They are listening to the case for more female CD’s as intently as they are listening to their wives nag them about spending the holidays with Aunt Tilda: with faux-rapt eyes and an absent mind.

Sure, we can continue to make a case for gender balance. Kat Gordon runs the 3% Conference each year in San Francisco, which began as a personal passion project and has built into a movement to shift the very real percentage of females in top CD roles. SheSays, the global creative network for women, runs free mentorship and events in the creative and marketing industries.

But those are tools for women.

Don’t get me wrong; tools for women are a hugely important and valuable piece of the puzzle. Without them the statement, “There aren’t enough qualified women” rings true and there is no case to make. But creating more qualified women is not the only piece of the puzzle. Simply being qualified doesn’t seem to be enough (before your tailfeathers get ruffly, whether or not it should be enough is not what I’m discussing here).

Half of the puzzle is the other 50% by gender, or by leadership math, the 97%. Why should a man give up his seat at the table for you, m’lady? Men need tools to help change the ratio, too.

In this case, “tools for men” does not mean an endless list of facts. We all know that rhetoric:

Because it’s good for business (followed by a list of very compelling statistics).

Because the same roster of men (and the same very-short-list of ladies) are judging all of the award shows.

Because there are some incredibly kick-ass women in the business…

… yes, but where are they?

And the cycle of conversation begins again.

So to stop the cycle, and change the future of the conversation, IHAVEANIDEA Founder and ADC Executive Director Ignacio Oreamuno gathered some of the smartest women on his Board of Directors and staff, along with gender equality powerhouse Cindy Gallop, and founded the Let’s Make the Industry 50/50 Initiative. It’s a tool for both men and women.

It’s not a call for affirmative action hiring quotas. Not at all, in fact. It is a simple call to highlight that there are plenty of qualified women in the creative industries.

It is a direct challenge to industry organizations, like his own, to force themselves to stop and look a bit harder when it comes to achieving gender balance in three specific decision-making areas: awards show juries, like the Tomorrow Awards and ADC Annual Awards; boards of directors; and event panels and speaker lineups.

And by “look a bit harder,” I mean link in one click to the 50/50 Directory and search. Doesn’t sound very hard at all, actually.

But it will be if we ladies don’t put ourselves out there. If we don’t fill this directory with every kick-ass woman in the world, then the conversation lives on. If we don’t nominate ourselves and then either nominate every other kick-ass woman we know, or encourage them to nominate themselves, we continue to do a disservice to our careers. If we don’t leverage this tool, then we are proving them right: we’re only interested in the conversation.

So, ladies, it’s time to stop talking and start doing. The control is now very much in our hands. A directory full of every kick-ass woman in the world will eliminate the statement, “There aren’t enough qualified women.” Are you ready for that future?


  • Anonymous

    Totally anecdotal observation: there are a lot of women in the Montreal agencies I’ve worked at (large ones), on all levels and across departments, and I’ve noticed the photos of senior teams in other cities being mostly dudes and wondered about it.

    I have no idea if my experience is representative or totally random chance though.




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