M&C Saatchi’s Niccola Phillips: Mind The (Confidence) Gap

M&C Saatchi’s Niccola Phillips: Mind The (Confidence) Gap
SHARE
THIS



As headline sponsor of B&T’s 3% Conference Australasia, M&C Saatchi has nominated its head of art, Niccola Phillips to pen an opinion piece exploring whether creative departments are still as sexist as they appear from the outside.

Let’s be frank.

I don’t want to write this article, and you most probably don’t want to read it.

You’re probably sitting there thinking not another bloody female creative whining on about how hard it is to be a female creative. Get over it. Move on already.

And hey, I’m with you. I’m over it as well. I’m over talking about it. I’m over thinking about it. I’m also over being scared to talk about it. Dreading the comments on social media. Wondering if I’m cutting off my nose to spite my face if I choose to speak up at all.

But here’s where we’re at. According to research carried out by The Agency Circle, three in every 10 Australian creatives are female. If you’re hunting around for a female ECD, it seems that you’ll find around three in every hundred. Up on stage at industry events, you’ll see roughly half as many women as men. And if you’re wondering about the pay gap? Well, I can’t tell you much about that, because no one’s being all that transparent about it. But let’s just go with the national average and assume that female creatives are currently being paid about 23 per cent less than their male equivalents.

But now, some good news. This year, here in NSW, women comprised almost exactly half of all successful AWARD School applicants, and six of the top 10 were women. There’s a new generation of female creatives who enthusiastically and wholeheartedly want to work in our creative departments.

Problem solved, then. Given another few years, creative departments should be headed for 50:50. The statistics should just play out from there. Shouldn’t they?

Are creative departments really still as sexist as they appear from the outside? That’s the question I’ve been asked the most over my two years as AWARD School head. Clearly, even before they enter the industry, many female creatives still aren’t confident that they’ll be treated as equals in a creative department. And honestly, I struggle to know what to say, because it’s complicated.

Personally, I love my creative department, and that’s why I’ve stayed there for so long. It’s open-minded, respectful, collaborative and dependably funny. It’s ridiculous and hilarious. But not every creative department I’ve worked in has felt so comfortable.

During Power of Ten sessions, a networking initiative for female creatives run by AWARD, female creatives swap stories of ‘mansplaining’ in their creative departments; of creative directors who disregard an idea when a woman suggests it, only to applaud when it is presented again by a male colleague. One woman describes the way she has to stand up in meetings to make herself heard (fun fact: women are interrupted 33 per cent more than their male counterparts during meetings). A number of female creatives observe how they have been passed over for tier-one briefs due to ‘inexperience’, while men of the same level were given a chance to ‘cut their teeth on something big’.

Yes, women leave creative departments for a whole host of reasons. But if you listen – actually listen – the next generation of female creatives are trying to tell you that they’re not being heard right now. Today. Years before parental leave and workplace flexibility enters their thinking. A survey run by SheSays and a trade media publication earlier this year reported that almost 40 per cent of women who left creative agencies did so because they didn’t feel valued or recognised. Women are being unconsciously overlooked every day. Hell, they’re unconsciously overlooking themselves. And they’re not always confident enough to speak up about it.

Okay, I can hear you sharpening your knives. Women need to toughen up. To speak up. To push back. And I agree. They do. But in an industry where 70 per cent of female creatives report that they have personally experienced sexual discrimination in their workplace, that isn’t always easy. The confidence gap starts early. Less than one in six Australian teenage girls believe that they are given the same chances in life as boys. It’s little wonder that women won’t apply for a position or promotion until they feel that they’re 100 per cent qualified, while men are confident in their ability at about 60 per cent.

So, what can we do about it? We can do unconscious bias training. Google has rolled it out across its 60,000 employees worldwide, and they have shared their unbiasing guide online. We can offer mentoring programs, internally and externally. We can do annual salary audits. We can improve our parental leave policies and build a more flexible, inclusive working environment.

