The ascending trajectory of women in today's advertising and marketing industry

The ascending trajectory of women in today's advertising and marketing industry

Gone are the days when this domain was predominantly male-dominated.

The ascending trajectory

Mumbai: A shift has been occurring in the realm of advertising and marketing, one that's reshaping the industry's landscape and fostering inclusivity: the ascension of women. Gone are the days when this domain was predominantly male-dominated. Today, women are not only making their mark but also leading the charge with innovative ideas, creative prowess, and strategic acumen.

Historically, the advertising and marketing industry has been perceived as a boys' club, where men held the reins of power and influence. However, as societal norms evolve and barriers are dismantled, women have seized the opportunity to shine in this arena.

Moreover, women are bringing a fresh perspective to advertising and marketing, challenging traditional norms and stereotypes. They are adept at understanding the nuances of consumer behavior and tapping into emotional connections to drive brand loyalty. This approach has led to the creation of campaigns that are not only impactful but also socially conscious, addressing pressing issues such as gender equality, body positivity, and inclusivity.

The digital revolution has further leveled the playing field, providing women with platforms to showcase their talents and reach global audiences. Social media, in particular, has emerged as a powerful tool for self-expression and personal branding. Women influencers are leveraging their online presence to collaborate with brands, endorse products, and engage with followers, thereby exerting significant influence on consumer trends and preferences.

Despite these strides, it's essential to acknowledge that the journey towards gender equality in advertising and marketing is far from over. Women continue to face obstacles such as gender bias, wage disparities, and under representation in certain sectors of the industry. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort from both individuals and organisations to foster equality.

In this comprehensive feature story, we look into the evolution of women's representation within the advertising and marketing industry over recent years. We have also asked pivotal questions surrounding the industry's progress amidst persistent traditional mindsets and entrenched misogyny. Have there been shifts despite these enduring challenges? Let's uncover the changes that have shaped this landscape.

Edited excerpts

Godrej Appliances marketing head Swati Rathi

The representation of women in the advertising and marketing industry has certainly undergone a significant evolution over the years. I believe today's environment is far more conducive to women's advancement compared to past years. Notably, now we witness a significant presence of women in the leadership roles in marketing across sectors.

Personally, I am grateful to be surrounded by family, friends and colleagues who have an open and progressive mindset. This does not mean I have not come across sexism and patriarchy ever, but the positive experiences prevail over such occurrences. It's through these positive encounters that I've learned not to be unduly affected by minor setbacks.

The rising number of women in the A&M domain is heartening and I hope it will go a long way in generating more inclusivity in other domains also beyond A&M. For example, we have a strong women participation in marketing, HR, legal, finance and its also growing in other functions like R&D. These changes are encouraging, and I believe they will go a long way in building healthy organisational culture across companies.

Bacardi India domestic spirits head Ayaesha Gooptu

Amidst the evolving landscape of the global workforce, countless women are leaving indelible marks – confidently steering their journey to success across different sectors, roles and verticals, especially advertising and marketing. In fact, at 60% representation, women of today are not just participating in but also dominating the marketing industry worldwide. This global movement reverberates back home in India as well, where inclusive workplace practices and societal shifts are empowering women to take on leading roles across various industries, such as marketing. Leading by example as an industry leader in alcobev, Bacardi has consistently advocated for a progressive work culture where each one of our primas and primos can shine. Personally, I find it invigorated to be part of this inclusive environment where women are excelling as leaders across critical functions like marketing – bringing fresh perspectives, fostering resonance, and propelling brands to unparalleled success with unbridled freedom and drive.

With women now holding 36% of leadership roles in our country – a figure that surpasses global averages – the future is brimming with promise. Given a projected CAGR of 6.8% alongside groundbreaking advancements in digital advertising, the Indian advertising sector offers an enticing opportunity that will continue to attract professionals from diverse backgrounds. As these positive shifts persist, I am confident that the momentum toward inclusivity will only grow stronger, especially in the exceptionally creative, collaborative, and sought-after field of marketing. This inclusive environment will undoubtedly draw a diverse cohort of new-age professionals, including women eager to leave their mark and drive meaningful change in the industry.

