by Scott Taylor
Originally published: August 2, 2016
Is the need for feminism dead? Saatchi & Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts seems to think so, at least in the advertising industry. He’s been put on leave for saying the gender equality debate in his industry is “over”. So at least one senior executive disagrees. Cindy Gallop, former president of global advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, meanwhile, has recently described advertising as: “a closed loop of white guys talking to other white guys about other white guys.”
Robert’s comments – which provoked much criticism – are especially puzzling when so many high profile men are declaring themselves to be feminists. When Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau formed a cabinet last year that was 50% women, he was asked why he’d made that decision. “Because it’s 2015,” he replied. Both Trudeau and US president, Barack Obama, have declared themselves to be proud feminists.
But sexism and sexist discrimination still happens in every workplace, every day, and it’s mostly men who lead on making it happen. We can see this in terms of representation and organisational norms or practices. The numbers, still, very obviously point to the need for action – here’s just are a few, for the record. In the City of London 41% employees are women, but only around 5% of FTSE chief executives are women; only 26% of FTSE 100 board members are women (better than 1999, admittedly, when it was 0.2%, but still far from equal).