Matthew Miller
Mar 8, 2017

Gender studies: Highs, lows and soul searching

From men behaving badly to women ascending to power, a look back at recent coverage of gender-equality in the marketing-communications industry.

Gender studies: Highs, lows and soul searching

Campaign Asia-Pacific has been covering gender equality in the industry for too long. That is to say, we look forward to the day when inequality is no longer an issue worth discussing because it has ceased to exist. In the meantime, we thought International Women's Day provided a good opportunity to look at the issue through the lens of our recent coverage. So here is a hand-picked collection of articles that are inspiring, rage-inducing, depressing, reflective and/or opinionated. 

SECTION 1: INSPIRATIONS
We marked the accomplishments of industry leaders who happen to be women.

Women to Watch 2016: Agents of change
Our annual feature highlighting women in Asia-Pacific who are fighting their way to the top.

Positions of power
The following women (and surely others we've missed) rose to high-level leadership roles in APAC in the last 12 months. We have to say, we find this list fairly encouraging.



SECTION 2: A LONG WAY TO GO
News items often reminded us how far the industry (and the world) still has to go.

JWT CEO Martinez faces allegations of racist and rape jokes
Lawsuit filed by PR director claims CEO laughed about raping female staff and called black people "monkeys". (In the course of the lawsuit, WPP argued that Martinez' rape joke was intended to "lighten the tension". Martinez later resigned but later still found work with WPP.)

Saatchi's Roberts placed on leave for comments on gender diversity 
'Behavior like this is simply unacceptable in our Groupe," says Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Communications, in an internal memo. (Roberts later resigned.)

Former MSLGroup China CEO files gender discrimination suit against Publicis
Faith Brewitt, former head of Greater China for MSLGroup, has filed a lawsuit saying she was denied the time and basic tools to do her job.

More than half of women in advertising have faced sexual harassment: 4As study
As the controversies pile up, the president and CEO of the US 4As reveals the findings of a yearlong effort to learn more about the plight of women in adland.

The invisible women of agency PR 
An unseen army of mostly female publicists keeps adland's racist jokes and bad behavior under wraps. What does the JWT suit say about their plight?

A sexist ad just won a Bronze Lion at Cannes, and people are pissed
On Twitter, critics say the Bayer ad condones the nonconsensual filming of sex.

VaynerMedia CEO takes responsibility for sexist Cannes email
A vendor sent the party invitation, but "when you're the CEO, it's your fucking fault".

Why Olay's choice of male ambassador for China is a stupid move
Resonance China's Jerry Clode questions the wisdom of brands such as P&G's Olay choosing male brand ambassadors for female products.



SECTION 3: ANALYSING THE ISSUES
Campaign gave plenty of space to in-depth discussions of gender equality.

Gender diversity: The debate is far from over
Kevin Roberts believes the debate about gender equality in the industry is 'over'. These APAC leaders beg to differ.

Self-assured women make waves in Asia
The shift in women’s self-image has never been more apparent, according to an ongoing global study by J. Walter Thompson, and marketers need to connect with this change.

Diversity in APAC marketing and comms: Enough lip service
It’s time the industry stopped talking about diversity in the workplace and actually started to make it happen.

Can Japan's ad industry become a model for gender equality?
We begin a series on female leadership in Japan by reflecting on how far the sector has come—and where it needs to go.

You can't afford to ignore SEA’s entrepreneurial women: iProspect
A new voice has emerged with female consumers in Southeast Asia, sparking a need for new ways to communicate, according to a report from iProspect.

Gender equality: Do social pressures, not bias, hold women back?
The rise of women leaders in China’s ad industry stands in sharp contrast to the residual stigma about ‘leftover women’.

What it’s like to be a foreign female creative in Japan (pretty good, actually) 
Claudia Cristovao of AKQA discusses the unexpected advantages of miscommunication, digital’s “blind spot”, and what is needed to nurture female talent in Japan.

JWT's global CEO on driving diversity and agile creativity
Recently enthroned as J. Walter Thompson’s global CEO, Tamara Ingram shares her passion for creativity and inventiveness in advertising.

Diversity should not be a reactive exercise: Havas Group
Patti Clifford, Havas Group's chief talent officer, sat down with Campaign Asia-Pacific to discuss efforts to encourage diversity in leadership, which she believes comes down to respect for individuals and integrity of process.

