'Women want to be leaders': Cindy Gallop gives her view on whether the gender divide is closing

Women are determined to change the lack of opportunities afforded to them within the advertising industry, according to BBH New York and Make Love Not Porn founder Cindy Gallop.

Talking to The Drum ahead of fronting a series of webinars on female leadership in partnership with the 4As, Gallop spoke about the changes she could see taking place across the industry.

“Never doubt that just as many women as men in our industry burn with ambition to reach the top – but are given far less opportunity to do so,” she began when asked about whether she believed women felt there was a positive change taking place.

“Women are now determined to change that. More and more women are calling out the all-male or male-dominated upper echelons of adland and pointing out how this is actually damaging us in a world where the majority of consumers of every product are female, is making more women determined to get up there and lead in order to change the future of our industry. And more and more women are standing up as role models to inspire younger women - because you cannot be what you cannot see.”

Gallop went on to highlight the response she received while speaking at the 3 Percent Conference last year, which she described as “an eye opener” for many of the “mostly female audience” who she believed finally realised that things could be different in the industry.

“I was equally struck by the audience reaction when during my Glass Lion jury president speech at Cannes I referenced how few female creatives were coming up to get awards versus men.”

She relayed an email she was sent by one pair of creative afterwards, which read: "We were in the Glass Lions audience last night and were so inspired and fired up by your speech. It was a little daunting to see group and after group of only men accepting awards, but your speech left us excited to fuck shit up in the industry and get some women in the seats. You're honestly the most badass person at this festival, and it showed.

“Thank you so much for everything you do for women everywhere."

Gallop went on to state her belief that a change was visible: “Women want to be leaders, and now they know they have every right to be; they have a much better sense of the unconscious bias holding them back across the board.”

She added that she planned for the 4As Glass Ladder webinar series to help women identify areas of the business that still need balance and how they can aspire within those areas.

“And men - the young men in our industry – want us to lead too,” Gallop continued, citing another email she had received following her talk at the 3 Per Cent Conference.

It read: "I found your talk hugely inspiring. I have always looked to my mother and sisters amongst many other women as inspiration throughout my life and think it is incredible that there remains such inequality within the advertising industry. I absolutely agree that we have a responsibility to diversify both the people within our workforce as well as broaden the audience that our content is aimed at."

She also cited a piece written by another male creative who attended the School of Communications Arts, who penned a piece about meeting Gallop after a talk there too.

“Women constitute the largest proportion of spending on goods in almost all sectors and even influence the purchase of goods bought by men. And yet they are conspicuously absent from the upper echelons of the advertising industry.

“Women have a different perspective from men. I think that is something we can all agree on. But the idea that just by having a gender-equal business model could revolutionise insight, creativity and progress within the industry was fascinating,” concluded Gallop.

The first 4As Glass Ladder webinar by Cindy Gallop, ‘How to become a CEO When Nobody Thinks You Can’ will take place on 28 October.

Meanwhile, votes are now being accepted for the Woman of the Year category at this year's SheSays Awards.

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