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IWD 2022: Celebrating initiatives changing the climate of advertising

March 2022

International Women’s Day 2022 is all about celebrating changing climates.

We can all agree that the climate of the advertising industry has certainly changed a lot since the Mad Men era of ads.

The shEqual Survey results show how much has changed. Men are more engaged with gender equality, more workplaces are running initiatives and including equity in their everyday discussions and more and more people are fighting for even bolder change.

This International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate some initiatives run by and for the advertising industry that are striving for bold and sustainable change.


F*ck the Cupcakes

F*ck the Cupcakes is an initiative founded by Innocean CEO Jasmin Bedir, born from the frustration of getting cupcakes and lip service every International Women’s Day but not seeing any real change. The initiative was launched with a range of gender-neutral slogan t-shirts designed by women in the industry and featuring their stories. All profits are donated to the Australian Gender Equity Council and sim to highlight the female talent and everyday misogyny in the industry,



Be The Change

F*ck the Cupcakes are now running a new campaign set to be launched in April focusing on men’s involvement in achieving gender equality in the ad industry. Called Called Be the Change, this initiative is about inviting men into the conversation on their own terms.


Never Not International Women’s Day

Never Not Creative is a collective of creatives within the advertising industry pushing for change in the industry. In 2021, they started Never Not International Women’s Day, to bring the issues of women in the industry to the forefront every day of the year, not just on March 8th. Never Not International Women’s Day hosts talks, podcasts and video presentations online not just for IWD 2022 but year round to keep the conversation of gender equality in the industry happening 365 days a year.



The Aunties

The Aunties is a Melbourne-based mentorship program for women including non-binary, a-gender, gender-nonconforming, and people from all marginalised genders in the ad industry.  The Aunties pair juniors and grads with Aunties in senior and leadership roles, across creative, production, client services, strategy, PR and social, for a 6-month, one-on-one mentorship program, including 1-hour catch ups every month.




Assisterhood is also afemale-focused mentorship program that has been running in Queensland for the last 5 years. It was created by Publicis Worldwide to address the gender imbalance in Queensland creative and advertising agencies. They are opening up in Victoria for the first time this year and have so far matched over 60 mentor partnerships.



The Mavens

Mavens is an independent, digital publication to champion women working in Australian advertising and media. Mavens is always featuring fresh profiles of women in the industry and articles and advice about the industry with a female-focus. Maven’s also conducted an independent survey called the ‘Gender Diversity Study’ in 2020. The 238 respondents shone a light on gender imbalances and sexist attitudes in the advertising industry.