Ad Women, Not Mad Men, a search engine to find women in the advertising industry, officially launched Thursday, one day prior to International Women’s Day.

The site has registered 500 women worldwide stretching from New York and Taipei to Johannesburg and Skopje. Titles -- which visitors can search on -- range from content manager to account director.

The initiative was started in 2016, by Lina Franzon and Johanna Johansson. The duo found a lot of agencies using the excuse that "there are no female creatives" when it was time to hire new talent, Franzon wrote in an email to Search Insider.

So men were hired, although they were already overrepresented. “We decided to prove them wrong and emailed all female creatives we knew, asking if they'd like to be a part of a searchable register,” she wrote. “Most of them said yes, and a month later we launched the Swedish equivalent Kreatörskvinnor.”



A year later Franzon and Johansson launched a Kickstarter campaign, encouraging the industry to fund the development of the initiative. And they did. Some 20 agencies and 145 people backed it and made possible.

Anecdotally, marketers will tell you that more women in recent years have entered the fields of search advertising and marketing.

Some 60% of Elite SEM’s workforce is women -- about 313 women out of 548 total employees. “Having grown up in agency-land, women have been part of the agency fabric for some time,” said Dalton Dorné, CMO, Elite SEM. “But we are now reaching critical mass -- and there are more women in management positions than ever before. And it's not just more women in leadership roles at digital agencies -- there are also more senior women at the platforms too. It's exciting to 'see the change' in our industry.”

Marty Weintraub, who founded aimClear, promoted a woman to CEO to run the agency. About nine of the 21 employees are women. He said the division has always been about half women and half men.

“There are some very strong women-led companies,” said Chris Copeland, co-founder and CEO of C2Next. “You also see more women in holding companies promoted into senior posts, but it’s unclear if it’s an overall trend.”

Larger agencies seem to employee a higher number of women in search. Jonathan Kagan, senior director of search and biddable at Cogniscient Media, says 60% of women support the digital team at the agency, and women make up 63% of his search marketing team.

Still, 21% of the women participating in Mckinsey & Company's latest Women in the Workplace report explains how they were often the only person of their gender in the room -- or at the least, one of very few. The number rose to 45% for women of color. The number remained low, at just 7% for men.

These statistics -- published in 2018 from McKinsey’s most recent study of 64,000 employees and 279 companies in North America -- shows the slow progress the country has made since the fourteenth amendment passed in 1868.

The sobering slow process toward gender equality in most companies was boosted in California late 2018 by then Governor Jerry Brown, who signed a bill into law that makes California the first state to require corporate boards of directors to include women. Elsewhere in the country, the C-suite it is stuck at one in five, and only one in 25 is a woman of color.

Woman get less support from managers, less access to senior leaders, and are too often the only one in a department full of men, according to McKinsey's report.

Women working alone in a department full of men also are far more likely to have their judgment questioned, compared with women working in a more balanced environment, such as 49% versus 32%. They typically are more likely to be mistaken for someone in a more junior position -- 35% versus 15% -- and subjected to unprofessional and demeaning remarks, at 24% versus 14%, according to the findings.

Advancing women’s equality could increase the gross domestic product $12 to 28 trillion by 2025, according to Google, citing data from McKinsey.

Google started the Womenwill initiative years ago to create economic opportunity for women by connecting them to the online world and tools to make the most of it. The program added 18 new chapters across Sub-Saharan Africa on Friday in honor of International Women’s Day. The list of countries include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Mexico.

Mckinsey estimates that if companies continue to hire and promote women to management positions at the current rates, the number of women in management will increase by just one percentage point during the next ten years. If companies begin to hire and promote women and men to management positions at equal rates, North America should get close to parity in management, about 48% women versus 52% men, during the same ten years, according to the report.




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