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For the third year, we’re running our double page spread on the industry’s next 30 future leaders withCampaign Magazine. This is a chance for your rising stars in UX, creative, tech, design, branding, copy and art direction be  in a lush double page spread - it's career fuel and gives your talent the recognition they deserve. 

Who will you put forward?
Nominate her here.

Five ways to get more female creatives to the top in advertising – Ali Hanan in Creative Review today

If you do a Google Image search for ‘advertising creative director’, this is what comes up:


It’s the ‘face’ of the industry: white, male, in black T-shirts. But does it have to be this way? Here, Ali Hanan, creative director and founder of Creative Equals, offers five practical suggestions for how we can get more women to the top.

Currently, writes Ali Hanan, only 11% of the world’s advertising creative directors are female. A recent study shows 70% of female creatives work in a department with a 75-25% male to female spilt. So as a female creative in your first job, you’re often the token woman in the corner.

And, as you look up, there are few female creative directors to mentor you. In London, only 14% of creative directors are women, which is maybe why 90% of young female creatives say they lack role models, according to the study by the Young Creative Council and Creative Equals, a new initiative to tackle the gender divide. Studies show men tend to mentor junior male talent or ‘people like me’, so male talent is earmarked for leadership roles early on – and with so few female creative mentors, young female talent misses out.

So how do we change as an industry? Here are five key areas we can tackle now.

1. Put female creatives on juries – and on stage

Look at many of the jury panels in the industry. Some you’ll see with a few ‘token’ women judges or in worst-case scenarios no women at all. Creative Equals is calling for all juries and awards speakers to be as balanced as possible and that imagery from the event needs to reflect diversity (to see it at its worst, check the Tumblr Too Many Guys One Girl, which has received some media attention of late). One of the reasons given for not having female judges is so few women are ‘known names’. This creates a double bind. If they’re never seen, they’re never ‘known’.

As ECD of Cheil, Caitlyn Ryan, says: “There is little point being the only different voice or view in the room – it needs to be closer to 50/50. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the most awarded work in our industry is usually sports brands, beer and or male grooming products. Ads that are made by and for young men. Guess who’s judging the work – young men. Perhaps men should start refusing to sit on juries where there is less than at least 30% women.”

And Little Black Book takes up the story : Creative Equals talks to Creative Circle

Changing The Ratio: Why We Still Have a Long Way to Go in Achieving Gender Equality – Little Black Book

Creative Equals want to change the ratio, creating more pathways to success for female talent. From hiring, to mentoring within agencies, Creative Equals are encouraging the industry to be proactive about making change and engage with their charter, in the hope that affiliated companies will become the industry standard for fairness and equality.

Creative Circle CEO Jeremy Green recently stated that it’s time for the industry to nurture and invest in the next generation. We need to identify talent and ensure that the correct pathways are in place to allow for potential to be fulfilled as people rise up through the industry. Let’s start with changing the ratio.

Read the whole article at Little Black Book Online.

‘Tis the season to #maketheleap

Campaign IPA  #MakeTheLeap


Passing on another initative that’s getting a lot of press at the moment: Adam & Eve/DDB #maketheleap. The agencies, backed by IPA, Tiwtter & Campaign challenged agencies and media owners to use the extra day in Feb to pledge for change on 4 specific diversity targets:
• 40 per cent female representation in senior positions by 2020;
• 15 per cent black, Asian and minority-ethnic representation in senior positions by 2020;
• to eliminate unconscious bias through training;
• to raise awareness of flexible or agile working policies.

All really well needed targets and the more people urging agencies to take action and stop the hand-wringing the better. Certainly the first and third are two that are very much embedded within the Creative Equals offering – proof that it’s active change across the board that we’re in need of.

Loved the use of the day traditionally given to women taking action to encourage those in positions of power to do the same.

So take a look at #maketheleap have a read and become familiar with the requests – how does your agency stack up against the targets?

Digging deeper into how to activate the pledges takes you to the IPA, using their know-how and training bank to support the agencies and ensure that change can happen.

None of the solutions currently offered seemed to speak directly about getting more women to the top, so we look forward to finding out how target number 1 is supported within this. As our primary focus we’re looking for some actionable support to tackle this and (ever hopeful!) having spoken with IPA a lot of late and gained their support we’ll be offering our expertise as part of the solution.

