It’s 2018 and if you asked someone to name a famous designer or a forward-thinking creative you would hope to get a pretty equal split of male and female names thrown your way, but unfortunately that might not be the case. According to the latest stats, 67% of creative jobs are still being done by men leaving females out in the cold filling just 33% of creative roles.
And the more I think about it, the more it just doesn’t feel right. There are some incredible women in the creative world who have been leading the way for hundreds of years so even if women are just 33% of the creative population (for now) let’s make sure people know just how bloody brilliant they are…
Let’s start with the incredible photojournalist and filmmaker Ruth Orkin who is one of the most recognisable names in photography and an Oscar-nominated director! As well as those great accolades Ruth forged the way for creative women in the 1940s by securing work with all the major magazines despite it being a male-dominated world. And to top it all off, she created the iconic photo ‘American Girl in Italy’ representing the resilience and strength of her fellow females who wanted to travel and experience the world on their own! In summary Ruth Orkin was pretty awesome and her work paved the way for many female creatives to come…
A pioneering documentary photographer who used her camera to try and communicate social issues to the wider world, Dorothea Lange is one of the better-known icons on our list. Her powerful work during the Great Depression in the 1930s and her well-known photo “Migrant Mother” (below right) are just some of the reasons Dorothea is known as one of the greats. Adding to her list of achievements, Lange was the first woman ever to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. And if you ask the documentary photographers of today who inspired them to use photography to tell a story, Dorothea Lange will often be on their list. I say thanks to Dorothea for giving us some incredible photography and leading the way for women who want to continue to highlight social issues through photography.
Next we venture into the world of Architecture, an art form in it’s own right and the industry lucky enough to have experienced the work of the great Elisabeth Scott. A British architect whose career took off when she won a competition to design the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford Upon Avon, beating 70 (all male) competitors. Elisabeth Scott made huge steps forward for women in the world of architecture and the latest figures show that of all the creative industries, architecture has the best balance of male and female employees. So, if you’re working in architecture , or studying it at university raise a glass to Elisabeth next time you head for a drink after a long day at work!
We head into the advertising world with our next iconic woman, the incredible Cindy Gallop. A British advertising consultant and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn Cindy is the personification of an influential women. Cindy uses her voice to promote equality in the creative industries amongst many other things and her ability to fearlessly share her thoughts with the world has led her to be a ‘must-follow’ on social media sites. Cindy’s accomplishments are broad, ranging from being named one of 15 Most Important Marketing Strategy Thinkers Today by Business insider to having one of the most talked about TEDtalk presentations and most recently speaking out about sexual harassment in the ad industry and lending her support to women everywhere. If you ask me, we need more women like Cindy Gallop in the world!
We finish with the wonderful Laura Jordan Bambach an Australian digital designer, creative director and all round influential feminist. Laura is the creative partner at Mr. President (an awesome creative agency) and the co-founder of SheSays , a network for women in the creative industries giving them the opportunity to network and receive mentoring (I highly recommend you check it out!). Laura is widely recognised as an influential woman (The Guardian called her a ‘digital female icon’) and has won numerous awards throughout her career, but it’s her work for women in the creative world that really makes her stand out for me – she isn’t just focused on her own success, she wants to universally change the pathway for the future women of digital. So on behalf of all the young women getting ready to forge their way in the creative world – thank you Laura!
So there we have it, a list of some wonderful women who have done and are doing great work to make a change to the imbalance of the creative world. Want to join the conversation? Here are some of the trending hashtags you can check out…