The late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” And these women have never been the exception.
Who runs the world? Alright, you’ve heard that a million times, but it’s Women’s History Month, and we thought it was about time that someone shone a light on why exactly it is that girls run the world. I mean aside from the obvious, we can do it all, there’s the more serious note of how women have figured out a way to be wildly successful at work for decades, all while going seemingly unnoticed.
Although there are women in every profession and in every career field that have made strides for their industry, women in advertising have really done it all. AMC may have decided to do a series all about men in advertising, but allow us to introduce you to the real Mad Men, or Mad Women, of advertising.
Top Women in Advertising History
- Mathilde C. Weil (1880)
Mathilde opened and operated the first ever female run advertising agency, M.C. Weil, in 1880.
- Anna Bissell (1889)
Yes. Bissell like the vacuum. Anna was the first female corporate CEO, and with her mind for business and eye for advertising, she launched the Bissell sweeper into the household product it is today.
- Helen Lansdowne Resor (1908)
Resor was another glass ceiling shatterer as she became the first female copywriter at a major advertising firm in 1908. In 1967, Resor would be honored for her work in advertising by being inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame.
- Christine & J. George Frederick (1912)
Christine Fredrick and husband J. George Frederick formed the League of Advertising Women in 1912. It was a response to the fact that women weren’t allowed to be in the all-male Advertising League. After it’s inception in 1912, the organization focused on teaching women the importance of advertising and encouraged their active participation in other organizations like it.
- Erma Proetz (1952)
Recognized as one of the best in the industry, Erma Proetz became the first female to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1952. Proetz spent most of her time with St. Louis advertising firm, Gardner Advertising Company, where she distinguished herself professionally and was the recipient of many awards.
- Barbara Gardner Proctor (1970)
Proctor was the first black woman to own an advertising agency. She went into business completely alone, but she knew that many wouldn’t take her seriously, so she combined her maiden name with her married name, thus creating Proctor & Gardner Advertising, to make it appear to the public and potential clients that she had a partner.
- Jacqueline Parkes (2008)
Parkes took what was already a male dominated industry and turned it up a notch. In 2008, Parkes joined Major League Baseball as the first female Chief Marketing Officer in professional sports history. She has since moved on to MTV, VH1 & LOGO networks, but she did the work for all the young girls to come after her.
Because of these women’s tenacity and refusal to take no for an answer, women just like them have the chance to not only succeed in the advertising industry, but to start their own businesses and pave their own paths. I get to come to work every day for a women ran company, but not just any women ran company, a mad women ran company. And that’s something I’m thankful for every single day.
So as you can see from this long list of women, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Mad Man or a Mad Woman. Girls are going to run the world regardless. And from one mad woman to another, aren’t you glad you get to see that happen?