“We’re in a new world with many old minds.” – John Gerzema
The annual 3% Conference just wrapped up in New York. It was a whirlwind of ideas and discussions on how to change the sad fact that only three percent of creative directors in the United States are women. And this percentage is not singular to the ad industry. Companies are slow to react to the She-Change that we’re entering. The Huffington Post pointed out that, “Women control vast amounts of the world’s wealth, investible assets and buying power.”
- 60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women.
- 50 percent or more Chinese billionaires are women.
- Women are the largest “emerging economy” and growing. (At 13 billion, it’s bigger than the GDP of China and India combined.)
If only three percent of the creative directors in the United States are female, then that means that 97 percent of the advertising you see every day is from a male perspective. So where are all the ladies at? You can’t be marketing and communicating if you don’t represent the marketplace or the universe.
This year’s conference promoted a way for agencies to start making a difference. Companies can now become 3 percent certified. The program will certify agencies that not only set out to promote equality, but make real changes to their organization along the way. When an agency applies for certification, an independent auditing committee will collect information on salaries, the breakdown of men and women in leadership positions and more. Then, the group will suggest benchmarks along with ways to reach a more balanced agency. If the company can successfully hit those goals, it will be certified.
It’s a small step toward creating more equality at agencies, but more and more companies are realizing that they stand to gain everything and lose very little if they better reflect the society at large. Diversity can help companies win the battle for talent, be more relevant to today’s workforce and better serve the client’s needs. It just takes a little (wo)manpower.