Additional Information


Content

Women in adland: more to do

International Women's Day took place last Saturday. Louise Ridley presents highlights from Campaign's interviews on gender in adland.

Share this article

Cheryl Giovannoni Chief executive, Ogilvy & Mather

Only 26 per cent of people in leadership roles in advertising are women (IPA Agency Census 2013). Is this enough?
That is a woeful statistic and needs to be addressed urgently. Women are increasingly influential decision-makers across most categories and, if there are not enough women running the organisations responsible for producing communications that appeal to women, then everyone misses out. 

Is work/life balance an issue at agencies?
Work/life balance is always a challenge, particularly in the tough, competitive world we live and work in. I try to be 100 per cent in the moment – whether I am working or spending time with my family. It doesn’t always work but, then, having a demanding career is a contract you sign up to. If work/life balance is your main priority, then you should probably not work in an agency. There are lots of rewarding, less demanding jobs that you can do.

Are women portrayed positively in advertising campaigns?
Not always. My biggest issue is the obsession with celebrity and how this is shaping the aspirations of so many young women. The glamorous images thrust upon them feed female insecurities and take up too much media space. Creating more positive role models by focusing on women whose success is based on hard work, talent and achievement will really help.

What are your top three tips for women getting into the advertising business?
Make sure it’s something you feel truly passionate about. If it doesn’t excite you, there really is no point. It will wear you down quickly. Don’t play the politics or rely on anything but talent and huge amounts of effort. There are no shortcuts, and you will be found out really quickly. Work hard to make yourself invaluable. Always try to bring something interesting/insightful/surprising to the table. You will earn a reputation and everyone will want you on their team.  

Mel Cruickshank Chief executive, Wunderman

Only 26 per cent of people in leadership roles in advertising are women (IPA Agency Census 2013). Is this enough?
Absolutely not. However, it took the British monarchy more than 300 years to put women at an equal footing when succession laws changed. In comparison, we are doing rather well and our industry does have a very strong female voice.

Is work/life balance an issue at agencies?
Yes, it is tough having it all – particularly as a female. You have to learn to chip away at the hurdles and work through it. Delegation is a big part of it, I guess, as you can’t have your finger in every pie, but having people around whom you trust is really key to making things happen. I hate not being in control but, sometimes, to get that healthy work/life balance, that’s what you need to do.

Are women portrayed positively in advertising campaigns?
I think it’s getting better, but we’re not there yet. I think, as a physical representation, it’s not too terrible in campaigns today. It’s more subliminal in the targeting of those ads, so not obviously discriminating but they can often show the lack of shift.

What are your top three tips for women getting into the advertising business?
It’s never easy to plan these things, but think hard about when you envisage having children. If it’s fairly early on in your career, it could be much harder financially to then come back to work. Ensure you are super-organised. Having a family to look after, ensuring school work is done on time, managing a busy workplace and the added social lifestyle take super organisational skills. Don’t moan, just do. And grasp opportunities not just by asking but by demanding them.

Caitlin Ryan Executive creative director, Karmarama

Only 26 per cent of people in leadership roles in advertising are women (IPA Agency Census 2013). Is this enough?
No. It is up to those of us in leadership positions to make sure the pipeline is full and the blocks to staying in the industry are removed. Having a wife at home was once seen as a prerequisite to a man being promoted. It meant he could focus on the "job at hand". We need to enable our male and female talent to also focus on family, life, other interests. The hairy unanswered question is: in a service industry like ours, is it possible?

Is work/life balance an issue at agencies?
Yes, but I think it is changing. In most cases, childcare seems to still be the responsibility of the mother. I am constantly picking up on guys when they say they are going home to babysit their kids: "No, you’re not – you are taking your turn to look after your children." Until that mindset changes, it will be difficult for women with children to move up the agency ladder and compete for that next promotion. And it is difficult for men in our industry who want to do their share at home.

Are women portrayed positively in advertising campaigns?
No, not always. Not even most of the time. But the exciting thing is that, when women are portrayed positively in advertising, it cuts through and connects in a way that will surely pave the way for other brands to follow.

What are your top three tips for women getting into the advertising business?
Be interested in people and behaviour, not just ideas. Choose an agency that invests in and promotes women. Don’t be fooled by them telling you they do – look for evidence of it. Don’t hide your skirt under a pair of trousers.

Sue Unerman Chief strategy officer, MediaCom

Only 26 per cent of people in leadership roles in advertising are women (IPA Agency Census 2013). Is this enough?
No, and it isn’t changing fast enough. Gender diversity is good for business. When I started out, there were only a few women bosses, but we were sure that was going to change. It hasn’t changed enough. I have a feeling that it will only improve if businesses focus on changing the situation and work hard to create a culture where it is normal for women to rise through management.

Is work/life balance an issue at agencies?
Work/life balance is an issue if you do not create firm boundaries. This isn’t particularly a gender issue – although, when you have young children and you’re the mum, I think you’re essentially doing two full-time jobs. You can’t do everything; the key is to choose what you can do and do it well.

Are women portrayed positively in advertising campaigns?
Some are and some aren’t. Same as men. I think women are portrayed positively in good advertising campaigns, which doesn’t mean most advertising campaigns.

What are your top three tips for women getting into the advertising business?
If you agree to do something, then deliver it a bit better and a bit earlier than expected. Understand that you must promote your good work as well as do good work. Don’t expect to be managed. Understand that you must manage yourself as well as people up, across and down.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

More about

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Latest jobs Jobs web feed

Back to top ^