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The future is you, and you, and you

The future is you, and you, and you

Adriana Palanca

Adriana Palanca

March 8, 2018

The future is you, and you, and you

"Enabling women greater access to higher positions doesn’t mean less for you."

Femmes en créa, which translates to Women Creatives in English, launched in November 2017. The founders—four female creatives, including two from Havas Montréal—have one mission: to create better opportunities for their peers. They strive to promote the creative work of women and mentor junior talent who need role models.

But although there has been more conversation in recent months about women’s professional development, less has been done—especially in the advertising industry. So even if we have more prolific messages of girl power, a woman’s ability to move from the lower ranks to positions of power still stalls.

The good news it that there are a growing number of movements, started by industry influencers such as Cindy Gallop, including the 3% Conference and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media. Movements like these have improved the numbers. In 2008, just three percent of the world’s creative directors were female, and that figure has since tripled to 11 percent. However, when you consider that women make up almost 50 percent of those working in the advertising industry, that gain is not as satiating.

The situation isn’t much different when we focus our attention on Québec, where women account for nearly 60% of highly skilled workers in advertising, but the executive suite is still comprised of 77.4% who are men.

If you’re a man reading this and you just rolled your eyes at the numbers, ready to dismiss it with a “it’s not that bad”, remember two things. First, if the situation were reversed, you would be livid right now. Second, enabling women greater access to higher positions doesn’t mean less for you. Rather, it ensures more for everyone.

In fact, studies have shown that having women in leadership roles benefits the whole company. Beyond the fact that it leads to more creative problem solving, female executives are perceived as being more collaborative and as great mentors. Having more female leaders also correlates with increased profitability. And no one rolls their eyes at more money.

"The truth is, until we start working together, things won’t improve."

The Femmes en créa movement is absolutely working toward making this industry a happier and more fulfilling place for everyone. It turns out, everyone is also key to making that happen—women and men. More specifically, if we want to see our agencies become healthier and more viable workplaces, then solidarity is necessary.

So what does that look like?

Women supporting women, whether it’s direct mentorship or offering a kind shoulder and solid advice when you need a stress cry.

Men supporting women, by including them in more activities, outwardly demonstrating respect for what we do, and even asking us for advice.

Women supporting men, by becoming more directly involved in the process, adding new angles to every conversation, and encouraging them to embrace new roles and responsibilities

Men supporting men, by not upholding unrealistic and outdated standards of masculinity—in advertising and in the boardroom.

The truth is until we start working together, things won’t improve. We can’t—and don’t want to—do it on our own. Considering our industry’s high rate of burnout and addiction to long hours, greater equality could actually improve our work environment by reducing overall stress and stimulating a sense of belonging for all. And since happy creatives make better creative, our clients and consumers will also feel the benefits.

"Enabling women greater access to higher positions doesn’t mean less for you."

Femmes en créa, which translates to Women Creatives in English, launched in November 2017. The founders—four female creatives, including two from Havas Montréal—have one mission: to create better opportunities for their peers. They strive to promote the creative work of women and mentor junior talent who need role models.

But although there has been more conversation in recent months about women’s professional development, less has been done—especially in the advertising industry. So even if we have more prolific messages of girl power, a woman’s ability to move from the lower ranks to positions of power still stalls.

The good news it that there are a growing number of movements, started by industry influencers such as Cindy Gallop, including the 3% Conference and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media. Movements like these have improved the numbers. In 2008, just three percent of the world’s creative directors were female, and that figure has since tripled to 11 percent. However, when you consider that women make up almost 50 percent of those working in the advertising industry, that gain is not as satiating.

The situation isn’t much different when we focus our attention on Québec, where women account for nearly 60% of highly skilled workers in advertising, but the executive suite is still comprised of 77.4% who are men.

If you’re a man reading this and you just rolled your eyes at the numbers, ready to dismiss it with a “it’s not that bad”, remember two things. First, if the situation were reversed, you would be livid right now. Second, enabling women greater access to higher positions doesn’t mean less for you. Rather, it ensures more for everyone.

In fact, studies have shown that having women in leadership roles benefits the whole company. Beyond the fact that it leads to more creative problem solving, female executives are perceived as being more collaborative and as great mentors. Having more female leaders also correlates with increased profitability. And no one rolls their eyes at more money.

"The truth is, until we start working together, things won’t improve."

The Femmes en créa movement is absolutely working toward making this industry a happier and more fulfilling place for everyone. It turns out, everyone is also key to making that happen—women and men. More specifically, if we want to see our agencies become healthier and more viable workplaces, then solidarity is necessary.

So what does that look like?

Women supporting women, whether it’s direct mentorship or offering a kind shoulder and solid advice when you need a stress cry.

Men supporting women, by including them in more activities, outwardly demonstrating respect for what we do, and even asking us for advice.

Women supporting men, by becoming more directly involved in the process, adding new angles to every conversation, and encouraging them to embrace new roles and responsibilities

Men supporting men, by not upholding unrealistic and outdated standards of masculinity—in advertising and in the boardroom.

The truth is until we start working together, things won’t improve. We can’t—and don’t want to—do it on our own. Considering our industry’s high rate of burnout and addiction to long hours, greater equality could actually improve our work environment by reducing overall stress and stimulating a sense of belonging for all. And since happy creatives make better creative, our clients and consumers will also feel the benefits.

Adriana Palanca is communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in copywriting and web writing.

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