The 3 Percent Conference Aims to Get More Women in Top Creative Agency Positions
At the Intercontinental Hotel today in San Francisco, the 3% Conference kicked off with a keynote by Cindy Gallop. The conference, as the title would indicate, addresses the fact that just 3% of creative directors are women. Gallop launched right into the unbalanced situation that exists in advertising agency creative departments especially, as she notes, since 90 percent of all electronics purchases are influenced by women. And that was just one of several categories given as an example.
Of most creative work that features women, Gallop said, "We are being played back through the male gaze." In her charge to urge the industry to make the necessary changes needed to transform the workplace into one that benefits women as well as men, Gallop knocked Rachel Thomas' Lean In Movement which, she claims, focuses more on helping women excel within existing corporate structure when what's really needed is wholesale change in the structure that currently caters to men.
Perhaps moving towards that wholesale change, VML Chief Creative Officer Debbi Vandeven said her agency starts coaching Millennial staff early in their careers with the goal of preparing them to exit and then re-enter the workforce. And San Francisco-based Eleven has teamed with the Miami Ad School on a program which aims to get women back into the workforce after having children.
Making note of something that should have been in place long ago, 3 Percent Conference Founder Kat Gordon said female representation/diversity issues should be addressed upfront in the creative brief so there are no "where are the women/men" issues later in the process.
And in an effort to switch up the legacy of predominantly male jury members at most awards shows, the Art Directors Club' Ignacio Oreamuno has launched a program with the goal of insuring 50/50, male/female representation on juries. Whether or not that happens, time will tell but he says most organizations, including Cannes, have agreed to talk.