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April 3, 2002
Research Explains Glass Ceiling for Female Creatives

More women than ever are being employed in creative positions at advertising agencies. Although this is an encouraging trend, most women inevitably face a "glass ceiling" at the highest levels. Some recent findings have finally shed light on this perplexing phenomenon.

Statistically, the quickest way for women to be promoted is to have intercourse with their superiors. Women who did not sleep with their creative directors reported that it took them 2.5 years to be promoted. Women who did sleep with their creative directors reported that it took them one day.

Despite the obvious benefits, most women are resistant to this practice because there is a social stigma attached. However, data suggest that there is a compelling reason to pursue this course of action. Most colleagues believe female creative directors slept their way to the top anyway. While only 3% of female creative directors admitted to having relations with their superiors, a surprising 89% of co-workers perceived their female creative director as the "office whore." The other 11% perceived her as a "clueless bitch."

Another major issue is the general perception that women are less talented creatively than men. This is difficult to rate because of its subjective nature. A control group of male creatives was asked to list the top five characteristics of a "great" creative. Then they were asked to indicate to what degree they found those traits in both men and women.

Top Five Characteristics of Great Creatives:

  • Doesn’t make me feel stupid:
    • Male Creatives 96%, Female Creatives 0%
  • Can score me some good dope:
    • Male Creatives 88%, Female Creatives 2%
  • Tells dirty jokes:
    • Male Creatives 74%, Female Creatives 0%
  • Knows someone famous:
    • Male Creatives 63%, Female Creatives 5%*
  • Has a penis:
    • Male Creatives 59%, Female Creatives 1%

Sociological factors may contribute as well. Peers respect creatives who exhibit characteristics such as risktaking, standing up for their point of view, and convincing others of their ideas. Male creatives reported that these characteristics were encouraged and rewarded during their formidable years. Female creatives reported that these same characteristics resulted in their being "beaten repeatedly with a hammer" (87%), "locked in a small enclosure" (62%), or "sent away to a school for retarded kids" (45%).

Some women are not promoted because they are of childbearing age and superiors fear they will leave the company after becoming pregnant. Data suggest that this is "total bullshit." The employment patterns of both male and female creatives are subject to a sophisticated scientific principle known as "the revolving door," and a recent study confirmed there is .01352% loyalty in advertising.

Another small but significant issue is that, on average, women ask 6.4 more questions than men do. Superiors found these persistent questions to be detrimental to the work environment. Some of the most prevalent questions included, "Why are there seven objectives listed on this creative brief?" "Why am I making twenty thousand dollars less than my partner?" and "Can I at least go home and take a bath?"

Overall, the findings were consistent with similar studies performed in the following industries: welding, sanitation, fishing, gambling, security, trucking, and all other industries.

* If the female did not know someone famous, she still received a positive rating if the male felt there was a chance they might hook up at the Christmas party.

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Colleen O'Hare is a television writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. She began her career as an advertising copywriter. Her work for Merkley Newman Harty, as an on-air writer/producer for Cartoon Network and as a freelancer has been recognized and awarded by many, including The One Show and Communication Arts.

Currently a writer for ReelzChannel, she wrote and produced for Blind Date and E! Network’s True Hollywood Story; developed, produced and directed Feed-Back, a series of short segments for Food Network; and helped to establish the tone and format for Style’s first red carpet coverage of the Golden Globes.

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