All too often in Adland, you will find yourself in an oestrogen-free zone. When it comes to celebrating excellence in creativity across the board, and in the boardroom, there still seems to be a real lack of female visibility. For 2015, I hope to see greater numbers of kick-ass women taking their place in the spotlight throughout the industry.
This year did see some positive steps in the right direction. For instance, to redress the imbalance the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity set up innovative mentoring programme for women, See It Be It. As Cannes Lions representative for the Netherlands, along with my rep partner Leendert Mulder, I am delighted to see such concerted advances being taken by such an influential powerhouse.
As the Lions Festivals director of brand strategy, Senta Slingerland says: "For years, we have been observing the gender imbalance in the industry, and we knew that now is the time to actually do something to redress this, rather than talk about it. We want agencies to really think about the women they have in their networks and what they can do to keep and grow them."
Another example is SheSays, a global creative network for women led by an inspirational group including Mr President creative partner, Laura Jordan Bambach. FinchFactor got involved earlier this year and set up the Amsterdam chapter. It has been an eye-opener to organise the two first SheSays Amsterdam events, championing the development and support of women in digital, marketing and advertising.
However, despite us all knowing brilliantly talented women in the industry, heading up creativity at major agencies, these are firmly the exception, rather than the rule. Even in 2014. When you take a long, hard look at the statistics, they make shocking reading. Analysis carried out by Cannes Lions found that women in creative roles under the age of 28 make up 15 per cent of festival delegates, while those over the age of 28 make up just four per cent – a figure that closely matches the statistic that just three per cent of creative directors worldwide are female.
With these figures in mind it is heartening that 30 per cent of Cannes Lions jury members are women this year, which represents a rise of 10 per cent over the 2013 figure.
Let’s keep on moving for 2015. My wish to Santa (and my loud and clear message to Adland) is to see a better balance and support for women in the industry. It goes without saying that this is not just something that is good for women – it’s good for all of us. Chief Creative Officer of Grey London, Nils Leonard is spot on when saying: “The perfect modern creative is a woman. Because we have enough men, and men like it the way it is right now”.
Kerrie Finch is Founder of FinchFactor