The Drum published an article—“A quarter of senior management in advertising are women, finds IPA Agency Census—but is that still simply too low?”—which included commentary from a handful of White female ad honchos in the UK.
According to research from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), women comprise at least 49 percent of the UK advertising workforce and 25.6 percent of senior-level roles. Additionally, women comprise 27 percent of digital creatives, up from 15 percent in 2013. In short, women in UK advertising—particularly White women—are making natural and significant strides that have surely been happening long before efforts like The 3% Conference jumped on the bandwagon. After all, White women have always enjoyed much easier access to the advertising field, whether joining via legitimate credentials or through administrative assistant positions, nepotism, cronyism and even as the mistresses of account directors and creative directors. While White men have certainly stalled women’s industry infiltration, the boundaries are continuing to diminish as the years go by.
In contrast, minorities continue to face the same bigoted barriers that have been around for too many decades. Even MediaCom UK CEO Karen Blackett—recognized as the most influential Black person in Britain—admits to experiencing racial bias from peers and clients. And Blackett is only 43 years old.
So why does racial, ethnic and cultural discrimination take a back seat to the supposed woes of White women? The dearth of dames in the advertising industry is certainly cause for concern. But the institutionalized dearth of diversity is cause for criminal charges.