Are we there yet? Anomaly's Morgan Murray on gender bias

Every week, we ask industry insiders across all job levels and titles to share personal stories about equality, diversity and inclusion in adland. We know we're not there yet, but we want to document the highs and lows as the industry slowly transforms for the better.

Morgan Murray
Business director

Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem.

Despite much positive change over the past years, the holiday season always feels like a bit of a time capsule for stereotypical gender roles. From food ads featuring almost only mothers cooking and baking with kids (primarily girls) with men mostly absent from the kitchen to toys where the girls’ versions are predominantly pink or adorned in glitter unicorns. And, the same goes for gifting voice assistant technology that reinforces the female voice as the helper and assistant, not the boss or leader. We continue to create a world with products and messaging that shows we haven’t fixed the issues yet.

It's on us to be conscious of fixing gender bias every step of the way in our industry. From the voices we choose, to who we hire on set, to where we place our media, to the work we create. We set the standard for the way future generations perceive how women and men are 'supposed' to act.

How about something that proves we’re making progress?

I feel the conversation has shifted over the past months, it’s no longer about accusation and anger within the industry but rather figuring out ways that we can be part of the solution. We’ve realized that we can use our platform for good, by changing a history of misrepresentation.

In August, we launched Unreasonable Equals at Anomaly, which is our new global offering focused on helping brands drive gender equality in marketing and product innovation. And while this is an amazing step and testament to what Anomaly stands for and a vision for the future, what has been most encouraging and pretty damn exciting has been how clients, partners and employees have embraced the need to take action and change to drive gender equality. The number of coworkers, both male and female, who emailed me to offer their talents was incredible. Our client responses are less "should I do this?" and more "what can I or should I do?" That’s promising for what’s ahead. From addressing systemic issues that breed inequality early on to changing the way we depict women, brands want to do more and be better.

What else needs to be done to get there?

We have to challenge ourselves, coworkers, partners and clients to be a positive force in the gender equality movement by re-evaluating not only our large marketing efforts but also the small daily interactions with each other to assure that we are part of the solution.

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