June 19th, 2014 By Jack Morton
It was heartening to hear at the IPG breakfast – ‘Breakfast with Women Who Bring Home the Bacon’ of the increasing number of woman members on the Cannes juries. And of how mostly they didn’t experience a gender division on the juries in terms of attitudes towards creativity, aside from a very few entries that prompted a showing of latent machismo amongst some members.
Meanwhile Vasudha Narayanan, Creative Director at Lowe Lintas was interviewed regarding the ground-breaking campaign for Tanishq highlighting the stigma of second marriage for women in India. It served as a reminder that women around the world still face very real restrictions to the kind of life choices many of us take for granted and give us the freedom to focus our energies elsewhere, such as our careers.
Yet there is much to be achieved here, as Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in her seminar – only 3% of creative directors are women. And she credits this huge imbalance to a cultural problem – as a society we don’t expect women to be leaders. This was echoed by Leslie Sims, ECD McCann NY, who argued at the breakfast that since many women are not naturally great self-promoters, but rather great team builders, we need to do a better job of actively recognising and promoting those that are excellent in their jobs because they are far less likely to step forward than their male counterparts.
This may be so, but think also of Courtney Love who during her Cannes seminar put her success down to her sheer fearless ambition – perhaps as agency women we all need to channel our inner Courtneys a little also.