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.