A few weeks ago, the Three Percent group held its sixth annual conference to talk about instances in which gender and race become an issue in the workplace.
The Three Percent Movement was created in order to address the staggering fact that only three percent of creative directors are women. The group is making it their mission to not only bring that number up to 50 percent, but to also put themselves out of business. They believe that only one group being responsible for marketing ideas is not good, considering that women make up a large majority of consumer spending.
According to their website, “Women influence upwards of 80 percent of consumer spending and 60 percent of social media sharing.” They also add that in a world where women are primary targets, not including women in creating advertising for them is business-suicide.
The Three Percent Movement said, “Through a mix of content, community, and professional development, we’ve helped raise the number of female CDs to 11 percent while giving agencies a clear road map to ways to champion female creative talent and leadership.” After all, why shouldn’t women become more involved in the marketing world?
The conference takes the movement’s mission one step farther by discussing the way women are treated in this so called “man’s world.” They also address how men can call out the unequal treatment of women in the workplace, sexism, and sexual harassment.
Since the movement formed, Gordon has found that out of the 31 agencies she has surveyed in the United States, 29 percent of their creative directors are women. While she is “cautiously optimistic” about these numbers, she also knows that sexism is still a big issue in the workplace. Gordon said, “Sexism is not only asking somebody to sleep with you. We’re getting at those subtle things — how much your firm is celebrating women, how much you’re giving them the stage to own the floor, to being in front of key clients, to participate in pitches.”
God-is Rivera, the Director of Inclusion and Cultural Resonance at VML, spoke at the conference as a panel moderator. She called out the fact that most people know what is going on in the workplace but fail to say anything about the unequal treatment women receive.
She said, “A lot of people with power knew what was happening and who was being hurt and just turned a blind eye. Men would be courageous and appreciated if they intervened at work in simple ways. Stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute, what’s that you said about her skirt? Or, ‘Why would you touch her like that?’ That takes courage.”
Some women like Cindy Gallop, a former advertising executive, said, “Sexual harassment is the single biggest issue our industry faces. It causes the ad world to hemorrhage vast amounts of talent, creativity and skills.”
Gallop also added, “Advertising as an industry’s primary target is women, we are the consumers of everything, the influencers of purchase of everything. And then, you look at the culture and how sexual harassment, which is a power play, keeps women out of creative leadership and creative departments.”
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