Gerety Awards 2021: Why now is the time to raise the representation bar

With 180 advertising and marketing leaders from 30 different countries, Gerety 2021 shows it is possible to raise the bar when it comes to elevating female leadership.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director


Barely a week goes by in advertising without an awards jury, panel lineup or industry list hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. But that universally frustrating question, ‘where are all the women?’ is answered once again this year with grace, creativity and a whole host of female talent by the Gerety Awards. 

The awards, which were named for Frances Gerety, the copywriter who in 1948 coined the slogan ‘A diamond is forever’, celebrates all advertising, not just that which is made for women, through the female lens. It’s an approach which the Gerety team believe is “creating a benchmark that is relevant to the market reality, all while redefining the standard to which advertising has traditionally been held.”

Each year the Gerety team brings together the best creative talent, which also happens to be female from across the globe. An all-new international female jury from underlining not just the fact that it is possible to raise the bar when it comes to representation, but that it makes business sense to do so. For when diversity is your KPI and it is built into the very fabric of your business, you will never find yourself furiously back-peddling in the face of the inevitable and justified social media backlash to male dominated juries, award shows or panels. 

Even in 2021, the truth remains that most companies have much to learn about selling to women.

Nicola Kemp

Shifting the lens

Historically the benchmark at which advertising has been awarded, and creative careers built upon has been viewed largely through a male lens. This is despite the fact that women make the majority of purchase decisions in practically every consumer vertical and are expected to control 75% of all household spending by 2028.

In 2013 Forbes described how women represented the largest market opportunity in the world with female consumer purchasing power exceeding the GDP of India and China combined. Yet this incredible purchasing power is all too often not reflected across the industry, either in the make-up of creative departments or in award shows and juries. Even in 2021, the truth remains that most companies have much to learn about selling to women. 

Parity for progress

Cannes Lions achieved gender parity in its jury line up for the first time in 2020 with 53% of jury presidents as female, up from 33% in 2019. In 2021 the jury reached  57% female, the highest in the award’s history.

In November last year research from YouGov, conducted on behalf of the University of Glasgow and FutureLearn revealed that one in five, 22% of men under 35 believe that gender inequality doesn’t exist, compared to one in three, 30% of over 35 year olds. When you consider this data in the light of new research from UN Women showing that the coronavirus pandemic could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality, it is vital that the creative industries remain focused on driving progress at a time when so many women across the globe are being pushed out of the workplace altogether. 

With this in mind the Gerety  Awards show is also successfully underlining the expertise and insight of leading women across the industry within it’s Gerety Talks series, which aims to push for progress within the industry on a global scale. The series brings together agency and brand leaders from across the globe every Tuesday on Facebook, IGTV and YouTube at 11:15 EST/17:15 CET.

Tomorrow’s, Tuesday 9th February 2021, Gerety Talks will feature Rania Robinson, CEO and Partner at Quiet Storm, who has worked with some of the world’s best known brands including Three Mobile, Mercedes, Stella Artois and Coca Cola. 

Find out more about Gerety Talks on Facebook or watch live at 4:15pm GMT.