Out of more than 450 speakers at this year's Cannes Lions festival, only 130 speakers are female. While the festival has asked for the industry to put diverse speakers forward, those applying to speak or being put forward by clients and agencies are a long way off reaching gender parity.
In a bid to address this imbalance, Creative Equals is asking those who have a speaking slot to #SharetheSpotlight and ask for some of the male speakers to invite their female peers or colleagues to join them. They will also ask male speakers at the festival to nominate who they would have asked on their stage.
Ali Hanan, chief executive of Creative Equals, said: "We hope the industry will take note and take action to move this figure to 50% by 2018. It’s a small step, but it makes a huge difference."
Jess Greenwood, vice-president of content and partnerships at R/GA, added: "We get paid to understand what’s happening in culture. In this context: a line-up of all white men isn’t just boring, it’s embarrassing. It says our industry doesn’t understand the value of different perspectives, or the ways in which women and people of colour are changing other industries. It says we’ve failed to evolve."
So far, Creative Equals has the support of senior male leaders who are on a 50:50 stage, either in the Palais or at one of the festival’s fringe events. These include Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP; Chris Clarke, chief creative officer of DigitasLBi; and Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network.
The idea for the campaign came from Kat Hahn, creative strategist at Facebook, and has been brought to life by Tasha Thomas and Cara Dawson, a creative team at R/GA.