Last week I had the fortune of attending an event about gender inequality in the creative industry: The Lost Girls. It. Was. Eye opening.
Curated and hosted by Kathryn Ellis, she presented key findings from her research on the gender split in the creative industry.
It’s obviously a hot topic and industry bodies like The IPA publish stats and analytics every year which show the same thing… little change. Doh.
“70% of young female creatives are working in a 75% male-dominated department”
…so it’s unsurprising that…
“91% of female consumers feel advertisers don’t understand them”
…but then when you’re reminded that…
“Females make 85% of all purchasing decisions, yet are woefully underrepresented in creative jobs in advertising”
…Face Palm. This begs the question, WHY???
See The Guardian for the full source on those quotes above.
Ali Hanan put it really well when she described Kathryn’s Lost Girls research: “FINALLY here’s a bit of research that clearly explains WHY” in relation to there being such a vast difference in the amount of men vs women in different roles (like creative) and different seniority (like c-suite and management). It included things such as a lack of female role models, lack of family-friendly policies, hiring ‘people like me’, putting greater value on masculine traits, poor work/life balance, male-focussed out of work activities like male only five-a-side football and more.
The presentation also shared HOW you can take action to influence change. So take a proper look (especially if you’re a bloke, or in a position of power, it’s your duty) at Kathryn Ellis’ site, Lost Girls, which explains and shares real tangible things you can do right now – both things you can do as an educator but also as an agency or even an individual.
I was impressed with the results and all the speakers were excellent. Sufia Parkar, Head of Talent at McCann know’s her agency isn’t yet perfect and gave an honest and open account of the efforts her company is doing to make a more diverse workforce. Ali Hanan, Founder of Creative Equals, reeled off extensive evidence of inequality in the creative industry – not just gender – and demonstrated proof of how diversity makes financial, economic, BUSINESS sense. And lastly Fabiana, President of She Says LDN and female creative in the industry, shared a bit about what she’s doing to create a sport network around women in our industry.
“I did everything I could to get men to this event, almost 70% of the people invited were male” – Kathryn Ellis
But it was clear only 3 men, out of about 60 women in the room, actually showed up.
I spent much of the evening simply listening, taking notes and asking myself (from the point of view of a man) why men didn’t show up, and my theory is that we as men are Unconsciously Ignorant to gender diversity in the workplace. It’s easy for any person not to see a problem if it doesn’t affect them, we are unconscious to the issue.
In an unconscious state, it’s not really our fault (unless we become conscious) and we can’t really do anything about it… (wait for it)… UNTIL we become Conscious of it. Exposure, education and knowledge helps anything move from our Unconscious to our Conscious, so men should seek greater exposure to conversation about gender diversity. And women who are already conscious could seek to invite and expose men (and women) who are Unconsciously Ignorant to gender diversity.
Once people are Conscious of a problem, it becomes very difficult to stay ignorant of it, so then I believe we each need to share more actionable ideas from the likes of Kathryn’s Lost Girls research to inspire people away from Unconscious Ignorance and towards Conscious Action.
What men can do to educate and gain greater exposure on gender diversity:
- Listen, listen, listen some more. THEN speak if you have to.
- Ask your employees their opinion on gender diversity (and as a whole)
- Say YES to the events about gender diversity
- Seek out knowledge gaps by attending/reading things you normally wouldn’t
- Express an opinion on gender diversity (there’s no wrong or right answer)
- Ensure every person (regardless of gender) has a voice in your meetings
- Seek to employ a more diverse workforce
Would LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments on gender diversity in the marketing industry in the comments below, especially if you have a more exposed point of view.
YesMore Agency are building an agency with diversity in mind from the ground up. We’re trying to gather as many opinions, and trailing as many suggestions as possible. We’ve already implemented flexible and remote working as standard to create a more family-friendly and stress-free working environment, BUT we need and want to hear more about what others are doing and suggesting. Please share your views below, love ya!