- The results of a 4A's study on sexism in the advertising world are sobering: More than half of the women surveyed by the group reported facing sexual harassment, according to Adweek.
- "If there were any people out there who are in denial, these stats prove otherwise," 4A's CEO Nancy Hill told Adweek. 4A’s surveyed 549 of its members, with 375 responding to the survey.
- The survey found 54% of women say their gender made them feel at least somewhat vulnerable in the workplace, while 33% say they were passed over for assignments or promotions because of their gender and 42% say they were excluded from key decision-making processes because of gender discrimination.
The results of the 4A's survey should come as a wake-up call to an industry roiled by allegations of gender discrimination.
The study comes in the wake of the resignation of former JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez, who faced allegations of gender discrimination earlier this spring, and the resignation of Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman Kevin Roberts after an interview with Business Insider in which he declared gender discrimination in the industry to be “over.”
"One of the reasons (this report is) so important is that I can talk until I'm blue in the face about anecdotal information, but if you don't have the statistics, people can continue living in denial," Hill told Adweek.
The JWT case brought issues of diversity into the spotlight for the ad agency industry, sparking a public disagreement between WPP CEO Martin Sorrell and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, who labelled the Martinez allegations an isolated incident. Sorrell countered that sexism is pervasive in the industry.
“Every woman in advertising has her own story of some kind of harassment, sexism or some sort of inappropriate behavior in the workplace … It’s a career killer,” Megan McGlynn, a freelance copywriter and founder of Girlsday, a Facebook group for women in the industry, told the Guardian in a recent report.
The 4A’s report underscores how far the ad industry has to go to shake its long-standing reputation as a boys club where sexual harassment and gender discriminated is tolerated.