You can’t ask agency folk to just do nothing, so it’s not surprising that, instead of simply staying away from the job for A Day Without a Woman, they’re getting, um, creative.
At Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco, staffers hung red fabric in the office windows in honor of International Women’s Day, which coincides with "A Day Without a Woman," a movement protesting gender inequality with work strikes around the world. Women’s March On Washington, organizer of the day, have asked women to wear red, symbolizing "revolutionary love and sacrifice," according to the org.
In solidarity, the San Francisco-based agency offered male and female staff the opportunity to take the day off and updated its website to show what the agency would look like without its female staff, which comprises 50 percent of the workforce, as well as half of the leadership team.
"As a culture, we’ve always strived for equality, which is reflected in the composition of our leadership team," said Margaret Johnson, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Goodby Silverstein & Partners. "Celebrating 'A Day Without A Woman,' which is dedicated to equality, aligns exactly with our values."
The San Francisco agency isn’t the only ad shop showing support for "A Day Without a Woman." Los Angeles agency Zambezi is closed for the day to allow staff to participate. Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness reportedly has organized a noon walkout, while Chicago’s Paco Collective will be closed for the day.
Staff from New York-based digital shop 360i will also be marching in support.
When the general strike was announced, 360i’s Melissa Stammer, a senior art director, and Amy Werblin, a copywriter, created the #EqualVoices initiative to acknowledge that not every woman has paid time off and flexible hours like they do. The agency website’s opening splash page contains a form inviting women to explain why they can’t participate and asking the agency to "speak for me." Employees made signs to carry during marches and events bearing the name of the woman they’re marching for. The office is right on the parade route, so staffers can just join the march as it passes by.
The agency reports that close to 60 percent of its staff is female, with 50 percent of director-level and above jobs being held by women. CMO Abbey Klaassen says 360i values diversity, and it’s come organically. "When you reward people on a job well done, women have the opportunity to thrive," she said.
Klaassen said she didn’t know how many faces would be missing on Wednesday, but added, "We have said that, whatever you do, let’s use #EqualVoices to give greater amplification to folks who unfortunately are in a position where they can’t even make the choice."