Legendary ad man Jerry Della Femina has given women in the business their due this morning. His piece in Forbes begins with his memory of a 1975 pitch for Tambrands (a tampon brand from P&G) where there wasn’t a woman in the room. Hell, that’s still not so unusual in 2008.
You see, Della Femina has just read Juliann Sivulka’s new book, Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want, and Buy. Sivulka’s book is an indepth and surprising history of women’s role in the advertising business. Come on. Did you know that Mathilde C. Weil started the M.C. Weil Agency just 20 years after the Civil War?
Sivulka explores three key periods in the history of American advertising, which represent eras of major social change for women (1880-1920, the 1920s, and the 1970s). She discusses the effect on advertising due to the women’s movement, minority movements, and consumer activism, and devotes an entire chapter to the contributions to advertising of African American, Hispanic, and Asian American women in the twentieth century. Hot damn!
It’s not all about the past though. The title also sheds light on the craptastic fact that women in the industry are still paid less and promoted at a slower rate. Can you believe we still have to protest this crap?