'Diversity Raises the Bar': Cindy Gallop Declares War on Sexual Harassment in Advertising

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Cindy Gallop speaking at the 2017 3% Conference.
Cindy Gallop speaking at the 2017 3% Conference.

Cindy Gallop has some breaking news for advertisers: "The biggest issue facing our industry today is not diversity -- it's sexual harassment, which prevents gender equality and diversity from happening," the diversity advocate said Friday at the 3% Conference in New York City.

During her closing keynote speech, Gallop, a consultant and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld, brought up research from The Agency Circle diversity survey in Australia this summer, which states that 42 percent of all female employees across all agencies reported they have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their advertising career. Also, nearly half (45 percent) of women said they feel vulnerable because they are women.

While this study was performed in Australia, Gallop said she's sure the numbers are similar in the U.S. and other markets.

Last month, Gallop asked advertising professionals to speak up about sexual harassers in the industry in response to the outpouring of sexual harassment stories allegedly committed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein over the decades. She said she has received more than 160 emails from women of all ages around the world.

Gallop said she has two simple solutions to this problem:

1. Make every level and work environment at your agency gender-equal/more female than male as quickly as possible

2. Promote and establish an aspirational societal gold standard of what constitutes good sexual values and good sexual behavior.

If you follow these tips, she said you will "make an absolute goddamn fucking shit-ton of money."

"There is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously. Our industry is not taking women seriously," she said.

Another way to solve the problem, according to Gallop, is for women to simply start their own advertising agencies, which is something she charged women to do during last year's 3% Conference.

"I want you to start the ad industry of tomorrow. We don't like the one we're seeing in front of us today," she said.

Gallop added that she's "so tired of how very low the creative bar has been set in the industry for decades by the white male dominance" that has held the industry back.

"Diversity raises the fucking bar," she said. "We are the future of advertising."

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