Women’s Contributions to the Marketing World

As of 2021, women held a whopping 60% of marketing jobs but still only hold 30.2% of leadership positions in marketing. Representation matters, and even in training courses about marketing, there is a lack of representation of women contributors to the marketing world.

While we have made great strides toward equality in many areas of our lives, there are still some areas where we need to make even more progress. Women are continuing to be underrepresented in leadership roles across all industries—not just marketing—and while this has been an issue for decades now, it’s time we start doing something about it!

This is why we’re so excited to share this blog with you: it’s our first-ever women-only guest post! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did and that maybe you’ll use some of the content as a jumping-off point to learn more about how women have contributed to the world of marketing throughout history—and what they’re doing now!

Women Pioneers of Marketing

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Mary Ann Shadd Cary grew up in Delaware, where she assisted in the underground railroad. In 1851, she moved to Canada and opened a racially integrated school. In 1853 she became the first Black newspaperwoman in North America, editing The Provincial Freeman, giving a voice to Black Canadians.

Mathilde C. Weil

A German immigrant to America, Mathilde rose through the ranks of the marketing world, first as a translator, to a writer, an editor, and eventually owning her own company selling ad spaces in 1880.

Madam C.J. Walker 

The first child in her family to be born after the abolition of slavery, she was orphaned as a child. In 1904, Madam C.J. Walker invented and marketed her own hair care company catered to black women and made her way to becoming America’s first woman to be a self-made millionaire.

Helen Lansdowne Reson

Helen was raised by her single mother, who was a librarian and real estate agent. In 1910, Helen was appointed leader of the first all-women copyright team at J. Walter Thompson and eventually went on to become Vice President and director at the agency. Helen was inducted into the advertising hall of fame in 1967.

Nedda McGrath

Nedda McGrath was the first woman to become an art director at a major U.S. advertising agency, joining the team at Blackman Agency in 1926. McGrath helped create campaigns for Procter & Gamble, including Ivory soap and Crisco.

Ruth Waldo 

In 1944, Ruth Waldo was one of the first women to be promoted to Vice President of an advertising agency for J. Walter Thompson. In 1915 she started at J. Walter Thompson as an apprentice copywriter; through the great depression, she and her team turned-out slogans that are still used today. 

Jean Wade

Jean Wade, born Helen Jean Wade, spent 33 years working for Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn and, in 1944, became one of the first women to be promoted to Vice President of an advertising agency. One of her most critically acclaimed campaigns was “Back Home for Keeps” for Oneida silverware during wartime, which was used as pin-up posters and is still collectible today. 

Erma Perham Proetz

Copywriter for Gardner Advertising, Erma Perham Proetz is the first woman to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1952, and it’s hard not to see why. She created a test kitchen for PET Milk Company, where she would share recipes and advice through radio and articles. This was such a marketing stroke of genius that the show ran for 20 years. 

Barbara Gardner

Barbara had a keen intellect and went on to complete a degree in English and education, as well as sociology and psychology. She began her career writing for the music industry, then writing and editing magazines. In 1970 she started her own advertising agency, Proctor and Gardner Advertising.

Caroline Robinson Jones

Caroline Robinson Jones was the first black woman VP of a major advertising agency in 1977, as well as founding her own agency that specialized in minority advertising in 1986. Her marketing agency concocted KFC’s slogan, “We do chicken right”

Women in Marketing Today

Ann Lewnes

Chief Marketing Officer for 10+ years and Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development, Ann Lewnes leads Adobe’s global efforts and corporate strategies. Closely tied to her impressive career in marketing are many awards she’s received—including a spot in the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

Tyrona (Ty) Heath

In the world of B2B marketing, Ty Heath is a name you need to know; she’s an expert in digital marketing and B2B sales. Her work as the Global Lead of The B2B Institute at LinkedIn (the think tank for the future of B2B) has made her an influential member of multiple digital marketing boards as well as academic industry events. 

Kay Hsu

Kay Hsu brought substantial experience to her new role as Vice President Creative, Digital Brand for Clinique when she started there in April 2022; she previously worked as Head of Creative and Design, Partnerships Marketing, Creative Strategist, and Global
Director at Facebook and Instagram. 

Stacy Minero

Stacy Minero is the Head of Marketing at Creator Marketplaces at Epic Games. She helps Creators elevate their craft with a focus on 3D models and metaverse content. With over 8 years of experience working in marketing and business development at Twitter, Stacy brings a wealth of knowledge to Epic Games’ efforts.

Melanie Perkins

Perkins is one of the youngest woman CEOs of a tech start-up valued at over $1 billion. She cofounded Canva in 2012, a free-to-use design tool used for social media graphics, print design, and presentation designs. As of 2021, she was one of Australia’s richest women. 

Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang

Ai left her associate professor position of 10+ years to start her own platform, Classroom Without Walls, to educate youth on new media. She has also taught classes for Hubspot, SEMRush, and Adobe.

Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe, founder and CEO of CopyHackers, is an inspiration to the marketing world. She is a fellow Kelowna resident who has taken her years of experience as a copywriter and content creator to help other businesses optimize their own content.

She has worked with clients like Canva, Intuit, GlowForge, and SAP. She has also coached over 70,000 businesses on how to optimize their copywriting efforts.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions, Inc., is a woman who has been able to make her mark on the B2B marketing world. Her experience in the field dates back over 30 years and includes working with companies such as 3M, Adobe, Autodesk, Cisco, Citrix Online, Quantum Computing, Inc., and Transunion.

Women – The Future of Marketing

As more women enter the workforce in marketing, there will be an increase in opportunities for women applicants. And numerous courses have been specially designed to help those entering this field find their place among the men who previously dominated it, LinkedIn, and Girls in Marketing, as well as numerous free-to-take courses about marketing through HubSpot, Google, and Coursera.

Although most of these stories are of women in western culture, there are countless pioneer women across history and the world that have made and continue to make an impact on the world of print, advertising, and marketing. 

Marketing is a diverse and interesting field that focuses on promoting products, messages, or ideas to target audiences. The gender proportions remain in favor of men over women in the marketing field. It is important for women to get involved with the media that they enjoy and form opinions.

At Vigilante Marketing, we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are all about lifting each other up and offering continued learning to our team members. This is how we believe that Vigilante Marketing can make a difference in the world. Our marketing team is completely women-run, and we are proud to show off our diverse team members!

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