Gender equality in the workplace

Gender equality isn’t just about ticking boxes

Workplace cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequality are all too common in the advertising industry.

Limited parental leave, long working hours and a lack of flexibility all present barriers to equality. And masculine cultures can lead to macho, hostile or unsafe working environments that exclude women.



If you have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment and would like support or information, you can contact 1800RESPECT (Phone: 1800 737 732). Details of sexual assault support services in each state and territory can be found here

You can lodge a complaint about sexual harassment with the Australian Human Rights Commission or your State or Territory anti-discrimination or human rights agency.

Gender equality shifts our thinking

The introduction of policies and practices that promote gender equality can help change the culture in our workplaces and lives.

Creating a balance between genders positively impacts cultural norms, unconscious bias, behavioural cues,
and ultimately how and what decisions are made.

“Women challenge the status quo because we never are it.”

Cindy Gallop, Advertising consultant and IfWeRanTheWorld Founder & CEO

Homogeneity is the enemy of creativity

Promoting gender equality within the industry leads to better and more creative decision-making.

And it means that those who make advertising reflect the diversity of the consumers who buy the products those ads are trying to sell.

Young darker skinned girl with purple-dyed hair and shirt

Promising practice in the advertising industry

In Australia and around the world, there are industry-led initiatives to increase diversity, equity and inclusion within workplaces, including through awareness raising, training, mentoring and policy changes.

Women with Agency

Women with Agency is a procurement initiative that supports the growth and development of female-founded and run creative agencies by ensuring they are included on advertising pitch lists.

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The Agency Circle

Launched in 2016 as a non-profit industry body for Australian creative agencies committed to increasing diversity within the industry, The Agency Circle offers tools and resources, and tracks diversity and inclusion through an annual survey.

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Launched in Australia in 2018 as the local chapter of Publicis Groupe’s global initiative, VivaWomen! helps promote positive changes for women in the workplace, with a particular focus on supporting women mid-career.

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National Australia Bank, one of Australia’s largest advertisers, has a gender equality strategy along with an action plan to achieve gender targets across the business, including when they’re procuring advertising.

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Find out more about promising practice – at a local and international level – for addressing sexist advertising.

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Make your workplace work for everybody

Gender equality within the workplace will attract more women to the advertising industry and see them promoted and retained in leadership positions. It will mean the industry actively supporting gender equal advertising, including through procurement and industry awards.

And it will lead to creative work that challenges gender bias and stereotypes, helping to prevent violence against women.

Get involved