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Where the mAD Women At?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The advertising industry has several issues to address for it to flourish, that much is clear. But on the talent recruitment front, nothing is as daunting as the "woman" problem.

Where are all the female creative directors? 

How interesting it is, that as an industry we claim to craft the messages that reflect the norms and issues that face today's environment, yet our industry's demographic makeup would beg to differ. Though the world now holds officially more women than men, there are still relatively few women advertising professionals making the climb to creative directors. The problem doesn't seem to spread to other positions; in media, accounts, and executive management, women — though still few — are doing historically better than ever before.

Just lagging on the creative front.

Why is that? What is the stigma about women in advertising, if there is one? One of our fellow bloggers wrote about such a stigma earlier this week; that our advertising leading ladies may be pressured to use their God-given talents for business-winning purposes. Whether that is the case or not, no doubt other workforce pressures may be in effect.

Yes, there is even a conference about this subject. The 3% Conference refers to the somewhat vague statistic that only 3% of worldwide creative directors are women. Truth is, regardless of the stat, our industry needs more. In advertising, we demand creativity, diversity (of thought, at least), and the ability to look at the same idea but with different perspectives.

Why not gather people from different backgrounds to accomplish this?

People claim that because the child-bearing years and the career-development years are the same, it is tough for a family-oriented woman to make it in an industry that, in many cases, demands more time away from your family. Is that a choice women are forced to make? It's not our place to say.

But we will say this: If women are truly walking away from advertising because of the inability to climb the ladder, and because our industry refuses to work with the schedules of bright, creative women who also want to be mothers, our industry is going to have a problem.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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