When Will Women Begin Appearing In Advertising’s Halls Of Fame?

Statue of Justice with scales in lawyer office. Legal law, advice and justice concept
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, NY-based creative and R/GA senior copywriter Chloe Saintilan (pictured below) questions why women fail to feature in advertising’s halls of fame (zero per cent, in fact) and asks: when will it change?…

March is International Women’s History Month: A month dedicated to honouring the legacies of women who have shaped human history, and to reflect on developments in gender equality and representation in workplaces, politics and other areas of life. March 8 specifically was International Women’s Day, and around this time articles and critiques often emerge that highlight the work yet to be done.

This year, one particular article struck me. It was criticising the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – arguably the most famous Hall of Fame in the world. Over the course of 34 years, only 69 out of the 888 inductees are women. Advocating for more equal representation, the author of the article argued “the reason this representation matters is that defining the canon is genuinely important.” This article sparked a broader conversation, with subsequent articles questioning how inductees are selected, and others compiling lists of distinguished women who should have already been recognised. All of these authors were landing on a singular point: the lack of women is more than just a numbers problem, and it needs to be addressed.

This article got me thinking about our own industry’s equivalents. I headed to Adnews’ Advertising Hall of Fame, remembering they recently kicked off their 2020 awards process. Given the history of the advertising industry, I was doubtful that there would be many women. But I was definitely shocked to see that there were none at all. The two page list of names was entirely made up of men, and not a single woman.

The site says that ‘inductees are chosen based on how they have influenced the direction of the advertising industry and helped put Australia on the world map through outstanding, innovative and original advertising’. While many of the men I recognised as having made a significant contribution, how can we sit back and accept that no woman in our history has made an impact worthy of giving them a place in this Hall of Fame? And what message does this send to women, young and old, in our local industry? I searched for some sort of criteria, or the committee who selects the inductee, to no avail.

I then Googled Cannes’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lion of St Mark. Given Cannes’ large focus on empowering women in advertising, with a dedicated program literally called ‘See it, Be It’ (inspired by the notion that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’), I was hopeful. Cindy Gallop was a given. Colleen Decourcey too (who was named Creative Leader of the Decade by AdWeek). So many powerful women who have played an instrumental role in moving our industry forward, and who have been responsible for some of its most groundbreaking work.

You can imagine my reaction when I found that the percentage of women who have been awarded the Lion of St Mark was not just a small percentage, but zero per cent. In its nine year history, eleven men have been awarded the accolade, and no women. Again, you can’t dispute that these men have created legacies worthy of recognition. But I’m disappointed that the organisation which is essentially the industry’s ‘north star’ is yet to acknowledge any former or current female leader’s legacy. They have their ‘Glass Lion’ award dedicated to campaigns that have helped pave progress towards gender equality, yet a glass ceiling seems to remain intact for their highest accolade.

Women in the Halls of Fame signals to the next generation of women that they can also get there. Halls of Fame aren’t just awards. They show industries what you have to ‘be’ to get to the very top. And when the current state presents a cookie cutter mold, that’s problematic.

With more women rising up the ranks than ever before, and creating some of the most disruptive work around the globe, it’s inevitable that these ‘halls’ will become more balanced in years to come. But with the 2020 inductees for both Adnews and Cannes being announced soon, my fingers are crossed that this is the year things change. Because among all their reporting, programs and initiatives focused on helping raise a new generation of female leaders, they should recognise the importance of acknowledging the women who paved the way. Not only do these amazing women deserve such recognition, it shows the younger generations that it’s not crazy to dream of being up there one day. After all, in the words of Cannes itself: once you see it, you feel like you can be it.

 

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Nine’s Love Island Australia Gets Premiere Date
  • Media

Nine’s Love Island Australia Gets Premiere Date

The sexiest singles in the nation (according to Channel Nine, at least) are back on airwaves with Love Island Australia on Monday, October 4, at 9.00pm after The Block on Channel 9 and 9Now. Aussie sweetheart Sophie Monk will return to host (and play Cupid) alongside new addition, comedian Stephen Mullan a narrator, in the world-renowned reality TV […]

Yotpo Expands Down Under With  Multi-Year Shopify Partnership
  • Marketing

Yotpo Expands Down Under With Multi-Year Shopify Partnership

Yotpo is officially expanding into Australia, off the back of significant market growth with massive Aussie names, a landmark investment from Shopify and a plan to help local Aussie e-comm explode. Yotpo’s ANZ userbase includes names like Zoe Foster Blake’s $180M Go-To Skin Care,  e-commerce fashion queen Princess Polly, and billion-dollar streetwear brand Culture Kings, […]

New ideas and imagination Creativity and inspiration Technological innovation. Hand holding brain digital network and abstract science light bulb inside on networking connection on sky background.
  • Technology

Progress Unveils Sitefinity DX 14.0 Platform

Progress has today announced the availability of Progress Sitefinity DX 14.0. This agile, flexible and extensible platform allows organisations to create an ideal digital experience platform (DXP) tailored to their unique needs and objectives with new capabilities for low-code integration and chat-driven engagement, as well as enhanced headless content delivery. The digital world is transforming […]

Tangram Signs Strategic Partnership With monday.com
  • Media

Tangram Signs Strategic Partnership With monday.com

Tangram has announced that they have signed a partnership with monday.com. the work operating system (Work OS) where organizations of any size can create the tools and processes, they need to manage every aspect of their work. Israeli-based monday.com and Australian-based Tangram form an irresistible team of experts offering unique solutions to agency problems. monday.com […]

Eyeota Enhances Reach And Targeting Precision For RDA Research
  • Marketing

Eyeota Enhances Reach And Targeting Precision For RDA Research

Leading Australian market research data brand, RDA Research, provides actionable consumer intelligence to help businesses inform decision making and growth strategies. RDA Research wanted to make its unique consumer data available for addressable digital targeting and required a data onboarding partner to help activate their data in an online environment.

Enthral Strengthens Journalistic DNA By Hiring Channel 7 Reporter Sean Sowerby
  • Media

Enthral Strengthens Journalistic DNA By Hiring Channel 7 Reporter Sean Sowerby

Storytelling agency Enthral has appointed Channel 7 reporter and sports presenter Sean Sowerby as its new senior PR and content manager in Melbourne. Sowerby (pictured) started his award-winning career at 3AW before spending more than 15 years in television. Enthral founder and manager director, Cameron Smith, spoke of the significance of Sowerby joining the agency. […]