Women in Advertising Creative Departments in South Africa: Restricting Factors and Empowerment
MetadataShow full item record
The creative department (copywriters and art directors) of an advertising agency is where the ideas behind the estimated 5,000 ads we see each day are born. In the US, only three percent of creative directors are women, signifying a severe lack of female leadership and representation. Not only is this an issue from a gender equality standpoint, but also from a business perspective. And for brands, this is a waste of money. Furthermore, having more equality in creative departments will result in a healthier media diet for consumers than they are currently receiving. I explored the issue further over the course of ten weeks in Cape Town, South Africa. My research questions asked to what extent there is a lack of female creatives there, reasons behind this, and what can be done to empower women to be successful in the industry. I interviewed seven male and female creatives and strategists in Cape Town and drew common themes from their responses. Overall, I found that while there is a lack of female creatives, the issue may be a bit ahead of its time in South Africa, with priority given to race and recovery after apartheid. Potential mitigation steps, optimism for change, and advice for aspiring female creatives are discussed.