The perfect time for women to strike a better deal
A view from Maisie McCabe

The perfect time for women to strike a better deal

With the deputy prime minister’s Wacl lunch this week and Harriet Harman addressing its members at a dinner next month, it seems that politicians are increasingly taking notice of the ad industry. Or at least including its powerful women in their grandstanding and hand-shaking ahead of the general election. But, whatever the reason, it’s a good thing, especially if they listen as well as talk.

Nick Clegg has done much to push forward an equality agenda over the past five years. Not least the latest changes to the rules around shared parental leave, which come into effect in April. It’s also always pleasing to see a front-bench politician’s wife putting her own career before smiling by her husband’s side. I’d imagine Miriam González Durántez has a lot of fans among the Waclers who were at the Savoy on Tuesday.

The Clegg lunch comes amid heightened awareness of the role of women in the election. When Harman embarked on her tour of the country to connect with some of the millions of women who did not vote in 2010, it was a shame that the colour of the van became the story. Judging by conversations I had at the time, I imagine the ill-thought-through pink (sorry, magenta) Ford Transit will come up again when Harman speaks to Wacl in three weeks’ time.

Alongside all these high-profile events is the research study launched by She’s Back – an organisation that works with women who have taken a long career break from professional life – with support from DLKW Lowe. She’s Back wants to find out more about the women who take time out from the creative industries to raise children. Better understanding of the circumstances of such women can only help make things better for those who return (as well as those left behind and women considering leaving in the future).

I imagine the ill-though-through pink (sorry, magenta) Ford Transit will come up when Harman speaks to Wacl

So adland seems to be talking increasingly about the role of women, both in the industry and the product it produces. To do so is a sign of strength. It is also something that we at Campaign are proud to support and be part of.

If you weren’t there, hopefully you read in last week’s issue about Wacl’s debate at the House of Commons earlier this month. And, this week, Kate Magee highlights the learnings from a SheSays evening on female creative directors’ secrets of successes.

If there is a danger of women not making the most of their electoral power over the next government, there seems to be no worry of those in the advertising industry being disengaged with its future. It is incumbent on all of us to make sure all these debates, events and conferences bring about some real change. And push the politicians to use their influence to do so too.