Last summer during lockdown I repeated my research with a range of women working in and studying advertising to investigate why we lose so many female students between creative education and creative departments. I compared and contrasted findings with my original 2017 research and it was shocking how little had changed, despite a focus on diversity in the advertising industry over the last 2 years. And the great news is the study was good enough to be published in the latest edition of Advertising and Society Quarterly.
New findings reveal the belief motherhood and a creative career are not compatible due to a lack of visible mothers in industry visits, talks, placements, and media. There were reports that this was a major consideration for many female students and junior creatives, and led to themselves or their peers choosing a different path. This study has also revealed some of the subtle language and behaviors inherent in the male-biased habitus of a creative department, which still covertly reinforce male domination and success in this space. From being referred to as “girls” and “angry lesbians,” to being spoken over in creative reviews, to gaining feedback aimed to reduce assertive behaviors, junior women felt they were being gradually forced to submit or being squeezed out. Informal networks, feedback, and social opportunities were also still in place that were more comfortable for men, and hence aided their career progression as much as it hindered their female peers.
Check out the full article here for free for the next couple of months: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/788615