If you start an agency today with a bunch of all white male founders, you will never own the future
Speaking at the 3% Conference in London last week Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.com and the jury president of the new Glass Lion at Cannes, said: "The new creativity is female-informed, it is driving new thinking about the talent we recruit and the way we operate around the world."
In her rallying cry to a consistently backward industry Gallop explained that women challenge the status quo "because we are never it". She argued that the advertising industry is '"spectacularly failing" to capitalise on female talent.
She explained: "Our industry is leaving a huge pool of talent and a huge pool of money on the table; women are the primary purchasers in most categories." Women also hold a great deal influence on social media channels as "we are the talkers the gossipers and recommenders social media enables us to share the shit out if everything. There is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously," she added.
She also warned that If you start an agency today with a bunch of all white male founders, you will never own the future. Arguing that white male creative directors still don't believe that young male creatives will accept women as their role models or partners.
In a bid to address these issues here are 5 ways to challenge the status quo and change the ratio in the male-dominated world of advertising;
A man will say ‘I know 30% and I can bullshit the rest’, a woman will say ‘I know 99.9% - that's not enough’
According to Gallop, women who don't self promote are letting us all down. She explains: "The reason women refuse to speak on panels must be challenged. A man will say ‘I know 30% and I can bullshit the rest’, a woman will say ‘I know 99.9% - that's not enough’."
She adds: "Bullshit, delegate, get your husband to look after the kids, we need you to be there, we cannot be what you cannot see."
The optimum number [of women on boards] is 3 or more, so companies need to hire large numbers of women immediately
Having no women on your board is outrageous; but having one token women is not enough to generate meaningful change. Gallop points to a Harvard study on the number of women necessary to promote meaningful change.
She claims that the study reinforced the fact that tokenism is useless, explaining: "When you are one woman, you won't enforce change. The optimum number is 3 or more, so companies need to hire large numbers of women immediately.
She adds "It is not a problem being hired because you are a woman; all around you there are mediocre men who have just been hired because they are men."
Manage out the negativity
[Sexism] is what every young women in our industry go through it is a fact of life in our industry
Increasing investment in female talent is also key to tackling toxic working environments. Gallop explains: "Sexual harassment is a by-product of this male culture. [Sexism] is what every young women in our industry go through it is a fact of life in our industry."
However, she counters that once companies achieve true 50/50 environments women are no longer seen as the secretary or a potential girlfriend.
Embrace shared values
When brands and business comes together with their business and audiences around shared values, they will thrive. Gallop explains: "The future of business is doing good; social responsibility is to be integrated into business in order to succeed."
Today's marketing is co-creation and the future is co-action
Gallop urges brands to embrace micro-actions everyday, explaining: "Today's marketing is co-creation and the future is co-action. Brands are the sum of their actions."
Empower women with creative freedom
According to Gallop one of the key factors holding women back in the creative industries is the fact Women are hired on proof, while men are hired on their potential. She adds: "this is why women don't get the creative freedom they deserve and when women are given creative freedom, you get fantastic results.
All too often sensible women look at the top of the industry and see a bunch of white guys talking to each other think 'who the fuck would want to work like that?'
She also dismisses the notion that women are dropping out of the creative industries because of the ‘mummy trap’. She explains: "All too often sensible women look at the top of the industry and see a bunch of white guys talking to each other think 'who the fuck would want to work like that?' and they leave."
Addressing the omnipresent issue of flexibility, Gallop declared that men and women want to change the way we work, to spend more time with their children and the industry has the capacity to change.
Inspiring though Gallop might be, the daily strain of working in sexist, slow and hierarchical businesses can make the task of challenging and changing the ratio too great.
If you are working somewhere where you can't disrupt and innovate, get the fuck out
GTFO (Get the Fuck Out)
Gallop explains: "The systems, processes and structure of our industry are based on a linear model. Everything has changed but the systems and processes have remained the same. If you are working somewhere where you can't disrupt and innovate, get the fuck out."
She advises women that the next job you take should be the "one you create". Adding: "Fear of what other people think is the most paralysing thing in life. You will never own the future if you care what people think."