I have no beef with the many talented guys who gathered last night to accept their due. But I suspect that consumers might be better served if the ad world was led by more than a smattering of creatives like Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin of Ogilvy/Toronto, who were among the few females honored, for Dove's Evolution.
Why do so many fewer women than men manage to prevail in creative fields like Adland? I'm convinced it's not just that guys want to play with their kind. It's that often women's drive gets deflected before the game is over. Their priorities shift, their goals are realigned by lifechanging events such as having a child (or trying to), their focus is splintered by encroaching demands inherent in juggling a worklife and life. I'm a perfect example of this. Twenty-four years ago, the then-hot shop Scali, McCabe, Sloves granted me a generous six month maternity leave. But a baby proved the toughest boss I'd ever had, and to preserve flexibility in meeting her needs, I went back as a freelancer.
Times have changed, happily, in that men are assuming more active roles in bringing up baby. (See alpha dads.) Being relieved of 100% responsibility for raising a family is essential if women are to achieve workplace success. But what's also essential is that they manage not to relinquish the drive and passion that launched them as interns.
There's a lot of talk lately about the necessities and benefits of cross-pollinating disparate brains around conference room tables. Yet, too often, the brains are of homogenous gender. Attendance at the table requires time and exertion and acknowledgement that it's important to be there. Belly up, ad broads. Yes, we can.