2017 was the year women’s workplace issues dominated the public conversation. As the year closed, the media spotlight was firmly focused on sexual harassment with various social media accounts and hashtags being put to very good use.  In particular, the far reaching #metoo campaign (and equivalents around the world, such as #BalanceTonPorc in French, #QuellaVoltaChe in Italian and #YoTambien in Spanish) encouraged individuals to share suppressed stories widely.

This global issue encompasses multiple industries and sectors and advertising is no exception - in fact Cindy Gallop says "sexual harassment and bias and sexism is a systemic cultural problem" in advertising.  Social media again comes to the fore with the @DietMadisonAve instagram account "exposing sexual harassment & discrimination in ad agencies since Oct 2017" (as Ada Alti highlights in the We are Social Media article below).

But the public conversation hasn’t just been about sexual harassment - the Hampton-Alexander review showed that women remain under-represented at senior levels across all sectors and the pace of change needs to be accelerated.

As a firm, Lewis Silkin wants to translate the impetus created by 2017’s media scrutiny into long-lasting improvement in women’s experience of work. We recognise that creating a lasting change requires a multi-disciplinary approach and we want to help.  We don’t have all the answers – but we hope that our #aLastingChange campaign will provide a forum to share thoughts and ideas for tackling sexual harassment and discrimination (and successes in doing so).  

We want to start an open conversation about what we need to do to achieve lasting change and to do that we need your help.  If you would like to get involved, our roundtable on 11 April 2018 is an opportunity for senior professionals in the advertising and marketing sector to explore the issues affecting the industry and ways of achieving lasting change.  Full details can be found here