Zip Zap Zoop founder Ashmika Sadh

The representation of women has immensely evolved over the past because the industry leaders have closely observed that it is the ideas that matter and not the gender. Whoever adds overall value to an organisation or a business is the individual that matters the most. Hence any leader with a broader horizon will incorporate that individual. This in itself displays the evolution of thought.

The advent of social media has carved many women across the world as equals. Many of them who may have been semi-skilled or have been turned down jobs due to gender biases have created a brand of themselves and have evolved has bank-able marketeers in the social media. They have identified what they are good at selling , how to sell and to whom to sell. In my opinion women digital entrepreneurs are the most sought after niche.

I have seen a significant change in the industry which is that women are self-empowered. No doubt many women may have a great support system, but the factor here is that women have been able to motivate themselves, balance their personal and professional life, have gone out there and have declared that we are entrepreneurs too. We too have ideas and we are also willing to go miles to achieve our goals. Women will not give up until they find a seat at the table and until they find their voice which historicaly was never the case.

Yes misogyny does exist because traditionally men were the bread-earners of the family. And no matter how hard a women works. A workaholic women somehow does not hold the same positive connotation as a workaholic man.

Insight Enterprises marketing head Unnati Gajjar

The evolution of women's representation in the advertising and marketing industry has changed over a period of time. Historically, women were portrayed in conventional roles which showed them mostly as housewives and caretakers. According to a study by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and the Unstereotype Alliance 2023,, 17.5% of women are depicted as the sole caregiver, compared to 3.5% of men.

This narrow depiction reflected societal norms of the time, where the woman of the house was responsible for household chores, and she was shown in commercials preparing quick snacks like Maggi for her hungry children or serving refreshing drinks like Rasna to the family & children. Advertising and marketing campaigns alike felt satisfied to portray women largely as wives and mothers, depicting their roles only within the family unit.

But there has been a sea of change in this representation. Today, women are depicted in a broader array of roles, reflecting their diverse contributions to society and acknowledging their independence and decision-making capabilities. This change mirrors the evolving societal acknowledgment of women's versatile roles beyond just caretakers. For example, the Ariel ‘Share the Load’ campaign dramatically questions the traditional gender-based roles, boldly stating that household work, and laundry in particular, is not only the responsibility of women. This marked a big evolution in the representation of women: changing from telling them what to do and listening to their stories and recognizing them as essential change-makers in making the world better.

Another groundbreaking campaign was created by ‘Dove’ in which the brand celebrated the daily woman, embracing real beauty and challenging conventional beauty standards.  One of the famous skincare brand ‘Olay’  launched’ launched the #STEMTheGap campaign to shed light on the glaring absence of women in the field of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) showcasing their inspiring journeys. The film makes a case for having more women in STEM and emphasizes the need for female mentors.

The role of an Indian woman in consumerism has changed; now, she isn't just going out for groceries but is deciding and influencing a whole lot of choices for herself and her family. In light of these positive changes, it's important to acknowledge that this journey is still very far from completion. Even women's representation in leadership and influential positions within the advertising industry is still lagging. Brands, therefore, need to keep churning out campaigns not just showing women in varied empowering roles but to truly reflect the wide spectrum of their capabilities far beyond their traditional caretaking responsibilities. This continuous process of change is very necessary to speed up an inclusive and fair representation of women in every facet of society.

Media Corridors founder Ayushi Arora

Significant changes in the sector are being shaped by the increasing number of women assuming leadership posts. The move towards diversity and inclusiveness has broken prejudices and fostered a more innovative and dynamic work environment, resulting in a workforce that is more representative and balanced. There's a noticeable movement in favour of women's empowerment in the advertising and marketing industry, even though there are still obstacles to overcome. This gives us important opportunities to influence company strategies and storylines.

Yes, there have been significant advances, even though archaic ideas still exist in the advertising and marketing industry. With each passing day, the industry is questioning established conventions and realising how important diversity and inclusiveness are. As more women overcome obstacles and take on leadership roles, they are demonstrating their competence and capacity. Nonetheless, it's critical to recognise that obstacles still need to be overcome and that prejudices and preconceptions with a long history still need to be destroyed. The discourse around gender parity is gathering steam, and establishments are growingly cognizant of the significance of cultivating an atmosphere that advances equitable prospects for everybody.

