Thursday, in my class, I spoke about the Unspoken Rules of the creative game. Friday I went to Milan to meet with two female creative directors. Returning on the train Friday evening I felt like a pin pong ball that had been slapped wildly against what too often seems an unbreakable glass ceiling.
The stories the Italian women shared were as horrific as they were brave. I can’t help but think that advertising creative in Latin cultures is frighteningly toxic for women. In Spain women make up 15% of the creative department, in Italy 12% and Peru 6%. In Brazil will women vanish all together?
One of the women sent me a link to an article by the Economist. It came out with its Glass Ceiling Index, in celebration of International Women’s Day. (Well, I guess it’s good that half the population is thought about at least one day of the year!) It’s pretty Euro-centric. But maybe the data on other countries would have made the chart two-sided. Is it possible for women to have less than zero indicators of possible success? I’m beginning to think so.
The Economist compared five indicators across 26 countries. 1) The number of men and women respectively with tertiary education. 2) Female labor-force participation. 3) The male-female wage gap. 4) The proportion of women in senior jobs. 5) Finally, net child-care costs relative to the average wage. They weighted the first four equally, but as not all working women have children the fifth was adjusted.
I want to move to New Zealand. I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Now, I also know New Zealander’s also support women. Finland rocked it on education. Sweden had the highest female labor-force participation rate (78%). Spain has the smallest wage gap (6%) – not in advertising creative departments, I can assure you of that. I guess if New Zealand won’t have me, I can pack up my snowshoes and move to Stockholm.
I wonder when we’ll have this discussion again. Maybe next March? I hope not.