Do You Have Her Back? Push For Gender Parity For Creatives After #MeToo

Apparently the days of Don Draper behavior are not over.While a fictional character in “Mad Men” set in the 1960s, Draper is similar in behavior to high profile men accused of sexual harassment in the tsunami that is #MeToo. What these stories do is neglect to highlight the low profile, silent departures of women in the creative fields.These women in the creative departments of public relations agencies have left their careers following their experiences of harassment. It’s time they return.The launch of Have Her Back  by global public relations agency Golin – in partnership with SheSays, the 3% Conference (named after the percentage of female creative directors)  and evolveHer – is a new mandate to hire back female creatives who have left their careers because of sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. And to enlist the help of men in agencies to make it happen more quickly.[bctt tweet=”#HaveHerBack is a new initiative to rehire women in creative positions in agencies to create gender parity after #MeToo” username=“takeleadwomen”]“For the biggest abusers, time is up. For her, the time is now,” the campaign states. The campaign launched last week is bolstered by a training event in Chicago on April 10th, Equal Pay Day.Have Her Back aims to welcome creative women “back to the agency environment, and addressing the embarrassing shortage of female creatives in ad and PR agencies,” according to Golin’s site.By 2020, Golin has set an internal goal to have equal representation by women and men in positions of power around its creative table.  And the agency is challenging others to make their own commitments to hiring, training and developing a culture of empowerment.This is five years earlier than the Take The Lead goal of gender parity in leadership by 2025 in all sectors.“Since December, at least five executives at major firms have been fired due to sexual harassment and discrimination complaints, at agencies from Seattle to London. Most recently, the chief creative officer at Innocean USA, Eric Springer, was put on leave after ADWEEK broke news of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Springer and the agency for sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and wrongful termination,” writes Amelia Harnish in Refinery29.“#MeToo was an awakening for both women and men to understand just how rampant sexual bias/harassment/assault truly is amongst women in virtually every walk of life in our modern times,” says Caroline Dettman, Golin’s Chief Creative Officer. “Now is the moment for both female and male leaders to work together on solving that problem – which means taking actions to end the behaviors of a culture of male entitlement to a culture of shared empowerment. There are many action-oriented campaigns out there that female leaders can join like #haveherback, and encourage their male peers to join too.“The number of female creative directors in the industry is diminutive compared to their male counterparts. While the percentage has grown from 3 percent to 11 percent in the past few years, it is not enough. According to Dettman, creative departments have been exposed for being openly hostile to female creatives.[bctt tweet=“The number of female #creativedirectors is diminutive compared to their male counterparts. While the percentage has grown from 3 percent to 11 percent in the past few years, it is not enough. #leadershipparity” username=“takeleadwomen”]“Our industry says the right things, but hasn’t been quick to take action,” says Dettman, who created the the campaign. “In the past few months, we have seen some high-profile harassers lose their jobs. And while that is progress, there’s a question that’s been keeping me awake at night: just how many women’s career trajectories and well-being lie in their wake?”According to Dettman, “Women leaders can set the tone of what will and what will not be tolerated. A big part of what needs changing needs to come from men – and I’ve found a lot of great men out there that are not only open to listening but wanting to be a part of the change.  #HaveHerBack was born from this female and male partnership that wants to drive this change and once and for all.”Have Her Back is grounded in three actions: hiring, training and creating cultures of empowerment. Golin has committed to doubling the percentage of women on the ideator track, working towards Executive Creative Director roles, every year through 2020.[bctt tweet=”#HaveHerBack is grounded in three actions: hiring, training and creating cultures of empowerment” username=“takeleadwomen”]They are partnering with The 3% Movement to co-create “Manbassador” trainings – designed to help solve the question many men are asking, particularly in today’s climate: How do we support and advance women in the workplace?“The 3% Movement has spent the last seven years understanding what separates creative cultures that are inclusive from those that are not,” says Kat Gordon, Founder of The 3% Movement. “Here’s what we know: men must be involved in gender diversity efforts; all employees must be given a safe mechanism for honest feedback; having 25 percent women at the top self-corrects most issues combating women; and support for intersectional diversity cannot be postponed a moment longer.”For the past five months, Golin has also created internal task forces and held town halls and focus groups to listen, talk and tackle the issues around sexual harassment, assault and inequality in the workplace.“The irony is not lost on me that as agencies, we say that female equality matters to us, yet our actions or inactions say otherwise,” says Dettman. “As creatives, we inspire our clients to right wrongs and improve the human condition every day. I have a lot of hope that it’s these same people who will practice what we preach and take action to show we have her back.”The problem of harassment in advertising, marketing and creative agencies is apparently historic and rampant.[bctt tweet=“The problem of #harassment in advertising, marketing and creative agencies is apparently historic and rampant. “ username=“takeleadwomen”]Recently, “a group of 180 female CEOs, chief creative officers, chief strategy officers and other top agency executives announced the launch of Time’s Up Advertising, an official vertical aimed at discussing and addressing the industry’s pervasive problems with sexual harassment and gender inequality,” according to Lindsay Rittenhouse writing in ADWEEK.Time’s Up Advertising will “drive new policies, practices, decisions and tangible actions that result in more balanced, diverse and accountable leadership; address workplace discrimination, harassment and abuse; and create equitable and safe cultures within the advertising industry.”“We don’t for a minute believe we found all the answers,” Time’s Up Advertising wrote. “As women in senior leadership positions in advertising, we’ve agreed that we have the power to change this business we love until it looks more like the industry we want to lead.”