Stop Mom-Washing


I don’t know anyone at AMV BBDO and they may be incredibly sincere in this effort, linked below.

However, I have seen so many articles over the last couple of years about some initiative meant to keep moms or women in the workplace.

Great idea. But so often they don’t last or are clearly PR stunts.

I call it mom-washing.

Let’s take this article as an example.

A few things that make me wonder.

I see three white guys posing with the woman of color who is from HR. According to their website, there are only white people in leadership, and none of the women in leadership are creatives.

The articles say their creatives work 7 hours a day. In what universe? Maybe in the UK they work 7 hours a day, but in no agency I have ever seen in the US does that happen.

The part time creatives will only have to work 3.5 hours a day but they will get all the creative opportunities available to the full time people. Sure. I believe that as much as I believe that their creatives work 7 hour days.

If creatives really got to work 7 hours a day you wouldn’t need a mom retention program.

Also, did they ASK moms what they wanted? Isn’t it a bit paternalistic to assume that moms will stay if they can work part time? You think all working moms really want to work part time and that if they just had the chance to do that they would stay in advertising?  Could it be that moms leave because they don’t want to work for a leadership team full of white people with no senior women in creative leadership? Or at an agency where they are told what they want by mansplaining white guys?

Yes, let’s support women, people of color, mothers, parents, people taking care of sick relatives. Of course, flex time is great, as are a whole host of family friendly programs. But please, make it real. The PR bar is very low if an agency with 180 people says they are going to hire 8 part time people and that’s seen as planting a bold flag of support for women.

No more mom-washing, no more press for stunts rolled out before mother’s day or in response to a “women doing something” issue of the trade publications and then not supported or followed through. You shouldn’t get coverage unless you actually have women in leadership in your creative departments or better yet, mothers in leadership. Because without women in creative leadership I’m going to assume mom-washing until I hear otherwise.



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