Dr Gauri Bhasin, COO, MRVPL executive director, Marketing, Admissions, Learning & Development, MREI

The past decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in the advertising industry's portrayal of women. The historically prevalent trope of limiting stereotypes has given way to a more nuanced and multifaceted representation, reflecting the ever-expanding roles women play within society. This evolution resonates deeply with audiences, fostering stronger connections and empowering women through authentic portrayals.

Studies conducted by Unilever and The Representation Project provide compelling evidence of this positive change. Brands featuring women in leadership positions demonstrably achieve higher levels of engagement, sales, and brand loyalty. This shift signifies a growing recognition of the diverse nature of womanhood and the invaluable contributions women bring to various spheres.

As the industry continues its trajectory toward inclusivity and authenticity, the future holds immense promise for impactful representation. We can envision a future where all women find themselves well-recognized in the narratives they encounter, enriching the industry and society as a whole.

As for the traditional mindset, the A&M industry is experiencing a demonstrably positive evolution with respect to the representation and advancement of women. While vestiges of traditional mindsets and outdated perceptions may linger, the overall trend is one of increasing progress. Women are now confidently assuming leadership roles across diverse areas of the industry, from brand management and data analysis to the previously male-dominated realm of creative technology.

This progress can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, there is a growing recognition within companies of the inherent value and benefits associated with diverse workforces. This has led to the implementation of more equitable hiring practices and the creation of more leadership opportunities for women. Secondly, consumers are increasingly demanding authenticity in their interactions with brands. This necessitates a move away from stereotypical portrayals and towards the inclusion of diverse women in relatable and authentic narratives. Finally, the influence of movements such as "Femvertising" cannot be understated. These campaigns have challenged stereotypes and empowered women, fostering positive discourse and shaping industry trends.

While achieving complete inclusivity remains an ongoing endeavor, initiatives like unconscious bias training and mentorship programs are creating a more supportive environment for women within the A&M industry. The future holds promise for continued progress toward a more equitable space where the voice of women and perspectives are valued and celebrated.

Hyatt India Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. head- marketing, India and Southwest Asia Deepa Krishnan

In my experience, I've witnessed a significant evolution in how women are represented within the advertising and marketing industry which is considerably higher compared to many other sectors. There's been a notable shift towards a more inclusive and diverse portrayal of women in campaigns, reflecting the multifaceted roles and identities that women encompass. This change has been spurred by a collective acknowledgment of the importance of gender equality and authentic messaging. Brands are now more inclined to adopt inclusive marketing strategies that not only empower women but all communities and defy stereotypes. At Hyatt, too, we remain committed to championing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our marketing efforts, striving to create campaigns that resonate with and celebrate the diverse experiences of women around the world. Our purpose `We care for people so they can be their best` truly reflects our ethos that every individual needs to be cared for and cherished!

Aashira Weddings & Events co-founder & CEO Rajshree Boobna

As a wedding planning entrepreneur, I've noticed some significant shifts in the industry, despite the persistence of traditional mindsets and misogyny. One notable change is the increasing demand for inclusive and diverse wedding experiences. Couples are seeking vendors who embrace and celebrate their unique identities, cultures, and backgrounds, leading to more personalized and authentic celebrations.

Moreover, there's a growing recognition of the importance of empowering women within the wedding planning process. While gender biases and stereotypes may still exist in certain circles, more couples are actively challenging these norms and seeking out vendors who value equality and respect.

Additionally, technology has played a pivotal role in transforming the wedding planning landscape. From virtual consultations to wedding planning apps, technology has made the planning process more accessible and streamlined for couples of all backgrounds.

However, despite these positive changes, it's crucial to acknowledge that traditional mindsets and misogyny still linger in some aspects of the A&M space. As a wedding planning entrepreneur, I'm dedicated to combating these harmful attitudes and fostering an environment of inclusivity and empowerment within the industry. By championing diversity, equality, and respect, we can continue to push for positive change and ensure that every couple's love story is honored and celebrated.

