Today, there was a conference at GSD&M to bring attention to the small amount of women in the upper divisions of creative and advertising careers (hence the name). It’s actually a part of a larger conference series which will culminate in San Francisco later this year.
A lot of it is due to the child-rearing years, but as the keynote speaker Kat Gordan said, if we change expectations in the work place then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for women to break through the glass ceiling we seem to have partially set for ourselves as a gender. She asked (and answered) questions like “When did creative agencies become sweat shops?” “Why is it a boy’s club/why does it cater to men?” (she mentioned the Cleo Awards’ campaign this year) “If women are the majority of social media users and shoppers, why do ads seem to be mostly geared towards men? And the ads that are geared towards women are heavy-handed and usually have to do with cleaning products or beauty.” Apparently women make up the majority of social media users (with the exception of LinkedIn) and gamers!
I had not planned to see anyone I knew at this event, but I ended up running into many former classmates and coworkers, so that was a great surprise. I met some really great people, and also reconnected with some acquaintances (some that I saw as recently as Monday at the AIGA: Finding Work event). And there was a slightly surprising amount of men there, which was rightfully recognized by the speakers and crowd.
Here are some great (sorta out-of-context) soundbites from the panelists:
“It’s okay to fart in front of us.” (when talking about how women and men can get along in the workplace without a filter)
-Stefani Zellmer, with Zeehive
“…being a creative director is a cross between a cheerleader and an orchestra director.”
“And I asked ‘Oh, when was this work done?’ And it was when I was out of town. And that’s when I stopped helping.”
-Scott McAfee, with Sanders Wingo
“Less foozeball.” (jokingly said when asked what should change about the industry)
-Carlotta Stankievicz, with GSD&M
Images used with permission from 620 Studio.