Women have failed to "kick on" in the advertising industry after building a strong base at senior level, says Gail Curtis, former head of the Saatchi & Saatchi agency in SA.
Advertising can boast a relatively high proportion of senior women. Besides Nunu Ntshingila, who chairs the Ogilvy & Mather SA group, women who have headed top agencies in recent years include Boniswa Pezisa at Net#work BBDO, Dawn Klatzko and Alison Deeb at MetropolitanRepublic, Sue Napier at Ireland-Davenport, Renee Silverstone at The Jupiter Drawing Room, Judy van Dam at JWT, Sizakele Marutlulle at Grey Group and Lynn Madeley at Havas
Curtis, who left Saatchi at the end of July to set up a business mentoring and coaching women executives, is concerned that advertising's female executive impetus may be flagging, and that there are few obvious candidates to lead the next charge. "Having gained ground, we mustn't give it away again," she says.
Havas' Madeley doesn't think there is much to worry about. Women, she says, are well represented throughout advertising and marketing and have the same opportunities as men to progress.
However, they sometimes "create their own glass ceiling" by demanding a better work-life balance than most men. "I don't believe there is a boys' club in SA advertising," she says. "There is nothing in the way of women who are determined and willing to make sacrifices."
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