By Emine Saner for The Guardian. Originally posted on June 26th, 2016.
In the freebie bag given to every delegate at the Cannes Lions advertising festival last week was a book, The Case for Creativity. Cindy Gallop sat down to read it, saw that in the list of advertising experts quoted there was not a single woman and tweeted her dismay. The book’s author James Hurman responded apologetically, saying his “heart sank” when he saw Gallop’s tweet, and that he had “never thought about it”. He added it was “a case of unconscious bias. And that’s the problem, huh.”
Or one of them. Gallop, former president of the global agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) in New York and once one of the most senior women in advertising, now adds unconscious bias to the list of barriers she goes through when she gives talks on the ad industry’s gender gap. “Every female creative arriving at Cannes is given this book which basically says ‘don’t even bother because we don’t want to hear from you even if you manage to get to the rarefied heights’,” she says, rapid-fire and direct.
Gallop is back from Cannes and in London for a few days, before returning to Manhattan where she lives (but no longer in the wild all-black apartment that appeared in a Notorious B.I.G video).
We meet the day after Unilever announced its intention to drop sexist stereotypes of women from its advertising, following a global study which found just 2% of adverts featured women who could be described as “intelligent”; just 3% were shown in leadership roles. Gallop says it is “fantastic” Unilever have committed to this, but a more radical transformation of the industry is needed. “Nothing is going to change at all unless they do one crucial thing which is ensure there are gender-equal, or more female than male, creative leaders in agencies,” she says. “I guarantee that unless that happens, you will not see anything change in terms of gender stereotypes in advertising.”
Head over to The Guardian to read the rest of the article!