Women’s History Month has always, kind of by definition, been a time of looking back. Four weeks, out of 52, when the successes of our sisters are celebrated. A time of gender-studies classes organizing panel discussions. A period when we are allowed to say, "Look at us! Look what we did!" to anyone who was listening.
If anyone was listening.
This year is different. This year we are making history, not just looking at it. The Women’s March, She Should Run, #MeToo, Time's Up, the young women (and men) of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Women are rising, without competition, without judgment, focusing on what we can do for each other, how we can help one another, saying things have got to change, and they are going to change, right now. In my lifetime, there has not been a more exciting time to be a woman. And not just my lifetime, Helen Mirren said in the March 2 edition of the New York Times, "…the only thing that makes me think, God, I wish I was 18 now, is that 18-year-olds now are coming into a very different world."
It is also a really powerful time to be a woman in advertising. We all have stories, some vastly more horrifying than others, but now instead of keeping them to ourselves or whispering to only our closest colleagues with an emphatic "don’t tell anyone" lest a reputation be created, a story not believed, or a backlash released, now we are talking. Instagram account @dietmadisonavenue, while controversial, is making sure the conversation stays afloat. Time’s Up Advertising ensures 180 female agency leaders have our backs. And The 3% Conference (founded the same year we started our creative agency, Fancy), continues to push for equality in creative departments, while wherearethebossladies.com keeps track of how close we are getting. More and more groups are starting every day.
Personally, it is the best time to work with the amazing and talented, fun and funny collection of powerful ladies in our business to create advertising that speaks to the truths of gender equality, diversity and inclusion. As an 100 percent woman-owned and operated boutique, we hope that in our own small way, we make a big difference in the voice and look of all advertising. We are determined. There is no arguing that the influence, social stature and economic power of women is evolving at a rapid rate. As this movement gains more momentum, we could not be more determined and ready to support and empower women in every way we can.
So, I don’t look at this as Women’s History Month. I see it as Making Women’s History Month.
It is not just a month, everybody, it is a movement.
Stand up or stand out of the way. This is happening.
Katie Keating is co-founder and creative director at Fancy, based in New York City.