Marriott International VP-marketing South Asia Khushnooma Kapadia

Today, women stand at the forefront of advertising and marketing, not just as contributors but as catalysts for change. We have evolved from being mere observers to becoming architects of culture, shaping narratives, and redefining standards. Over time, consumer expectations have evolved, prompting brands to recognize the importance of authentic representation. In this dynamic landscape, women bring a unique perspective, blending creativity with data-driven insights, intuition with analytics, and empathy with strategic vision. We are not just breaking through the glass ceiling; we are shattering it, paving the way for future generations of marketers to thrive. I am proud to be part of an evolving era where gender is no longer a barrier but a driving force for innovation. Let us continue to celebrate the achievements of women in this industry, amplify their voices, and create a more inclusive and diverse future for all.

SociallKnot partner/head – Social Media, Content & PR, Shweta Tanwar Mukherjee

Women's representation in the advertising and marketing industry has undergone a remarkable evolution in recent years. We've seen a significant increase in the number of women holding leadership positions, breaking through traditional barriers, and contributing their unique perspectives to shaping campaigns and strategies. More women are entering the industry than ever before, bringing fresh ideas and creativity to the forefront of advertising and marketing. This shift towards greater gender diversity is not just about equality; it's about tapping into the full spectrum of talent and driving innovation in our field.

Absolutely. Despite the persistence of traditional mindsets and misogyny in the advertising and marketing space, there are notable changes taking place that signal a shift towards greater inclusivity and equality. We're witnessing more companies actively championing diversity and inclusion initiatives, creating safe and supportive environments for women to thrive in their careers. Additionally, consumers are becoming more vocal about supporting brands that prioritize gender equality in their messaging and practices. While challenges remain, the momentum towards positive change is undeniable, and we're optimistic about the future of women in our industry.

RSH Global (Joy Skin Care) CMO Poulomi Roy

Certainly, there has been a noticeable shift in mind-set and evolution, particularly when compared to past years, especially considering the efforts of brands like ours that have pushed the boundaries hard for better representation. Having said that, there is still a lot more scope for improved representation of women.

When it comes to marketing there has been a better understanding of rather less generalization in identifying the behaviour of women as a cohort.

Going beyond demographic nuances and using more psychographics as a way to understand the women's cohort has been a refreshing approach.

It is the big boys’ club still, having said that I belong to this industry like every industry it has its share of pitfalls, hence I am hopeful that we are at the cusp of change and soon we will claim our seat at the table and nobody will deny then.

Smita Khanna, COO, Newton Consulting India

From an industry perspective, the representation of women in the advertising and marketing industry has evolved significantly over the past years, driven by a combination of internal and external factors:

Increased Leadership Roles: One notable change is the increased presence of women in leadership positions within advertising and marketing agencies. Over the years, more women have risen to executive roles, including CEO, CMO, and Creative Director Positions. This shift reflects a growing recognition of the value of diverse perspectives in decision-making and strategy development.

Diversification of Creative Talent: There has been a concerted effort to diversify the creative talent pool within the industry, which has led to greater representation of women in roles such as copywriting, art direction, and creative direction and even production of advertising ad-films. Agencies are actively seeking out and nurturing female talent, recognizing the importance of diverse voices in shaping advertising diversity industry narratives.

Targeting Female Audiences: Advertisers have become increasingly attuned to the purchasing power and influence of female consumers. As a result, there has been a greater emphasis on creating advertising campaigns that resonate with women and nobody better than understanding women than women themselves. With she-power at the helm, addressing women target audiences covers not only the campaigns specific needs, but also takes into account what women want aligned to their interests, and aspirations. Such inclusivity in advertising’s talent pool with women playing the lead is driving the celebration of female empowerment, and innovatively challenging stereotypes.

Shift in Brand Values: From an advertising and marketing perspective, many brands have reevaluated their values and brand identity in response to changing cultural attitudes towards gender and diversity. There's been a move towards more inclusive and socially conscious marketing strategies that prioritize authenticity, empathy, and representation. Brands that authentically champion gender equality and diversity are often rewarded with increased consumer loyalty and brand affinity.

Personalization By Data-Driven Insights: The advent of digital technologies and data analytics has revolutionized the way advertisers have been advised to better understand and engage with their target audiences, and many a times the primary target group are women. By leveraging data-driven insights, advertising agencies are able to create more personalized and relevant marketing messages that resonate with women across different demographics and segments. This has led to more nuanced and sophisticated approaches to female-centric marketing and this done best when there is a better representation of women in the agencies.

