The sharp tack Lucia Elliott, whom I had the pleasure of chatting with at the CampaignBrief party, shares a few thoughts on the third days session in Cannes, called "Beyond Mad Men; Gender Balance in Creative Roles". She writes The end of the boys club?.
In fact I suspect that the same topic at Cannes a decade ago would have uncovered identical themes and language: life balance, gender hard-wiring, male ego/female self-doubt, ‘having it all’ and the glass ceiling. The tempo may be a little jauntier these days, but the song remains the same.
Therefore it was a wise move to include Carol Lam, managing director, chief creative officer of McCann-Erickson Shanghai on the panel because her experience in China is largely at odds with the more mature markets represented and consequently made for a refreshing antidote to an otherwise fairly predictable discussion.
Carol explained that China’s expansion was so rapid and the shortage of creative talent so acute, the country didn’t have the luxury of a Boys Club. They’d take what they could get and gender was for the most part completely irrelevant. It will be fascinating to see if that dynamic changes as and when supply outstrips demand.
This is interesting, so Ms Lam has a different experience in her career, because the advertising business in China is practically still a baby? (if we disregard the previous propaganda industry which was world class).
This made me wonder if new areas within the advertising business are more gender-lax than others, precisely because they are new. If you look around the Executive Creative Directors and Strategic Directors, who are also ladies, tend to be the creme of the crop in the
So in social media, women should be raking in the dough, right? It's such a brand new area. Wrong. This piece by Suzanne McDonald says otherwise, and places the blame squarely on women: Are Women to Blame for the Gender Wage Gap in Social Media? I love how she ends it with this:
Time to cough up, guys. And women: No more excuses. What else can I say, grow a pair.
It doesn't take balls to have guts, but people react quite differently to women asking for a raise or a senior title (when they are already doing all the senior work), then when a man does. Basically to get what you deserve in the way of title and salary you have to be "not nice". In fact there's even studies that show that nice men finish last in business as well, which was widely reported on last week: "Hey, You! Mean People Earn More, Study Finds". Those who rated themselves "agreeable" made less money than those who didn't. Quelle surprise.
But asking for a higher salary is received very differently depending on if you are a man or a woman who asks. No, I'm not talking about the classic "We have to give the raise to Mr X, because his wife just had a child" or "Mr X just bought a new house!" bullshit reasons your boss will drag up when you ask. In Salary, Gender and the Social Cost of Haggling its pretty clear: men who ask for a raise are go-getters, women who do are bitches. But of course, this is our fault as well, just like everything else in the world.
I'm not kidding. If you look around you, you'll find that pretty much everything a woman does is wrong. If we have children young, we're too young and irresponsible and can't possibly provide for them with money nor wisdom that comes from experience. If we wait until our early forties to already have done the career-path first, and now find us in need of IVF, we're selfish women who wasted our window of opportunity and are now buying a high-tech baby with all the money we earned. Heck, if we are
For once I'd like to see something that isn't womens fault. It's a two-way street. Man up and take your half of the responsibility, dear employers. If you have a fantastic employee in your office who happens to be a woman, and who happens to go above and beyond her titles requirements, give her a raise, and a promotion. I'm sick of watching my sisters toil away with the A before their title when they're clearly running the office. The revolution starts with us. Not women. Not men. Us. This generation is not the same as the generations before us, we don't have to play by the same rules. Why wait for a "new market", or a new branch of the advertising business, when we live in a brave new world?