Creative Equals, D&AD and Diageo have partnered to launch a Creative Comeback 'returners' programme in India. The programme has been launched ahead of International Women's Day 2022 and the idea is to break the gender bias in advertising creative departments.
This initiative aims to help women deal with the bias in re-entering the workforce (a break due to illness or child delivery) and cope with the lack of flexibility that restricts women to do so.
A statement issued by the trio reveals that advertising creatives are only considered as good as ‘their last piece of work’. With a CV gap of more than a year and a fast-changing consumer landscape of evolving social media trends, against their male candidates who never have a ‘gap’, returning female creatives are quickly considered ‘out-dated’, offered lower positions or even accept demoralising pay cuts.
To change the narrative, Creative Equals, a global association for creative design and advertising, D&AD, along with Diageo will be training partners for this initiative.
Agencies FCB and Virtue Worldwide have signed up for the programme.
Ali Hanan, chief executive, Creative Equals, said, "Losing women at this critical juncture in their careers means there are few women creative directors in India. Creative directors curate the media billions of Indian women see. As a study by UNICEF and the Geena Davis institute shows, advertising doesn’t portray the modern Indian woman who is tech-savvy and discerning, instead of perpetuating potentially harmful stereotypes. Without gender equality at creative leadership, brands could be missing out on millions of rupees of potential revenue, as more than 85% of purchasing decisions are made by Indian women across all categories, from insurance to cars to homes."
Paul Drake, foundation director, D&AD, said, "We have seen the success of this programme in London and New York, where 80% of participants go on to find employment. We will spend two weeks 7 - 17 March upskilling returners on ideation, strategy, presentation skills, innovations and trends from our awards programme so they are equipped with the right knowledge for the jobs market."
Deepika Warrier, CMO Diageo India, said, "At Diageo, inclusion and diversity is central to our purpose of celebrating life, every day, everywhere and we’re committed to creating a working culture in which our people feel like they belong and can bring their authentic selves to work. Today, for example, 22% of Diageo India’s overall workforce (as against 7.5% in 2015), 4 of 8 executives in the Excom are women. On our brand and creative side, over 45% of our content work has been led, directed or portrayed by women creators, and over 10% of our work by creators on the gender identity spectrum. We will continue this focus on gender equality and equity throughout the globe, specifically at the creative table, as we know gender equality makes for better, more representative advertising. We know women ‘are 11 times more likely to not work after COVID job loss,’ (The Times Of India, 2021) and also step out during certain life stages and then find it difficult to hit their stride when they return. This is particularly true of the creative industry sector. Creative Comeback helps the industry #BreakTheBias by changing the view on CV gaps to being gifts. We know when women take a career break, their life experiences bring them back with a deeper perspective."
Swati Bhattacharya, creative chairperson, FCB India, said, "FCB strives to support diversity at its very core, and is proud to have outstanding female leaders in creative and business roles across the world. I do believe that something happens to our brains after childbirth. I for one got sharper. Maybe it's the sleepless nights and chronic worrying. So I am over the moon to partner up with Creative Comeback in this mission to get mama's back on the saddle at work. Everything they have learnt during their hiatus is everything an organisation needs to be-fierce and diverse."