Advertising Agencies: Seven Steps to Save a Sister

Want to re-balance the gender split in your creative department by attracting the brightest young women studying creative advertising in the UK? Or simply want to give a creative sister support? Here are some easy things you can do:

  1. Keep up to date on the current information and debate around gender asymmetry in UK advertising creative departments by signing up to the Lost Girls feed.
  2. If you’re a successful woman, and particularly a successful mum, working in a creative role raise your profile. Get Tweeting, sharing, article writing and public speaking. Most female students I interviewed could not name one female creative director, and most thought having a family and a creative career could not be done. Young women need role models, and it’s our duty to provide them. Get out there, talk about your work, work you like and your experience.
  3. Connect with the top creative advertising educators in the country. Offer yourself up as a guest lecturer or a mentor to inspire the next generation of female talent. Higher education is crying out for people in industry to hold workshops, set briefs and critique student work.
  4. Lend a hand to one of the great organisations who are already tackling gender asymmetry in creative departments and supporting female talent. Maybe you could provide soft skills training, give a talk, attend a networking event, become a mentor, give a female friendly portfolio critique or hook up with female students looking for placements. Check out:
  5. Get girls in permanently or on placement, and when you do give them training on the stuff they really need to stay put. Their work may be ace, but when questioned young women are more likely to say they lack confidence in selling themselves. Get them training in how to be resilient and confident little self-promoters.
  6. Mix up your teams. The most progressive creative departments are doing this already. Break up same sex teams. Get different people to work together on different projects. Mash up pairs from diverse backgrounds, with different personalities and specialisms, so they challenge one another. Assign leadership roles to the most unlikely candidates. No one works in the same traditional art director and copywriter team their whole life anymore.
  7. Balance the work you show as inspiration to your teams. You may do this unconsciously but be sure there is a conscious effort to include some work by women, or with a strong female voice, in the great examples you share. Use stuff where women are the protagonists, where there are realistic representations of women or that shows true insight into what it’s like to be a woman.

Download – Advertising Agencies: Seven Steps to Save a Sister