Last Thursday, October 11th, was International Day of the Girl. Wouldn’t it be would be wonderful if we didn’t need this day? Unfortunately, we are a long way from reaching equality around the world. I heard a stat yesterday that there are 98 million girls across the globe who are denied the right to an education. That is a staggering number.
If your first thought is, “Well we don’t have those kinds of problems in the U.S.,” you are mistaken. We are decades away from true equality in this country, at best, at the rate change is presently happening. Women currently account for only 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs, women make about 80% of what men make for doing the same job, and there are only 23 women in the U.S. Senate, and yet we make up half of the U.S. population.
As story tellers, it’s our job to accurately reflect society, yet 40% of women don’t identify at all with the women they see in advertising. That is crazy, right? Women want to see people who look and act like them in ads, and they will actively go out of their way to not purchase products from brands they see as sexist. Currently, about 11% of creative directors at U.S. agencies are women, which means men are making creative decisions about how women are portrayed in advertising most of the time. At Amusement Park, 50% of our creative department is female, and we actively recruit for women when we have positions open in the creative department, as we want our agency to mirror society.
A panel at Advertising Week recently talked about ‘fem-vertising,’ where marketing campaigns are created to lift women and girls up, rather than perpetuating stereotypes. And no big surprise, this is working. I can see positive steps happening all around us, so maybe one day we won’t need an International Day of the Girl. For instance ...
My home state, California, just passed a law that requires every publicly-traded company to have a woman sitting on their board of directors by 2019. This can help reshape the values and culture of businesses for years to come. I hope that other states will follow suit as California often leads the country on important issues like this.
CVS recently announced a commitment to end “material alteration” of photos of women used in their marketing. By doing this, women can more easily relate as none of us can live up to the impossible standards that are set when you airbrush someone to the point that they don’t even look real.
Scarlett Johansen just landed a $15 million paycheck, equal to many of her male counterparts, for her role in one of the Marvel films. Scarlett has been an outspoken critic of the pay gap in Hollywood for several years, refusing roles that didn’t earn her the pay she felt she deserved.
Michelle Obama announced the Global Girls Alliance – a nonprofit that will help get girls educated all around the world. The aim of this alliance is to fund the work being done globally to empower adolescent girls through education. While more women than men now attend college in the U.S., this isn’t the case across the globe.
And lastly, a total of 256 women are on the ballot for House and Senate races next month in the midterms, a record number. Once women are equally represented in government, they can have more influence over how women are treated and portrayed in this country.