Here’s to hitting 2020 in style.

Excited to have our first piece in The Drum!

Diversity initiative Creative Equals provides two free places on IPA Foundation Certificate course.

Excited to have our first piece of press in The Drum, about our sponsored training initiative – two fab female creatives now have free places on IPA Foundation Course.

Creative Equals, a new advertising industry action plan initiative to create gender diverse creative departments, has provided two free places on the IPA’s Foundation Certificate course, sponsored by Major Players. 

This certificate is usually only open to member agencies, but art directors Ellen Wright and Holly Hunter (pictured), candidates chosen by Scarlett Montanaro and Charlotte Khushi of the Young Creative Council, are now on their way to obtaining one of the industry’s benchmark qualifications.

AnalogFolk, Mr President and JWT are among the agencies already signed up to Creative Equals, which wants agencies to create tangible action plans and pathways for female creative talent.

Ali Hanan, founder of Creative Equals, said: "We plan to provide training, mentoring and support to help more women come into creative departments and stay. We believe - as an industry - we need to pick up young female talent faster."

"Right now, just 14 per cent of London's creative directors are female. This is just one of many tangible things we can do to tackle the lack of female creatives."

And the Huff Post too! Five Statistics That Show Why Young Female Creatives Drop Out of Adland

Scarlett - taking our message to Huffington Post. 


Young Creative Council and Creative Equals noticed that there seems to be an even number of girls and boys in advertising courses, yet few of them make it into the industry. Why are they dropping out before they've even got past the first hurdle? Is it so awful that they turn and run during their first internships?

I don't need to tell you why this is a terrible thing but more women in advertising means more women in the workforce, more women represented fairly in the media and more women going on to become C-Suite, money making superheroes. If they drop out before they've signed their first contract the future looks bleak.

Charlotte Kushi and I, working on behalf of the YCC partnered with Ali Hanan of Creative Equals to release a survey to find out exactly what was causing it. Here's what we found.

1. 88% of young female creative say they lack role models
Without visible role models in the industry, there are few paths to follow. I know this only too well from my own experiences in agencies.

2. 70% of young female creatives have never worked with a female creative director or executive creative director

'With so few mentors within a business, young female creatives aren't given the right skills, advice and tools get their careers on an upward trajectory,' says Charotte Khushi, lead at the Young Creative Council, 'which is why young female creatives need mentors to not only help them but supply a vision of where their careers could lead.'

Creative Equals Ali Hanan takes the message to The Guardian readers

The Young Creative Council (@YC) & Creative Equals (@creativeequal) have been tackling how the ad industry fails women. 

Five facts that show how the advertising industry fails women

Females make 85% of all purchasing decisions, yet are woefully underrepresented in creative jobs in advertising.

Women are the most powerful consumers on the planet, making 85% of all purchasing decisions. Across any sector you can think of – technology, cars, houses, pharmaceuticals – women hold the household purse strings.

In the advertising industry, however, there are very few female creative directors making the adverts that women see. In 2008, just 3.6% of the world’s creative directors were female. Since then it has tripled to 11%; in London, my research shows, the figure is about 14% – still shockingly low.

Unsurprisingly, according to research, 91% of female consumers feel advertisers don’t understand them. Seven in 10 women go further to say they feel “alienated” by advertising. Men overwhelmingly dominate creative departments and their output, which can’t be good for creativity, audiences or the way adland solves business issues.

I know this firsthand, having worked as a creative director in the industry for 15 years. Over that time female representation in creative departments has barely changed: I can the count the female executive creative directors I know on my fingers. That’s why I founded Creative Equals, an initiative to provide more pathways to critical leadership roles for female creatives, by tackling culture change with charters for industry, recruitment and agencies.

To discover how the lack of female creative leads affects young women coming into the industry, we put out a survey with the Young Creative Council, an organisation supporting young creatives coming into the industry. The results say it all.

1) 88% of young female creatives say they lack role models

If you flick through the industry magazines you’ll see very few senior female faces. We’re asking award shows to consider split-gender judging panels, diverse speakers and to make sure images in the press are consciously diverse. This month, two of the industry’s organisations, Creative Circle and the British Interactive Media Association have signed up to these pledges.