Since its inception, the ad industry has been telling women, “You are not the norm,” Knight says. “So if you’re going to be here at all, you’re going to have to adjust. You have to try and adjust your sense of humor, try and adjust to what is considered creativity.”

For years that oversight funneled the industry’s makeup, and its output, into one narrow channel. Perhaps the unforgivably gendered industry characterized by Cooke is at last in its endgame, struggling to throw off the past, and, finally, having to admit that no one group gets to tell the rest of the world what’s funny. 

Progress on the gender pay gap has been excruciatingly slow. Quartz is digging into the cultural and structural issues that make reaching gender pay parity harder in major industries. How does the big-picture impression of a field differ from women’s experience on the ground? Who is making progress, and how? Read our previous piece on law here. 

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