But the simplest thing that we can do is listen. Offer all our creatives equal chances and opportunities, and then be receptive to what they come up with. If the quiet ones don’t speak up immediately, offer them the floor. Ask them to speak on panels and to judge industry awards. To judge AWARD School. To write articles. Give them the confidence to push on through. Let them know they’re being heard.

Just listen. Be respectful and egalitarian, and you won’t ever have to read another article like this one.

Promise.

3% Conference banner

The 3% Conference Australasia sponsor block

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising Standards Bureau Designworks Niccola Phillips Qantas The 3% Conference The 3% Conference Australasia

Latest News

triple j’s Unearthed High Returns For 2021
  • Media

triple j’s Unearthed High Returns For 2021

triple j is giving high school musos the chance to win flights to Sydney to record, remix and master their next big hit at the triple j studios with this year’s Unearthed High. To enter, all you’ve gotta do is this: Upload your song/s to your triple j Unearthed profile by Sunday 25 July at […]

Monday TV Wrap: MasterChef Beats Ninja Warrior While HYBPA? Tops Entertainment
  • Media

Monday TV Wrap: MasterChef Beats Ninja Warrior While HYBPA? Tops Entertainment

10’s MasterChef narrowly beat Nine’s Australian Ninja Warrior – which premiered on Sunday – with 631,000 viewers to 624,000, as per OzTAm’s metro data. Australian Ninja Warrior dropped 171,000 from its premiere episode. 10 also saw success with Have You Been Paying Attention? which topped the entertainment ratings with 727,000 viewers The ep featured a panel of Mick […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Mobile Pnone Shopping Online With A Debit Card
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Ultra Commerce Acquires Vesta eCommerce

Australian-bred company Ultra Commerce has acquired New Zealand-based company Vesta eCommerce, a global software business providing leading product data management solutions. The recent acquisition is a significant move for the business, which is Australian born, owned, and headquartered, but has built out a global presence as it pursues rapid growth in the eCommerce market. Connecting […]

Top Creatives Launch #OnlyOneInTheRoom Collective To Tackle Diversity In AdLand
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Top Creatives Launch #OnlyOneInTheRoom Collective To Tackle Diversity In AdLand

While Australia is the most diverse country in the world, with 30 per cent of people born overseas, this is not reflected in the advertising industry. Only 16 per cent of people in advertising are culturally diverse and often, they are the only one in the room. A collective of professionals from across the industry, […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne And VMLY&R Melbourne Head Aussie Gold Winners In Day One Of Cannes Lions
  • Advertising

Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne And VMLY&R Melbourne Head Aussie Gold Winners In Day One Of Cannes Lions

The first day of Cannes Lions Live saw the announcement of winners for Pharma, Health & Wellness, Outdoor, Print & Publishing, and Design Lions. Kicking things off with The Lions Health and United Nations Foundation Grand Prix for Good was AMW BBDO London, who won the Lion for ‘addresspollution.org’. It was created for COPI, the […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Radio Host Jackie O Becomes Weight Watchers Ambassador
  • Marketing

Radio Host Jackie O Becomes Weight Watchers Ambassador

WW (formerly Weight Watchers) has announced that KIIS FM radio host and The Masked Singer panellist, Jackie Henderson, has joined the WW family as a WW Ambassador. Having felt a shift in her health and confidence, Jackie has enlisted the help of WW’s science-backed program and award-winning app to support her in losing 10 to […]

MFA Updates Transparency Framework For Advertisers & Agencies
  • Media

MFA Updates Transparency Framework For Advertisers & Agencies

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has released the 2021 MFA Transparency Framework, outlining a set of best-practice principles of transparency for agencies and advertisers to follow. First developed by the MFA Board and executive in 2015, the updated Framework reflects progress and changes in the marketplace, and moves to a principles approach to accommodate […]

Matt Cooney Joins Saatchi & Saatchi As National Chief Growth & Marketing Officer
  • Advertising
  • Media

Matt Cooney Joins Saatchi & Saatchi As National Chief Growth & Marketing Officer

Matt Cooney has extended his chief growth officer role in the Publicis Groupe to take on national growth and marketing for the Saatchi & Saatchi Australia brand. Cooney, who has led his own Sydney-based consultancy as well as previously running new business at Host, is a seasoned operator having also served on management teams at […]

