Cannes Lions have today announced the names of the participants of See It Be It 2015, the initiative that aims to highlight the existence of very talented creative women in the industry and accelerate their careers.

From well over 200 nominations by agency leaders, 12 women have been selected after an intense two-week interview process. Hailing from all corners of the world, all are between six and ten years into their careers and in creative job roles, and have been identified as promising future creative leaders. The Festival will cover the group’s flights, accommodation and full-week pass and during the Festival they will meet with speakers, attend special talks, get tours of the jury rooms and have access to an exclusive mentorship event.

The programme launched in 2014 following research showing that the number of female creatives attending the Festival reflected the low numbers of female creative directors globally. In the belief that this in turn results in gender-biased work which shapes culture, the Festival decided to put female creatives in the spotlight.

“The final 12 represent the future of the industry. We’re committed to investing in them by exposing them to the inspiration Cannes Lions has to offer. See It Be It will provide them with an intimate network of women from all over the world who are at exactly the same stage of their careers. If last year’s group is anything to go by, invaluable friendships will grow out of it. They will act as role models for the upcoming generation – something that is still lacking in the agency world,” says Senta Slingerland, Director of Brand Strategy at Lions Festivals and initiator of the programme.

Gender is high on the Festival agenda this year. Sessions dedicated to the topic include Jefferson Hack from Dazed in conversation with Samantha Morton about the lack of female directors in Hollywood; Ogilvy & Mather’s session with Monica Lewinsky; A&E Network’s ‘Marketing to women in the fourth wave of feminism’ forum; Venus Comms’s session on the business case for marketing to women; the United Nations Foundation talk at Lions Health about solutions for saving women’s lives; and the Unruly talk about tackling the gender gap in tech at Lions Innovation. The See It Be Forum panel ‘Diversify or Die’ will also discuss the inaugural Glass Lions, the new award for work that shatters the stereotypes of gender representation in marketing.

“Every year Cannes Lions reflects our community’s most pressing topics. It’s clear gender equality, representation and female creativity are burning issues that are helping to drive the future of the industry,” says Philip Thomas, Lions Festivals CEO.

In total, women represent around 30% of the speakers and 31.5% of judging panels at Cannes Lions. “Not the 50% we all wish to see, but we’re committed to seeing the scales equaling out,” adds Thomas.

The full programme of the Cannes Lions, Lions Health and Lions Innovation are viewable online. See It Be It and The Glass Lion are supported by LeanIn.Org and sponsored by IBM Interactive Experience, the Ipsos Girls’ Lounge and Refinery29.