Corporate Culture and Policies: Many advertising and marketing agencies have implemented policies and initiatives aimed at promoting gender diversity, equality, and inclusion within their organizations. This includes initiatives to address pay disparities, support work-life balance, and create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture for women. These efforts not only benefit female employees but also contributed to a more innovative, evolving and competitive industry overall.

Overall, the representation of women in the advertising and marketing industry has evolved from being largely marginalized to increasingly influential and empowered. While there is still progress to be made in terms of addressing gender bias and achieving true parity, the industry is moving in the right direction towards greater diversity, inclusivity, and representation of women across all levels and facets of advertising and marketing driven by need to understand she-influence and she-purse power.

Despite the persistence of traditional mindsets and misogyny in the advertising and marketing (A&M) space, several notable changes have occurred within the industry, reflecting a gradual but significant shift towards more inclusive and equitable practices:

Diversification of Leadership: There has been an observable increase in efforts to diversify leadership within A&M agencies and firms. While traditional mindsets may have once hindered women from reaching leadership positions, many companies are now actively promoting gender diversity at the C level. This shift is not only beneficial for gender equality but also for fostering a more innovative, empathic and adaptive industry culture.

Rise of Women-Centric Agencies: In response to the challenges faced by women in traditional A&M environments, there has been a rise in women-centric agencies and firms. These organizations prioritize the voices and perspectives of women in both their leadership and creative processes. They offer a supportive environment for female professionals to thrive and contribute to campaigns that authentically resonate with women consumers.

Advocacy and Activism: Women within the A&M industry are increasingly advocating for change and challenging misogynistic practices. Through hashtag# initiatives, protecting the rights of women are becoming increasingly important for a high pressure service industry like ours. Such movements promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion programs; I see professionals pushing back against systemic sexism and discrimination. This activism is driving conversations and actions aimed at creating safer, more inclusive work environments for all.

Client Demand for Diversity: Clients are becoming more vocal about their expectations for diversity and inclusion in their advertising and marketing campaigns too. They understand the importance of reflecting diverse perspectives and demographics in their messaging to effectively reach and engage modern audiences. As a result, agencies are under increasing pressure to diversify their teams to think akin the target audience and create campaigns that authentically represent the diverse lived experiences of their target consumers.

Shift in Creative Direction: With she-power taking its space in the advertising industry, there is a noticeable shift in the creative direction of advertising and marketing campaigns, with many brands moving away from stereotypical portrayals of women. Instead, campaigns are increasingly focused on empowerment, authenticity, and breaking down gender stereotypes. Advertisers are recognizing the importance of portraying women as real as they are and this evolution is possible only if the representation of women is as good as men in this industry

Training and Education Programs: A&M agencies are investing in training and education programs aimed at promoting gender diversity and sensitivity among their employees. These programs provide professionals with the tools and knowledge to create more inclusive campaigns within the workspace and aligned environments. By addressing implicit biases and fostering empathy, agencies are and can create a more welcoming and respectful industry culture towards WOMEN!

Despite the persistence of traditional mindsets and misogyny, these notable changes demonstrate a growing awareness and commitment within the A&M industry to promote gender diversity, equity, and inclusion. While there is still much work to be done, these developments signal a positive trajectory towards a more equitable and representative industry landscape for women.

Victor Tango Entertainment Pvt Ltd director and founder Tabassum Modi

Over recent years, the advertising and marketing landscape has witnessed a notable evolution in the representation of women, though challenges persist, particularly in leadership roles. While women have assumed more leadership positions, achieving gender parity remains a distant goal.

Today, portrayals of women in branding reflect greater independence and assertiveness, yet biases persist, favoring those conforming to traditional beauty standards and societal norms. True progress will emerge when gender representation in Indian advertising agencies, media, and marketing achieves parity, fostering diverse perspectives and enhancing consumer communication through inclusive brainstorming sessions with more women.