Inclusive Marketing: Microsoft’s Five Mindset Shifts Every Brand Can Make
  • Partner Content

Inclusive Marketing: Microsoft’s Five Mindset Shifts Every Brand Can Make

According to Microsoft’s head of global multicultural & inclusive marketing MJ DePalma, brands must ensure they are building care-centric relationships with their customers. Friendships take work. But most of us would agree that the best of them are not only worth our investment, they’re invaluable. Having friends who empathize with us, consider our needs, have […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
New Council For In-House Agencies, The In-House Agency Council, Launches In Australia
  • Advertising
  • Media

New Council For In-House Agencies, The In-House Agency Council, Launches In Australia

Australia’s growing list of in-house agencies now have access to a connected community with the launch of the In-House Agency Council (IHAC) steered by founder and chairman CEO Chris Maxwell. Established with the objective to help marketers maximise their in-house agencies by attracting the best talent, building capability along with benchmarking and sharing industry best […]

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign
  • Campaigns

Crater Teams Up With Director Luna Laure For ‘Harry’s Story’, Canteen’s Newest Campaign

Canteen’s latest campaign features the combined talents of Director Luna Laure and creative agency Crater. The campaign strives to raise awareness for young people affected by cancer. The awareness campaign centres around Harry Barentson, who at 12 years of age found out his pregnant mum had cancer. While his mother fortunately survived, he lost his […]

AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy Narrates ‘A Love Letter To Victoria’ Via Enthral Partners
  • Campaigns

AFL Legend Kevin Sheedy Narrates ‘A Love Letter To Victoria’ Via Enthral Partners

In partnership with storytelling agency Enthral, AFL star Kevin Sheedy has voiced a video ‘Love Letter to Victoria’ using visuals to showcase the state’s natural beauty and culture. Victoria has been hit with the worst of the coronavirus pandemic compared with any other Aussie state experiencing four lockdowns. Sheedy has partnered with Ethral to share […]

Telstra’s Belong Appoints Howatson + White For Strategy & Creative, Retains OMD For Media
  • Advertising

Telstra’s Belong Appoints Howatson + White For Strategy & Creative, Retains OMD For Media

Telstra’s lower-cost telco, Belong, has awarded its strategy and creative account to Howatson + White, and has reappointed OMD to its media buying account, after a competitive pitch process. Howatson + White will handle strategy, planning, creative and CRM, while former agency Clemenger will continue to have a relationship with Belong, managing PR and retail activation. […]

Coke Releases New Campaign, ‘Turn Up Your Break’, Via Ogilvy
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Coke Releases New Campaign, ‘Turn Up Your Break’, Via Ogilvy

Coca-Cola Australia has rolled out its new campaign ‘Turn Up Your Break’. The campaign will be led by a TVC that encourages people to truly pause with a Coke on their break so they can walk away feeling refreshed and uplifted. The TVC features two busy chefs stepping outside for a break, the bustling kitchen […]

Nova 91.9’s Ben And Liam Locked Up In Rundle Mall To Raise Awareness For Mental Health
  • Marketing
  • Media

Nova 91.9’s Ben And Liam Locked Up In Rundle Mall To Raise Awareness For Mental Health

Nova 919’s Ben & Liam breakfast show announced that they’ll be throwing their support behind and raising awareness for a cause very close to their hearts, mental health. On Monday 21 June Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton will be locked in a purpose-built glass structure, in the middle of Rundle Mall, for an entire week […]

iHeartPodcast Network Australia And The New York Times Agree Podcast Ad Sales Deal
  • Advertising
  • Media

iHeartPodcast Network Australia And The New York Times Agree Podcast Ad Sales Deal

ARN and The New York Times have reached an agreement for ARN to become the advertising sales representative for The New York Times’s podcast portfolio in Australia. The deal will enable Australian brands to connect with Australian listeners to The New York Times’s most popular podcasts, such as The Daily, Serial and This American Life, […]