Creative industry needs more female leaders

16 August 2018 - 18:43 By Lwandile Bhengu
Loeries chairperson Suhana Gordhan‚ has called on advertising agencies to do more in aiding female representation on judging panels.
Loeries chairperson Suhana Gordhan‚ has called on advertising agencies to do more in aiding female representation on judging panels.
Image: iStock

More women decision-makers in the advertising industry.

That's the call by Loeries chairperson Suhana Gordhan‚ who has called on advertising agencies to do more in aiding female representation on judging panels.

The Loeries is an annual event that rewards and promotes creative excellence in advertising and the communication industry. Speaking at the Loeries MasterClass on ‘Female representation and the media - who controls the narrative?’ on Thursday‚ she said: “We need the support of the entire industry to put forward the names of females and people of colour who they believe are more than capable (to sit on panels).

She added: “One of the things I specifically look at as the chairperson is making sure we have more women judges on our judging panels‚ we have been doing a lot of things to try and make that happen but it is a slow burn.” The MasterClass was one of eight master classes that took place during the week-long Loeries progamme which ends on Saturday. Dealing specifically with advertising‚ the master class looked at the stereotypical portrayal of women in the media.

One of the women leading the conversation was Zumi Njongwe‚ marketing & innovation director at Diageo South Africa - a premium drinks company responsible for brands such as Johnnie Walker- who said: “Our brands are part of the culture‚ our brands are about socialising‚ they are an integral part of people celebrating moments every day and we have a specific responsibility to drive the narrative of women representation that we are talking about today.”

Emma Reeves‚ executive director of Free the Bid‚ said: “If the majority of your production is male‚ as a marketer you have to ask yourself if you are genuinely tapping into and authentically speaking to your actual consumers because across the board 85% of consumers are female.”

Free the Bid is an international organisation aimed at improving female representation in the media and production world.

Now in its 40th year‚ Gordhan said that one of the ways the Loeries had been trying to improve representation on judging panels was by creating a sponsorship judge position on the student judging panels where agencies were given the opportunity to put forward names of people who had been underrepresented.

“I feel like as Loeries we are about recognising‚ rewarding and inspiring creativity. We are more than just an awards show. Part of inspiring is opening up spaces for conversations like these.”

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