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This piece originally ran in the December edition of InterBusiness Issues, “Women of Influence.”
Marketing has a problem that no amount of clever headlines or beautiful imagery can sell. Up until 2014, only 3% of creative directors at advertising agencies were female and that number has grown to only 11% in recent months. Pair that knowledge with the fact that women account for 85% of all consumer purchases and you have a major disconnect within the advertising industry. Are we to assume that women are capable of buying, just not selling? Do we really believe that men can sell to women better than other women can?
It’s not that women aren’t working in the industry. An article in the New York Times shared that women far outnumber men in advertising agencies, accounting for 65.8 percent of the work force. Being present in the workforce, however, doesn’t translate to having a voice or leverage in leadership positions, especially within creative departments.
So how about your business? Does your industry have a similar percentage problem? As one of the 11%, I feel it is important to continue to push for change. It’s time for our 4-inch heels to bust through that glass ceiling so that capable people are put in leadership positions based on qualifications. We should all strive, regardless of where we work, to provide opportunities for all of our employees to grow, regardless of gender.
Unfortunately in the advertising industry, the days of Madmen are not yet behind us. But just as the Don Draper two-martini lunch doesn’t work today, neither does this talent gap at the top. You know the saying, “Don’t get mad, get even.” I proudly state that I am one Madwoman looking to get even…I would settle for 50%.