Cindy Gallop has a few choice words for certain men. This includes the now-ex Google employee, James Damore, recently fired for his claim that hiring to achieve diversity means sacrificing standards.
"Diversity raises the fucking bar," says Gallop, an ad industry consultant and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld.
Her fighting words are emblazoned on a new ad campaign from Pinterest, "Right the Ratio," that launches on the platform Wednesday, and she'll say the same thing to anyone who will listen.
"You believe that the only people capable of creating great work are white men, and bringing women in makes it shit?" Gallop says incredulously of an attitude that Damore merely amplified.
"Right the Ratio" is another effort to encourage hiring parity in advertising and technology. The campaign includes videos and other content meant to appeal to the site's predominantly female user base. More than 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, and many are digital savvy as well as creative-minded.
"I was interested in Pinterest as a colossal tech unicorn that has been powered by women as the primary users," Gallop says.
But the campaign—the creative of which was worked on with Grow—is far from gender specific. Meant to help scrub sexism from company policies and work environments, the promoted pins will drive people to workplace advice and strategies for both women and men that are meant to help foster diversity.
Other prominent female advertising voices in the campaign include the creative director of Gimlet Media, Nazanin Rafsanjan, and Katie Facada, associate creative director at R/GA.
It's only a coincidence that "Right the Ratio" launches just after Silicon Valley was stung by its latest flare-up of misogyny, which Damore wrote as a pseudo-scientific critique of women in technology.
He expressed stereotypical arguments about women being less interested in computer engineering, on average, and wrote that neurotic tendencies accounted for their lack of advancement. The point of the posting on Google's internal message board, if there was one, was to suggest hiring for diversity leads to worse outcomes.
Gallop says she's heard the same critique from men across Madison Avenue.
"It's the single most appallingly insulting thing anybody can say," Gallop says. "This is what men tend to say when challenged on diversity—'Diversity is great, but it lowers the bar.'"
Parity for women in advertising is esential she believes, pointing out that women make up only 11 percent of creative directors.
Pinterest does have a higher ratio of women employees compared to many companies in Silicon Valley: 44 percent of its total workforce is women and 26 percent work in tech.
It's not enough to be careful not to offend women in ads, Gallop says; the key is to hire more women as executives, and then fewer offensive ads would get made in the first place.
"The problems will persist until men are operating in a working environment where they are surrounded by as many women as men, if not ideally more women than men," she says, "because it's been the other way around for far too long."