Career vertigo: Women and perfecting the art of confidence
The business of being (or at least appearing to be) confident is a tricky one for a lot of people, and even more so for many women, writes Annie Auerbach of Flamingo London.

Women to Watch roundtable: Millennials and mothers
The talent is out there, but achieving diversity in the workforce and leadership ranks requires companies to be flexible and understanding.

Dentsu’s Chieko Ohuchi shows what female leadership can be in Japan
The recently appointed managing director of a prominent creative division has worked her way up and broken down barriers by demonstrating the results of her work.



SECTION 4: STRONG WORDS
We made it a point to hear directly from women in the industry.

Battling the pink ghetto: Perspective from a 'Woman to Watch' 
OMD's Jeanette Phang, one of the 2016 Women to Watch, reflects on her evolving view of gender inequality and what to do about it.

Should family be a reason for women to retreat from career progression?
Isobar's APAC CEO Jane Lin-Baden reflects on having a family and a front-office career, which are not mutually exclusive.

Women’s success is business success
R3's Goh Shu Fen makes the dollars and cents case for gender equality

Women at work: Rise of the female 'millenipreneurs'
Especially in Southeast Asia, young women are reinventing the way businesses are created and operated, writes Carat's Bonnâe Ogunlade. 

How can women rise to the top of an organisation?
Emma Loisel, COO at The Exchange Lab, tackles gender diversity in the workplace and offers some personal advice to women looking to climb the career ladder.

The big ask: Where are all the Asian women?
DigitasLBi’s Knox Balbastro reflects on her first visit to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and has a big ask for the industry.

Gender equality: Great progress in China but still a long way to go
Successful women in China somehow naturally combine ambition, dedication to their personal and professional life, and the assertion of their beauty as women, writes Nurun's Julie Marchesseault.

Management tips from a #Girlboss
No longer are we willing to accept that we deserve less of anything because we're women, writes the president of Pitch, Rachel Spiegelman.

The challenge of leadership: What if women just don’t want it?
Maybe it's the definition of leadership that needs some work, writes Flamingo's Anniki Sommerville.

Six ways to rewrite gender in adland after the Kevin Roberts debacle
After the Kevin Roberts controversy, Creative Equals founder Ali Hanan proposes six concrete ways to improve gender diversity in the ad industry.



SECTION 5: THE WORK
These campaigns provided inspiration, anger fuel or a much-needed laugh.

China’s “leftover women” stand up to marriage pressure and #ChangeDestiny 
The latest chapter of SK-II #ChangeDestiny campaign takes a look at the pressure women face in China from both their parents and society to marry young and chronicles their road to acceptance. (See also: The cultural insight behind SK-II's viral 'leftover women' ad)

Da da ding: Nike's call to women in India
Nike launches an infectious anthem for female athletes in India.

This couple's 'routine' is difficult to watch
'Break the routine' uses dance to point out that domestic abuse often goes on for far too long.

WomenNotObjects campaign shames brands and industry
Watch it and weep.

Beat me: A provocative message from women in Pakistan
Women issue a confrontational challenge in a campaign by BBDO Pakistan for UN Women Pakistan.

Nissan invites men to spend a day as their wives
'Mommying Drive' aims to build understanding while indirectly promoting a people-carrier.

This truck ad is fake but has a real message (NSFW language)
Satirical spot skewers sexism.

Deodorant ad asks why so many ads stink at respecting women
At least one guy understands—literally—the ridiculous positions advertising puts women in. 

Ariel awakens father to gender stereotypes
P&G's #ShareTheLoad 

Eyes that speak out against female stereotypes
Pegavision's interactive film rewards eye rolling.

Campaign Asia-Pacific celebrates International Women’s Day and the call to #BeBoldForChange. In an effort to ignite change and drive gender equality within the industry, on 22 March we are delighted to present Campaign360, an invitation-only, one-day event gathering key decision-makers of leading brands and agencies who believe in the importance of equal opportunity and women leadership.

Following the event programme, the Women Leading Change Awards will celebrate the contributions of female talent to the across the industry. Interested in joining? There are still a few VIP places available for senior brand marketers: apply here

 

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