When I started out in this business, I was pretty much on my own in the creative department. I’m happy to say that as of today, I’m joint ECD of a fabulous creative department populated by wonderful women, in a network run by another wonderful woman. In fact, dentsu creative in the UK now has a 50/50 gender split in the creative department and more women than men in leadership. This is progress.
So, this International Women’s Day, when I was kindly asked to submit my thoughts, I thought I’d turn this article over to them—the future female leaders in the industry, to hear what they have to say about it.
First up, Jas and Geo, Junior Creative Team
International Women’s Day is an odd one.
I personally hate the term empowerment—it’s overused, and most of the time, it’s actually not all that empowering. And on no other day do I see campaigns “empowering women” than on IWD. All with about as much use as a gold star sticker (the kind that never sticks, and rips before you even put it on). So, from a campaign point of view, it's BS.
I’d go as far as to put IWD in the same boat as Valentine's Day—should we really have ONE day to celebrate women? Why not every day?
But, when I think about all the fabulous women I’ve discovered through IWD on social media, I wouldn’t exactly want to get rid of it either.
In terms of the industry (and from a junior perspective) IWD is a great opportunity to find more work / creatives / directors / insanely talented women and celebrate them ALL.
To do a Twitter takeover and give your platform to an up-and-coming female creative. Or create posters for the Vagina Museum pro bono ahead of IWD, like creative legend Nathalie Gordon.
So, I’d say yes, let’s take the day and genuinely celebrate our amazing creative women, just don’t forget them on the 9th.
Sarah Watson, Associate Creative Director
IWD. The acronym makes me think of an IUD. Something you kind of need but don’t really want.
Because women shouldn’t need a day inserted into the calendar to remind everyone we’re worthy.
We have talks about how to be a CEO, a Fearless Leader, and managing Imposter Syndrome.
Which, don’t get me wrong, are great and extremely useful.
But to have them just on IWD reminds us that society says we shouldn’t be these things already.
So it would be great if we could have these talks and try to be better.
But let’s do them on any day, and invite everyone.
Because men suffer from these doubts too.
They’re just not reminded about it every year.
Coco and Leli, Junior Creative Team
IWD is approaching and we’ve been racking our brains trying to come up with a stunt for one of our brands. That got us looking at past IWD ads, which got us thinking – what do we actually think about IWD?
Generally speaking, most pieces don’t really change anything for the better.
Four out of every five projects are just brands hopping on a bandwagon and using it to push their product in unrelated and sometimes random ways, without being truly empowering for women.
Customers nowadays can sense bullshit, they will see through advertisers’ IWD intentions from a mile away. So, if you genuinely want to do something for women, you can do it any other day of the year.
More importantly for us, working in an agency with female leadership is great, and even better they have some of the loudest voices in the room – the opposite of the stereotype and something we should definitely celebrate on IWD.
Sarah Bamford, Creative Director
Happy International Women's Day, Victoria.
This is for you.
6 weeks ago, I was in the Ukraine shooting a beer ad. The production on the ground is called Shelter. A group of incredibly talented, skilful producers who are extremely good at what they do. I watched them build an entire ice cave structure that David Attenborough would be impressed with, overnight.
Our production assistant, Victoria, who would pick us up at 6am to be on set, drop us at the hotel at midnight, and serve us coffee and steak throughout the long days, (YES, steak on set!) looked after us so well. She was warm and generous but is also incredibly smart.
On our Saturday, we had a bit of free time, so Victoria took me and my producer on a VIP guided tour of Kyiv. We stood in the middle of Independence Square as she showed us the unbelievable pictures of war in 2014 on her iPad.
As we chatted, we moved to the topic of Ukrainian women.
We asked what it was like to be a 26-year-old woman living in Kyiv. Victoria told us that women were incredibly empowered in Ukraine. She told us that they were well respected in society and how men somehow considered women superior, even smarter. She told us how she’s always been supported and encouraged by the men in her life. She shared her plans and ambitions for work and travel.
In just a short time, Victoria's world is upside down. Now she is making camouflage for battle, supporting Ukrainian men in a war.
You were a courageous girl when we met in January, and you are more than you should have ever had to be, now.
We pray for you, your people and your country, every day. You are an extraordinarily strong young woman.
Keep dancing, Victoria.
Sara Pouri, Creative Director
Despite all the chat, many businesses still aren’t putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to equal pay.
If that’s you, here’s a handy acronym to remind you to do the right thing:
IWD stands for I Want Dollar.
I am lucky that I get to work and hear the ideas, thoughts and opinions from these fabulous women on a daily basis. We still need more.
We lose a lot of women mid-career, and need to find a way to support there.
My thoughts on IWD are pretty much the same as they always were.
Women are incredible and should be lauded every day of the week.
As ever, if I can support any woman in this business, please do get in touch.
If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly email alert and receive a regular curation of the best creative campaigns by creatives themselves.