Mind the gap

Issue 43 | June 2017

Jesus wept. There has been talk about diversity in advertising for twenty years. And guess what? Absolutely fu*k all has changed.

Same with the total lack of gender equality in creative departments.

Not only are most creative departments still massively white and male, what women there are earn 79% of what their hairy-chested peers are paid. (1)

There have been some interesting campaigns to try and restore a semblance of balance. And we’re featuring four of them here.

There have also been some interesting ideas using tech to try to raise awareness of behaviours and to change them.

Design company Doberman have created an app that uses AI to monitor and evaluate how women talk in meetings.

Why is this interesting? 

Well, Yale psychologist Victoria Brescoll found that women who spoke a lot in meetings were given 14% lower ratingsof competence.

Talkative men, on the other hand, were given 10% higher scores. (2)

The app, GenderEQ, monitors the percentages and reveals who talks most.

It isn’t going to solve the problem but it will get people talking about the problem and addressing their unconscious bias. 

Many women in advertising have tried to do something about gender disparity by simply being bloody good. 

Fay Weldon. Barbara Nokes. Joanna Wenley. Mary Wear. Tiger Savage.

More recently, Vicki Maguire, Kate Stanners, Emma de la Fosse, Caitlin Ryan, Nicky Bullard, Emma Perkins, Elspeth Lynn. 

Brilliant role models. Who spend many evenings giving advice, providing tuition, offering encouragement to other women. 

And now, a number of inspirational women and a man are doing more than talk about the issue. They are doing something about it.

In the USA, Ariana DeLuca, an art director at TBWA, has founded The Passionate Project.( 

In the UK, Ali Hanan founded Creative Equals ( and is forcing the pace of change with initiatives such as Returnships. These are placements for mothers to help ease them back into the business. 

The man is the perpetual motion machine otherwise known as Daniele Fiandaca, who created The Token Man ( to make senior male executives more aware of their unconscious bias. 

Daniele has written the comments to the case studies on the following pages. 

And then there is the whirlwind that is Laura Jordan-Bambach. A past President of D&AD and CCO of independent agency Mr. President, Laura founded SheSays ten years ago to help women take up careers as digital creatives. 

At Cannes in 2017, she is helping to bring the VOWSS showcase to the festival, a celebration of the work of women in film. 

Directory is proud to be able to give space to SheSays here and to offer what support we can to any organisation that is serious about bringing balance into creative departments anywhere and everywhere. 

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