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Women in Advertising - Casey Kelm

As a woman who is about to begin my career in the field of advertising, one issue that I constantly find myself thinking about is how women fit into the world of advertising. Whether it be the lack of women in leadership positions or the over-sexualization of women characters in the ads themselves, there is an obvious need for change within the industry.

Luckily, though, there has been some progress in recent years. This is most likely due to a heightened sense of awareness of women’s issues within society. Many brands and agencies are being held accountable for the way they choose to portray women in ads. One recent example was a KFC ad that ran in Australia. It featured a woman inspecting her appearance in a car window followed by the window rolling down to reveal two young boys and a disapproving mother. People quickly began to criticize KFC for the ad which ultimately resulted in the brand issuing a public apology.

Overall, there are still many ads with sexist undertones that go unnoticed by the general public. This is simply due to the fact that many people have come to accept these portrayals of women as normal and fail to see any cause for question. A major way to help facilitate this much needed change in how we view and portray genders is to hire more women into leadership roles within advertising agencies. If you are just starting out, like me, try your best to speak up in meetings when you feel that an idea might be sexist and/or fitting into old gender stereotypes. A more open-minded, inclusive form of advertising is coming so long as we hold each other accountable and appreciate how truly important diversity in the workplace is.

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