Where ARE the boss women?

2018 marks 100 years of women’s suffrage. It’s also the year that the women and men of Hollywood stood up to its abusive, patriarchal system with their #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. So it’s only natural, therefore, that this year’s International Women’s Day campaign encourages us to propel the momentum with #PushForProgress.

Whilst strategies such as Johnnie Walker’s temporary name change to Jane Walker could be perceived as more of a gimmick than a movement, online database ‘Where Are The Boss Ladies?’ offers a searchable directory of ad agencies with women CEOs, presidents and managers with the view of linking people to their ‘next female boss or business partner’.

Others are going one step further in an attempt to ensure women within marketing and advertising are equally represented. Goods company Unilever are making a conscious effort to bridge the gender gap, with their pledge to ensure 50% of the startups they work with will be female-led by 2023. Whilst big brands such as Air BnB, M&C Saatchi and Visa have joined other ad agencies and brands in industry recognized pledge ‘Free The Bid’ to ensure at least one female director’s bid is included on every commercial job.

But there is still work to be done. This year’s CES broke the headlines in January with the news that, for the second year in a row, it featured no female keynote speakers. And gender inequality is something that a number of women at Prop have encountered throughout their careers, including our very own MCA 2015 Young Consultant of the Year winner Cynthia Bell, who gave her take on her personal experience, and the current climate as a whole.

We’re really lucky at Propaganda to have a strong, young, female Managing Director who sets the tone for an agency where position, reputation and opportunity is not informed by your age, sex or race, but by attitude, talent and drive. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case across our industry, as we still see a bias and male overrepresentation in senior, decision-maker roles. Throughout my career, I have resisted the urge to behave differently because of my age, race and gender, but I have often felt that I need to change a perception that might have been informed of me before I even speak.

However, things are changing! We are surrounded by driven, ambitious and inspiring women who are unafraid to ask for what they want and work hard to get it, and who are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve.’

So where do we go from here? Here at Propaganda, with a female MD at our helm and a number of senior female figures throughout the business, gender parity is something we are proud to not only support, but also deliver. We’re proud of the brilliant women we work alongside and those that we have the pleasure of working with, but the battle is far from being won. We are only too aware of the continuing work that needs to be done, both within our sector and further afield, to ensure that boss women across the globe are not just celebrated, they are the norm.