Pinterest Fights to Right the Ratio
MIKE O'DONNELL / EDITOR
Working Not Working has partnered with Pinterest on their new initiative Right the Ratio, which aims to empower the next generation of creatives to overcome inequalities in the industry. Right in time for Women's Equality Day (8/26), Pinterest is kicking off the campaign with a focus on gender inequality, highlighting some of advertising's most accomplished women and their unique perspectives on what needs to change. For starters, while women make up 46% of the ad industry, only 11% of Creative Directors are women.
Starting next week, hirers on Working Not Working will have access to a curated list of amazingly talented female creatives through a "Right the Ratio" playlist. We'll also be co-hosting events in New York and San Francisco in the coming weeks to get the WNW community involved.
Below, we talk to WNW Member Ally Weiss and the creative team at Pinterest to learn more about the impetus behind this initiative, how the team utilized their own platform to discover certain trends, and how the company is positioned to make a difference with both awareness and actionable ideas.
Tell us a bit about the creative team behind the scenes at Pinterest.
We are part of a team at Pinterest called The Studio. The Studio is a creative team within Pinterest that works closely with our partners (advertisers and agencies) to create inspiring work on our platform. Our team is made up of folks with various creative superpowers such as art direction to creative technology to brand strategy.
Can you tell us about the impetus and origins of Pinterest’s latest initiative “Right the Ratio”?
Our mission at Pinterest is to help people discover and do what they love - whether that’s finding a new hobby on Pinterest, or getting ready to tackle their next career move. As a creative platform, we’re especially motivated to think of ways to empower the next generation of creatives.
Additionally, Pinterest was one of the first Silicon Valley companies to release a diversity report and set public diversity goals. For creativity in particular, we believe that better ideas come from a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and talent. However, as we’ve seen in our own industry, there is a long way to go; currently, only 11% of creative directors are female. Right the Ratio emerged as an effort to overcome some of the diversity and gender inequalities that impact creatives in all fields.
How did you come to select the women featured within the Right the Ratio campaign: Tricia Clarke-Stone, Katie Facada, Jessica Toye, and more? What do they all bring to the table?
We spoke with seven women in the creative and advertising industry, each of which represented different roles, viewpoints, backgrounds, and career goals. It was important that we didn’t focus on just one type of person. Some of these women are at the midpoint of their careers, others have been in the industry for a long time or have forged their own paths in related fields. All of them bring a different perspective and as a result, different anecdotes and advice to help others Right the Ratio.
Pinterest is all about discovery. How have you used your own platform to discover certain trends in regards to women’s equality?
One of Pinterest’s key differentiators is our data and insights. Last year, we saw more than 13M saves of feminism-related content on Pinterest. That number continues to grow. This year we’ve already seen a 30% increase in searches for feminism-related content. These are all indicators that this is a growing and important topic to Pinners and the world at large.
Who is your ideal audience for Right the Ratio?
We believe it’s the responsibility of everyone - both men and women - to help Right the Ratio. The content that we’re building gives everyone actionable advice for how they can play a part in this important movement.
How has Pinterest gone a step further with Right the Ratio by creating not just awareness but also emphasizing actionable ideas?
People come to Pinterest for ideas - specifically to design their lives. It is very important to us that this campaign not only inspires but also drives toward action. This is not lip service. We want people to start taking action today to help Right the Ratio. One of our favorite examples of this is a Pin printout of “Conference Room Commandments,” which are unofficial rules that all creatives should abide by during meetings. Let’s put a stop to mansplaining and sidelining!
What were some of the challenges in bringing Right the Ratio to life?
Gender equality is obviously a sensitive subject for many, and though a lot of attention has been brought to the issue, we wanted to make sure that we were not just another voice amid the noise. With that, we wanted to ensure that we were keeping the content and campaign positive, with a bias toward action.
What do you see as a few of the biggest takeaways from the Right the Ratio campaign?
The number one most important takeaway is that Righting the Ratio is a responsibility shared by all of us - not just women. We truly believe that as the creative and tech industries become more diverse, the better our ideas and output. It’s on all of us to make that happen.
What do you see as the role of creatives in addressing social issues in their work? Any advice you can share with creatives looking to do their part?
Katie Facada, one of the creatives whom we interviewed, put it best: “Right now we’re not actually sure if the best idea is winning.” The truth is, we all have unconscious biases and no one on the planet is truly impartial. The most important thing that creatives can do is be mindful of those biases instead of denying their existence. That’s how we get on the path to objective evaluation of ideas and each other.
What’s next for Right the Ratio?
Gender inequality is just the tip of the iceberg. We see the Right the Ratio campaign expanding to address other matters of inequality, including diversity of ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation. We see this as the start of a movement to spark conversation and, more importantly, incite action on an ongoing basis.
Where should WNW members go to learn more?