Despite entrenched traditional mindsets and misogyny in the advertising and marketing (A&M) sphere, positive changes are underway. There's a growing acknowledgment of the necessity for diversity and inclusion in campaigns, with companies actively combatting gender bias and stereotypes. Brands are crafting empowering campaigns that challenge norms and champion diversity. Consumer voices demanding accurate and respectful gender representation are increasingly influential. Additionally, industry-driven initiatives like mentorship programs and advocacy groups are bolstering support for women in the A&M arena. These developments signify a gradual but meaningful shift towards a more inclusive and equitable industry landscape.

Media Corridors associate director Divya Bharti

On this Women's Day, let us celebrate the invaluable contributions of women in the PR industry and beyond. As a woman in PR, I stand tall, embodying the strength and resilience that define our collective journey. I believe in the power of self-belief and dedication to propel us forward, breaking barriers and shaping narratives along the way. Let us honor the stories of perseverance and triumph that resonate within each of us, acknowledging the challenges we've overcome and the limitless potential we possess. Together, we empower and inspire, paving the way for a future where women's voices are heard, valued, and celebrated. Happy Women's Day to all the phenomenal women who continue to redefine possibilities and leave an indelible mark on the world"

Harmeet Singh, VP, Product, Marketing & Digital

The representation of women in Indian advertising and marketing has seen positive changes in recent years, though challenges remain. According to the 2023 Gender Diversity Benchmark Report by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), women now comprise over 40% of the workforce across leading agencies, a significant improvement from 33% in 2016. Additionally, women occupy around 30% of leadership roles as National Creative Directors and Executive Creative Directors based on 2023 data.

However, the AAAI report also highlights attrition rates being higher for women compared to men. Reasons include a lack of flexible working options, extended working hours, and lack of adequate policies supporting women and caregivers. Plugging this gap will require persistent efforts towards retention across all levels of employment.  

Overall, while stereotypical portrayals have reduced and the visibility of women leaders has increased, Indian advertising and marketing sectors have scope for further improving women's equitable participation.

Yes, I do see some notable positive changes in the Indian advertising and marketing industry despite the persistence of traditional mindsets.

One key shift that data from 2023-2024 highlights is the increasing visibility and prominence of women in advertising campaigns compared to before. An analysis of over 2,000 ads in 2022-2023 showed nearly 52% featured women playing central roles, a significant jump from just 32% in 2018. This indicates improving representation. Additionally, there has been a conscious effort from brands to move away from stereotyped narratives and instead portray strong, independent female characters that challenge conventions.

Furthermore, recent industry conferences have also focused extensively on issues like safety, inclusion, and leadership development for women. Topics that were largely ignored some years back have gained priority now, underscoring the industry's commitment to gender equality. This momentum too is a notable marker of progress.

In summary, while quantifiable gains have been made by the Indian advertising and marketing world to promote women’s representations, constant vigilance is needed to address the deep-rooted gender issues that endure.

Dolly Kumar, Founder and Director , Cosmic Nutracos

The conversation about diversity invariably begins with gender, given that women make the most prominent visible minority. While advertising and marketing have made strides in representing women over the years, particularly in visible roles, leadership and influential positions still lack adequate female representation. According to a report, women occupy only 29% of leadership roles in advertising agencies. The A&M industry faces mounting pressure to evolve rapidly. While I firmly believe that agencies have a crucial and influential role to play in shaping brands, businesses, and marketing strategies, the willingness to embrace and facilitate change needs to be more.

Despite the persistence of traditional mindsets and misogyny in the advertising and marketing (A&M) space, there have been notable changes driven by various factors. There's been a growing awareness of gender inequality and misogyny within the industry, leading to increased advocacy and activism. Many companies have implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives to address gender inequality and create more equitable workplaces. These initiatives include diversity training, mentorship programs, unconscious bias awareness, and diversity hiring practices. There's been a notable increase in the representation of women in creative work and campaigns. Brands are recognizing the importance of diverse representation in their advertising and marketing efforts, leading to more inclusive and authentic portrayals of women in media.

Spokesperson- Nehal Bazari - Head of Marketing & Strategy at Eternia, A venture of Hindalco within the Aditya

The portrayal of women in advertising and marketing (A&M) has undergone significant evolution in recent decades. Initially confined to stereotypical roles as homemakers, or replicas of unrealistic perfection, women are now being represented more authentically and inclusively. This shift reflects societal changes and recognition of the importance of diverse and representative storytelling within the industry.

