A few months ago I got an invite to join *Ello and I finally did just that. I don’t really know how it works, but nonetheless I’ve spent some time on there and I’m left thinking: “where the ladies at?!”
After sifting through my friend’s friends, dude after dude appeared, peppered with the odd woman at a rate close to 1 in 10. I can’t say I’m surprised—and I’m also not blaming the social platform—but it served to remind me of the disparity between women and men in creative fields and took me back to this article on how only 3% of Creative Directors are female, or this one discussing how “a lack of visible female heroes results in lack of female interest”.
A survey of the UK design industry published by the Design Council in 2010 revealed that only 40% of designers were women, in startling contrast to the 70% of female design students.
Source: It’s Nice That
In school, it was pretty 50/50; men to women—In fact, there were maybe more girls than dudes. So where are we disappearing to after school? Is it motherhood? Are we not as confident and assertive as guys? Do we value Twitter less? Do we not feel like we can do things the guys can do? Do we stop because we get paid less making it harder to make it a sustainable career? Well, it may simply be a mix of all of the above (and more).
But the answer to this conundrum may very well be the simple one: our culture and upbringing fosters certain traits in boys and girls, which in turn lead to perceptions which in turn lead to tangible differences on how we view ourselves, our capabilities. And this molds aspects of our personalities. A study outlined by Rebecca Wright showed just that:
Female students are still less likely to want to grab the limelight, less inclined to push themselves forward and to self promote. These students show their confidence in other ways – in the events they organise, coordinate and manage, the group work they often lead and the imagination and innovation with which they develop their project work. But the lack of fanfare that accompanies these activities may lie behind the lack of visibility of women graphic designers at those top tables.
Source: Rebecca Wright
Little boys are asked what they want to be when they grow up and little girls play house. Men are told they can have power growing up and women are taught to be practical; A man can get chastised for being practical and a woman can get called a bitch for being powerful. It isn’t anything new, but that’s the problem: a lot of people tend to think “it’s 2015, gender inequality is no longer a thing” when it still very much is.
So while I’ll save you all from a rant, I will say this:
Ladies, let’s stop being so humble to the point where it’s detrimental to our representation in the creative industry and to ourselves;
Let’s stop apologizing for saying no to free work;
Let’s stop feeling guilty for getting paid;
Let’s stop shutting ourselves up before we even start talking;
And let’s stop calling other girls bitches when they simply speak their mind or exhibit confidence and bravery.
But I digress: this all started with Ello, which brings me to this: I have 25 invites and I’d like to give them all to ladies, just ’cause. So holler at me on Twitter or Instagram or comment below and I’ll send them out throughout the week! (And wouldn’t it be neat if you all sent your invites to ladies too?) Let’s get out there, lasses.
* For those who don’t know, Ello is, in their words, “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.”