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I am the 3%

By Megan Vo, Creative Intern

Here’s something unsettling – only about 3% of Creative Directors are women. And no, it’s not because we aren’t talented.

I attended the 3% Conference last week in San Francisco, and it was amazing to be involved in the discussion of the “why” behind this insight. Simply acknowledging our industry’s lack of female creative leadership brings us one step closer to further reflecting our diverse consumer base.(Image: 3% Conference)

Often, we look at advertising through the lens of the male gaze. Being “male” is the default mindset, and the “female” is viewed as an other. Women are perceived as a niche. However, women are responsible for 90% of electronic purchases and influence 60% of all car-buying decisions. Women control 80% of US spending and 65% of global spending. Obviously, we’re a force to be reckoned with. That’s not a niche – that’s a market.

The dichotomy between a “woman’s account” and a “man’s account” needs to be erased. What I love about advertising is its power to tell a brand’s story, and the best stories carry a universal truth that defies gender.

Cindy Gallop, former chair of BBH USA remarked that, “women challenge the status quo because we are never it.” Advertising agencies need to challenge existing structures and take a look around the room. Creative work isn’t fostered in an environment of homogeneity.

So, what can I do? My takeaway from the two day conference boiled down to: Don’t be scared. Put myself forward.  

The industry still has a long way to go until the male/female ratio reaches 50%, but I will gladly do my part to inspire change.

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