Britain's top creative directors have promised urgent action to open up their departments to more women after a damning report condemning them as male bastions.
The IPA creative directors forum is calling a meeting to discuss how the placement system can be adapted to make it more attractive to women.
Its members also plan to study related sectors, particularly the design industry, where the balance between men and women is unequal.
The initiative follows an IPA-commissioned study showing that although more women are reaching the top in agencies compared with ten years ago, the number of women in creative departments has declined.
The research blames a laddish culture for the fact that only 17 per cent of copywriters and 14 per cent of art directors are women.
Chris O'Shea, the forum's chairman, said: 'The problem is linked to the placement system. While a lot of women are going to art colleges, few of them are going into advertising because they don't fancy eating pot noodles for a year.'
Meanwhile, the forum has refused to return the Clios to its recognised list of creative awards. The Clios were 'delisted' in 1991 when the radio and press awards ceremony in New York degenerated into a fiasco after reports that the Clios were in financial difficulties.
Since then, the awards organisers have been working to re-establish the Clios' credibility and had appealed to the forum to change its mind.
O'Shea said: 'I feel sorry for the Clios organisers because they have cleaned up their act. But the vote by forum members was a resounding no. There are just too many awards and we're all suffering from awards fatigue.'
Separately, the IPA is attempting to nurture the number of start-ups by posting on its website the names of creative directors who are willing to pass on advice.
Tim Delaney, Robert Campbell, Tim Ashton and O'Shea himself are among those who have declared themselves willing to offer confidential advice.