Today is International Women’s Day and we join people around the world celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
A global event – marked in the West since 1977 – International Women’s Day aims to be a catalyst for greater change for women, moving us closer to gender parity.
Advertising plays a big part in setting cultural norms and we’re encouraged that in the last few years there’s been a marked shift from messaging that tells women ‘you’re not good enough, until you’ve changed yourself’, to a sense of ‘find your power and use it’.
We’re proud to work with clients like Mooncup, who have been chipping away at the shame associated with periods since 2002. Our latest campaign for Mooncup calls on women to ‘own their period’ – with a witty ‘period drama’ highlighting the hassle of using disposables.
But there’s a long way to go – for every ‘This Girl Can’ there’s a Protein World poster. And stats released yesterday by Engine group –who surveyed 1000 women over the last 12 months – suggest 76% of women don’t see themselves in advertising.
Which just isn’t good business sense: there’s evidence that women actively choose products because they liked how their ads portray women. Sales at Dove have reportedly soared from $2.5bn to $4bn in the decade since it launched ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’.
The official theme of today is ‘Women in the changing world of work’. Working towards a 50:50 planet by 2030, we are asked to #beboldforchange and call on ourselves and others to forge a more gender inclusive working world.
We are fortunate to live and work in one of the most diverse and open cities on the planet, and in an industry that is largely gender neutral. But as people progress through the advertising ranks, the proportion of females declines. And the creative department is an outlier, with most made up of 75% males, while 10% are completely male. Meanwhile only 14% of creative directors in London (and 11% globally) are female.
We’re proud that St Luke’s’ creative department is 50:50 male:female, as is our Operational Board. Gender diversity is proven to lead to greater profitability, it is perhaps one of the reasons why we have been one of the leading creative agencies in terms of profitability in recent years.
We are building a nurturing environment that allows everyone to be the best they can be. The focus of our training over the last 12 months has been on personal development rather than craft skills – with all front line staff receiving one-on-one coaching. And last week we were delighted to host DAWN – the Digital Advertising Women’s Network – in their first event of the year, where we discussed ‘Confidence and how to take control’, with a fantastic panel including our very own CEO, Neil Henderson as their first ever male speaker.
So lots to celebrate and lots more to do. If you’re looking for inspiration on what you can do next – here 15 influential women nominate a crucial next step towards equality.