While gender parity has become a catch phrase for much of the advertising and PR industries, a survey of the entries for the 2019 Cannes Lions shows that recognition for women in these industries still lags far behind that for men.

Only 9.09 percent of the 30,953 entries submitted for this year’s Lions were “gender equal,” according to Les Lionnes (French for “Lionesses”), a female-only organization focused on “equality in an industry dominated by men for decades.”

Alongside this month’s Cannes Lions award ceremonies, Les Lionnes presented their own awards. The Cannes Lionnes honor work that is considered “innovative from a gender equality perspective.”

A group of 50 members of Les Lionnes analyzed each Lions entry, looking at credit sheets, the composition of creative teams, pictures and overall messaging.

The result: only a small minority of entries met the criteria established by the organization. Just 68 entries were awarded a Bronze Lionne, given to campaigns that were not suspected of being sexist and had credit sheets that were totally gender neutral.

Christelle Delarue
Chistelle Delarue

Only 25 Silver Lionnes, which recognize campaigns that also have a female creative director, were named. And just seven Gold Lionnes, which add on the requirement that a campaign be produced by an agency with a totally gender neutral board committee, were cited.

“Parity is very scarcely met,” said Les Lionnes president Christelle Delarue, who is also founder and CEO of Paris-based marketing and advertising firm Mad&Women. “We’ve spotted a vast number of campaigns with 100 percent male credits. On the contrary, absolutely zero campaigns had 100 percent female credits.”

The organization says that in addition to drawing attention to existing disparity, it is also working to develop new talent in the industry. To that end, over 100 new members joined up during the Cannes Lions.