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Championing Women in Animation and Advertising

Trends and Insight 238 Add to collection

NERD Founder Milana Karaica celebrates the people and platforms that are helping fix the industry's diversity issue

Championing Women in Animation and Advertising

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we wanted to applaud and promote the many individuals and platforms that are working hard to help the advertising industry fix its diversity issue across the board. We can all agree that the issue has been a hot topic for a while, but it’s time to shine a positive light on those who are actually making a difference through their actions and not just their words. Our ethos at NERD has always been one of inclusion and equality, and so we are constantly inspired by the people around us that share the same passion for building an environment reflective of the people that we create the work for – the consumers. 

We spoke to Creative, Jo Taylor and Producer, Andrew Shelton at J. Walter Thompson London about their experience of diversity within advertising. “After 16 years of freelance agency producing, creative teams are still around 80% male and 20% female,” says Andrew. “But I do think things are improving… slowly,” adds Jo. “I think the industry needs to be doing everything it can to support and keep hold of female talent. We need more women at the top.” Jo also mentions that, initially, she was very aware of the gender imbalance within her company (60 men and 5 women), but goes on to say, “Things in my agency have improved - we have a female CD now – hurrah! Organisations like Creative Equals are definitely helping. I recently graduated from their ‘Future Leaders’ course, which was incredibly inspiring – mainly because I got to sit in a room surrounded by awesome women on a regular basis, which is always nice.” 

That said, when it came to asking Jo and Andrew about working with female directors, they both had similar and very alarming answers: “I’ve never worked with a female animation director and I only recently worked with a female live-action director on a series of films for HSBC. She was brilliant,” says Jo. “I did two jobs with animation director Aoife McArdle around 10 years ago and now she’s gone on to do amazing (live action) work,” Andrew tells us. We were shocked to hear that, with many credits under each of their respective belts, both Jo and Andrew had only experienced working with a female director once.

Luckily, Free The Bid, a pledge pushing to give women directors a voice in advertising, is well aware of this fact and is working hard to balance out the issue. They state on their website: “The whole corporate world needs to fix its diversity issue – because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s a good idea for business. If creativity can be described as 'thinking outside the box,' then it would seem obvious that diversity would only increase creativity.” From brands, to ad agencies, to production companies, Free The Bid is urging people to pledge their support not by talking about diversity, but by getting involved and actually doing within their teams and their respective industries. Pledge here.

Within the creative industry, Punanimation (read it slowly… slower… got it?) is a collective and online platform of equality-driven women, trans and non binary people aiming to connect, support and promote each other’s work within the animation industry. Founders Hedvig Ahlberg, Bee Grandinetti and Linn Fritz thought that the animation industry was “too much of a boys club” and are hoping to one day see a more equal playing field. They will be holding a free event on International Women’s Day to celebrate their new directory of  women, non-binary and trans animators and motion designers and they’re encouraging production companies as well as agencies and brands to be there to meet some new and diverse creative talent. Register here.

Similarly, individuals like Emma Sexton, a serial entrepreneur and the host of Badass Women's Hour on talkRADIO, are making waves across the creative industry by challenging business owners, from brands to agencies, to re-evaluate how they do things. A self-professed “firestarter” and feminist, Emma says: "I am seeking to prove that you can redesign ‘business as usual’ to make it better – not just for women, but for everyone. My 'fires' are driven by my desire to solve the gender issue we face.” Read more about Emma’s work here, and register for the #PRESSFORPROGRESS event here.

We are all too aware of the gender pay gaps across industries worldwide as well as the lack of female leaders at the top. It’s easy to get carried away and feel that women are being treated unfairly, but this is an unhealthy attitude long term and only creates more division. To tackle the issue head on, we must all take action to inspire young females and aspiring talent - not just from entry level within the industry, but within schools and colleges too. By changing the way women are represented at all levels and giving more opportunities to women already working in the industry, we can ensure that young people have access to more relatable female role models and, in turn, eliminate gender bias within the advertising industry from the get-go. With the help and support of our colleagues, partners and companies like Free The Bid, we can all work together to make a positive change to our working environment and change the future of advertising and creativity for the better. 

 



Milana Karaica is Founder of NERD Productions

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NERD Productions, Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:45:47 GMT