Study: 25 Percent Of Women In Advertising Have Experienced Gender Discrimination. | Gradient

Study: 25 percent of women in advertising have experienced gender discrimination.

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In March of this year, a female employee of the J. Walter Thompson agency filed a lawsuit against the CEO, Gustavo Martinez for “racist and sexist remarks.”The lawsuit sparked an uprise from ad agency female employees, who make up nearly 50 percent of the advertising work community. As a result, The New York Times conducted interviews with over twelve female ad agency professionals, and found that despite the seemingly equal opportunity employment statistics women are still feeling discriminated against. They see sexism not just in the type of positions they hold, but also in the way they process emotion, how they are treated in the work place, the kind of relationships they are able to build, and even in the advertisements themselves.

The global chief executive of Omnicom’s Accuen Agency, Megan Pagliuca, noted that she feels the female vs. male tension most in her business relationships. Often business deals are made over golf games or “drinking events” that are geared towards male professionals. She offers up a debated question for women in the ad agency world,

“Do you try to conform and be like them rather than being yourself, or do you stay strong as who you are and know you are the best operator?” Ms. Pagliuca said. “A challenge for women is making that choice.”

Other women they interviewed added that sometimes they just feel “invisible” at dinner parties and other work functions. Furthermore, they added that they often hear comments about their appearance, and experience “rapey talk and the grabby hands.” According to a survey by 3% Conference, 25 percent of women in the advertising industry had experienced discrimination because of their gender, and another 23 percent said they had actually been the victim of or witnessed sexual harassment in the work place.

This will probably not be the last lawsuit of its kind if something doesn’t change. Women said that their male colleagues just felt uncomfortable talking about it or addressing the issues of sexism in the workplace. Often times other issues are given more attention because they are easier to talk about or are seemingly more important. Hopefully, it won’t take too many more lawsuits for men in advertising to start paying attention.


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