There's a common misconception that sexism in the workplace, particularly in an industry as creative as advertising, is (mostly) dead.
Just look at some of the comments on Business Insider's list of the 30 Most Powerful Women in Advertising for a sampling — in fact, some people think we're sexist for celebrating female talent in the industry.
Studies show that women make up only three percent of creative directors. But Business Insider recently heard a story from a Canadian creative director that shows that often it's the clients who push gendered stereotypes.
During an Advertising Week panel on discrimination in advertising, the CD (who asked to remain nameless as her shop still does creative for the company in question) told an anecdote you'd expect to see on an episode of "Mad Men" rather than in a modern shop.
The CD's Montreal-based agency had just won a huge account, for which she was taking lead. Upon showing the all male clients her copy, "They said, you know, we really like the idea, but we'd love to see what these lines would look like if a guy wrote it."
When she returned back to her agency from an unsuccessful pitch, managers discussed the next step. "They asked if we should hire out or get a male freelancer, but I said no ... I went home and rewrote the whole campaign."
Come Monday, the clients were shown new copy that addressed their previous concerns and they loved it.
"The CEO said, I'd like to meet the boys who wrote this" to grab a drink ... "So I stood up and said, that would be me."
Attendees of the panel, which featured Colleen DeCourcy — who made waves in the ad world when she penned a brutal confessional in Digiday about sexism she faced in her career — had similar stories.
"I got over 700 Tweets and emails [from people outlining their own instances of discrimination in advertising]," DeCourcy said. "Black men, black women, gay men, men who like to help their wives out at home, Jewish men — it just never stopped."
More From Business Insider