Heads In The Sand

Our industry has a history of sweeping issues under the carpet. Of burying its head in the sand. Making a joke of the unhealthy cultures that unfairly impact individuals.

It's been our mission at Never Not Creative to address these issues that fall through the gaps.

Mad Men And Furious Women

In the last month one of those issues has hit the spotlight. Zoe Scaman wrote a quite excellent article on the widespread, rampant misogyny experienced by women in our industry. If you're a woman, you're likely to have experienced it yourself. If you're a man you're likely to have heard about it, joked along to fit in – or worse, enacted and perpetuated it.

The stories shared by Zoe of her own experiences are horrific. The hundreds of stories she received from other women are terrifying. The stories are so very real. But they've been successfully banished to the never to be heard of again dungeon of the NDA gaffer tape gag. God forbid that these stories get out to destroy the reputation of the firms that allow them to happen or impact on the careers of the men who have abused and enhanced their status for their own entertainment.

The hatred, mocking and intimidation of women needs to be wiped out. There isn't a silver bullet for this. But it does need to be placed at the top of the agenda and like so many other things, our industry needs to come together to tackle it.

If You’re A Man. Please. Keep. Reading.

And men. If you've made it this far down the post... you need to be part of the solution. Whatever your past relationship with misogyny and misogynists, your time for reconciliation is now.

You're being given a chance. To repair. To improve. To create change. It's probably way more than you deserve, but like in the past, you're bound to take advantage of it.

While women's anger is quite rightly high and the vitriol is boiling, men have to get past defensiveness and realise that they've actually been given the chance to shine. With positions of power and privilege come opportunities. And now in this situation, the opportunity is to do good and to create change.

Open Eyes And Ears

The first step? Listen and reflect. As an industry, whoever you are, this is your chance to take a look at what's happening around you. To question. To listen. But be careful. Our role is to fix the system that allows this to happen – we can't possibly fix the people who have already been impacted. What we can do is support them and create the conditions to make sure we stamp out the behaviour and belief that this is the way things are.

Here's What We're Doing At Never Not Creative.

NNC is becoming a not-for-profit organisation. As part of this, we're creating a board for the organisation. The board mix is made up of 4 women and 2 men. Indeed, many of our initiatives, volunteers and change-groups are predominantly female. This is good, but it also highlights a problem. More men need to step up and get involved in making our industry a better place. It's not just an NNC thing. But at industry events focused on change and creating fairer outcomes for all, the room is almost always female with a minority of supportive women.

Fellas, there's nothing to be scared of here. In fact, women can probably help and support you just as much now as you have been helped and supported in the past.

NNC has joined forces with Fck the cupcakes in Australia to tackle misogyny head on. Fck the cupcakes was started by Jasmin Bedir, CEO of Innocean in response to yet another cupcake making, pat on the back accepting, International Women's Day. We're working on better representation, better conversations and initiatives on how to bring more men to the table in tackling the challenge.

Our Asking For A Friend events are perfectly set up for this time. They're not the solution. But they are a chance for anyone to take that safe, first step on asking the question of how to deal with what might have happened, what is happening, and what to do now, in a safe non-judgemental space. Ask anonymously to an industry leader and a psychologist.

Never Not International Women's Day is our own action initiative, spearheaded by Prue Jones, Ve Dewey and Andy Wright. If you want to understand things from a female perspective. If you want to feel heard. If you want to find camaraderie and solidarity then check out the site. There are excellent talks on there from female creatives  from all over the world sharing their experiences, coping mechanisms and their analysis of a broken system. In there too, the recognition and thoughts of a handful of supportive men.

At the end of this month, Ve and Andy are facilitating a workshop with The Agency Collective in the UK. The intention is to work with agency owners on how to create a more inclusive culture in creative agencies. It will be just one of a number of sessions we'll be looking to run with creatives to ideate and formulate solutions to this problem.

None of us are the experts in this topic. That's why we have to come together, to work together and propose solutions that we can all own to get over this climactic point in our industry's history.