News / Vancouver

Meet Vancouver's Mad Women

Don Draper: Let me ask you something, what do women want? Roger Sterling: Who cares?

The days of tolerance for flagrant displays of sexism like the kind featured on TV's Mad Men are long over, but women still only account for 22 per cent of executive advertising positions, according to a U.K. study.

When Jessica Mori got her first internship as a copywriter in Vancouver in 2008 she didn't think much of the fact she was working on an all-male creative team. But over time the gender gap became glaring, and she found herself searching for answers.

"I think generally speaking men sometimes have a tougher shell than we do, but beyond that when I first was working as a junior in copywriting, I just was sort of starved for mentors, or just to see senior copywriters that were female," she said.

"I would scroll through the awards annuals and it would always be some Bob or Harry credited, and it just got me thinking, why aren't there more women?"

Mori took the bull by the horns and teamed up with SheSays, a global network for women in advertising and creative roles, to establish SheSays Vancouver, as well as AdGirls, an organization that connects junior women copywriters with mentors.

She is one of three guests lined up to speak at an event in Gastown Wednesday night called "Mad Women -- Fearless Females in Advertising."

"I think we're poking fun at the fact that that show is very all-male and the women have such supporting roles, and we're kind of flipping it around to say, 'Well let's showcase the women who are front and centre, who are top in their career, and let's hear from them and why,'" Mori explained.

The event's host, Chrissy Chrzan, is a digital strategist at local advertising giant TAXI West. She and Mori will be joined by Katie Ainsworth, writer and creative director at Rethink, and Karen Pearce, general manager of TAXI West.

The Think/Share event is open to both men and women, and will present current challenges in the industry and how the guest speakers see their roles moving forward.

When: June 13, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Guilt & Co. in Gastown (1 Alexander St., under Chill Winston)

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