The purpose of this Masters Research Paper is to examine the role of women in the creative advertising industry. After extensive research into this area of study, it is evident that globally, women make up a very small percentage of the creative roles and executive positions within the advertising industry (Jean Grow & Tao Deng, 2014). Given this state of affairs, consciousness-raising movements like The 3% Conference, for example, (Jesse Thomas, 2012) have emerged in order to raise awareness of this problem and to promote change for women in the advertising industry in the United States and beyond.
The literature review that informs the original research conducted in this MRP will analyze the historical trends of women in the creative departments of the global advertising industry in practice and in popular culture and some of the factors that may contribute to this gender disparity – the objective was to examine and gain an understanding of why this gender gap persists. The data was then collected from three different media sources: the television show Mad Men, the documentary film Art & Copy and an online movement called The 3% Conference. My findings were derived from a series of content analyses that enabled me to determine how the media and online professional organizations like The 3% Conference portray women in creative advertising in North America. Lastly, the literature review was compared to the results from the data, to determine whether the media offers a reliable depiction of women in the creative advertising industry.