What’s On

Women’s Libbers

‘Women? You’re better off keeping chickens.’ Our teenage boys are talking about their girlfriends at the dinner table. But as a manager you can’t even think about saying something like that at the office, unless you’re wanting to have a lot of free time on your hands. Kevin Roberts, the well-respected CEO of international advertising group Saatchi & Saatchi, recently said in an interview in reference to gender diversity that ‘the fucking debate is all over.’ And that women don’t mind one bit not making it to the top because they don’t have the ambition for it. The supervisory directors gave him his walking papers the very next day.

Roberts’ comments are now all the buzz in the advertising world. Trade journals went in search of hard facts and interviewed advertising women who have reached the top. There’s nothing wrong with the actual number of women in the advertising industry. But most of them do work in support positions, while not enough work on the creative floor. You’ll run into them in the boardroom, but they’re usually pushing a coffee trolley. A heated debate has now erupted on internet forums between women with short tempers and men with short dicks.

Men are simplistic and think the offering of female talent and ambition is lacking. Women are divided. The women’s libbers are disgusted by the old boys’ network and their tasteless guy jokes. They get each other riled up in a private Facebook group where they can swap sexist comments. The Stockholm complex group sympathises with the oppressor and refers to a macho culture that must bother some men as well. The Realists are self-critical and say they don’t run into a glass ceiling at the office, but at home instead. The path to the top takes a lot of time and energy. So ambitious women have to choose both the right course of study and the right partner who’ll be willing to do half the parenting if kids come along.

It’s remarkable that there are plenty of advertising men who make campaigns in which the woman wears the trousers and the men are the anti-hero in their role as super wuss or ex-millionaire. But when it comes to hiring key employees, they suddenly suffer from the clone complex and choose a non-threatening copy of themselves. Until last week in Rio that is, because there couldn’t be any better advertising for girl power than the Dutch female athletes’ performance at this year’s Olympics. Only the Dutch female horse riders weren’t in the winner’s seat. But, then again, they were riding on stallions. Or – as the women’s libbers prefer it – a castrated gelding.

Sisters are doing it for themselves.

Dick van der Lecq

Dick van der Lecq is the Managing Director at DDB Unlimited. He was previously the Managing Partner at Etcetera.