Today, successful campaigns prioritise authenticity and inclusivity, showcasing women of various backgrounds, body types, and abilities to resonate with modern consumers. However, challenges persist, particularly regarding leadership representation.

In this era of increased awareness, advertisers have a crucial role to play in shaping perceptions and promoting positive change. I firmly believe that by championing diversity, challenging stereotypes, and empowering women in their campaigns and organisational structures, the industry can lead towards a more inclusive future.

Diversity and inclusivity are some of the many changes that are happening in the advertising and marketing (A&M) space despite persisting traditional mindsets and misogyny. With the changing customer behaviour and marketing dynamics, brands are expanding into unfamiliar territories, which makes it mandatory for the industry to invest in diverse talents. With fresh perspectives, innovative thinking and focus, women are reshaping the industry and shattering stereotypes.

In recent years, there's been a noticeable increase in the representation of women in creative work and campaigns. Brands are recognising the value of diverse perspectives, leading to more inclusive portrayals of women in media. When women hold leadership roles in the advertising industry, they represent women accurately in ads and break stereotypes about gender roles. This helps scale business and accelerate change in society.

Spokesperson- Poonam Nair- Vice President - Sales & Marketing | Radisson Blu Udaipur Resort & Spa

Ever since 2016, women’s representation has increased in all the major industries. In fact, the media sector has seen more females in Director roles. Even in the advertising and marketing industry, women’s participation has witnessed a surge over the years. If we see a decade ago, we have a lot more females today running businesses and driving the integral marketing function for brands. From being the face of marketing and advertising campaigns to running those campaigns and successfully handling the marketing divisions, women surely have multi-faceted roles to play in the advertising and marketing industry in today’s times.

Until a few years ago, women’s representation was only limited to the core workforce. Now, the market is gradually embracing the diversity and inclusion trend, and we see more females taking the seats at the table and assuming leadership positions. The industry is leveraging the incredible power of the female creative mind and their leadership, managerial, and storytelling skills. With their fresh perspectives, women add a touch of empathy, resilience, and change, and contribute to making the campaigns enriched and insightful. Unfortunately, they continue to encounter barriers and we need to make concerted efforts to train, prepare, and promote women into influential roles in the A&M industry.

Spokesperson - Swapnil Pathak Sharma, Owner of Zighrana

As a woman entrepreneur, I have witnessed a major shift in how we are represented in advertising and marketing over recent years. Previously, campaigns involving women founders were rare, but today we increasingly see empowering, progressive depictions that highlight our talents, passion and determination to succeed on our own terms. I am now taking a leading role in marketing my own brand across mediums, communicating an authentic story that resonates with modern consumers seeking diversity and female empowerment.

My campaigns emphasize my journey in establishing my company, the motivations behind my products, and the unique aspects of my brand identity. It provides maximum exposure for my brand while presenting an aspirational image of women thriving as entrepreneurs and business leaders. In the time ahead, I expect this trajectory to continue rising as society moves toward more inclusive attitudes and equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs to market themselves and their innovative brands. I am proud to be part of this journey in today's advertising and marketing industry.

While traditional mindsets and misogyny sadly persist in some corners, I have witnessed promising changes for women in the marketing industry in recent years. As a woman entrepreneur trying to get my brand out there, I used to feel I had to conform to male-dominated norms and standards to be taken seriously. However, today I see more spaces opening up that embrace empowering and progressive depictions of women founders on our terms. The exposure for my brand comes not from playing into stereotypes, but by proudly emphasizing my talents, motivations, and unique identity as a leader.

Of course, we still have a long way to go. As I market myself across mediums, I come across outdated attitudes doubting women's capacity as entrepreneurs. However, the rising trajectory of women empowerment campaigns and consumers seeking brands that align with diversity gives me hope. Moving forward, the exposure for women-founded brands should keep increasing as we reshape perceptions. While persisting misogyny can be disheartening, I believe the marketing world is steadily opening its eyes to what women founders have to offer. Our ascendance feels unstoppable.