International Women’s Day 2019
Tracking progress and taking a look at what’s next
We can’t believe that International Women’s Day has rolled around again so quickly. We’re so excited to see what amazing initiatives are launched to celebrate this very important day in the calendar. Of course, it’s not just about the day itself, we all know of certain ‘bandwagon brands’ who try and latch onto a day like IWD to steal some of the limelight in order to sell products, but that’s not what it is for.
For us, it means an opportunity to check in with our progress along the action plan we have implemented and make sure we’re still pushing to create some positive action to address gender inequality. Last year, we launched a manifesto in partnership with our positive impact partner CLO PR. The concept behind the manifesto was ‘thinking is good, talking is great, doing is best’ and it was centred on the three pillars of:
Doing things properly
Doing things differently
Providing a platform for those on their way up
The main objective was to put a document into the public domain so that we could hold ourselves accountable and make sure that we were doing more than just saying the right things. The time for talking has been long overdue, women have (and continue to be) silenced over so many incredibly important topics, but as three people with a lot of in-built privilege, we are in a powerful position to act on those words, and begin to create small but mighty changes which will hopefully start to create some tangible difference across the equality landscape.
So let’s first revisit the manifesto, and track what we’ve managed to achieve or what areas we still need to work on and then look forward into 2019 to map out how we’ll connect our actions to this year’s theme of ‘Balance’. If you’ve been wondering what you can do to support IWD, hopefully you’ll find some inspiration below to get involved!
GET OUTSIDE OUR ECHO CHAMBER/PROVIDING A SOCIAL STOPGAP:
“I didn’t realise how much I needed the face-to-face time until I was there” – Indie Foolheea, Unfold Change
We launched our event series ‘Mac&MeetUp’ last month in London (after a trial run in Edinburgh before Christmas) where a group of likeminded women from the world of marketing and PR gathered around a breakfast table to discuss ‘Levelling Up’ over coffee and eggs. We discussed how to tackle Learning and Development when you work for yourself, the differences between in-house and remote services, but a large part of the conversation revolved around the importance of getting together face-to-face to provide a sounding board and friendly ear. We’re venturing out of the London Bubble and off to the next one in Leeds next week, heading to Glasgow in April, back to Edinburgh in May and we’re got Bristol, Manchester and Norwich in our sights!
When women truly support other women, the things that can be achieved are incredible. We value our network of IRL and digital pals so much for the support, guidance, inspiration and insights they offer is something we are grateful to have, and we are going to continue creating opportunities for women (including trans and non-binary women) to meet and grow together.
SUPPORTING FEMALE FOUNDERS:
Female founded or co-founded businesses are still raising significantly less investment than their male counterparts, and yet their businesses are delivering higher revenue. This has been attributed to various factors such as the lack of female VC’s and the higher levels of interrogation for female founders during a pitch, but fundamentally, although the numbers of female entrepreneurs are rising, we’re still working within an inherently flawed system. We’re working alongside a host of female founders in sectors such as Tech, Recruitment and the Creative Industries as we know that laying the right foundations is even more important to businesses run by women to give them the best possible chance of success and avoid costly wrong decision-making.
Throughout 2019 and beyond we’ll be continuing to support female founders to build their brands in a visible and sustainable way, starting with Linda Wade (Spinview), Joanna Abeyie (JA Consultancy), Hannah Taylor (She is Fierce), Fiona Grayson (She Can She Did), Angie Brand (Vinyoga), Charlotte Austin (CHAT Global) and many more.
Joanna had this to say about her mission: “I’m driven by the passion to see real and lasting change. My mission is to continue to steer the diversity agenda and create a more inclusive environment in creative industry for people from a myriad of ethnicities and backgrounds. From the boardroom, all the way down to entry-level.” – We are so excited we get to be a part of this!
REPRESENTING & PROMOTING FEMALE CREATIVE TALENT:
We don’t just seek out female entrepreneurs to work with, we also partner with incredible female creatives. One of the core USP’s of our business is the fact that we build out bespoke teams of best-in-class freelancers to plug into businesses, along with our own services, and this allows us to deliver the best possible results without big agency fees. We, of course, work with a whole host of incredibly skilled male suppliers, but we’ve tracked down some of the best female creative minds in the business. One of our preferred partners is designer, Maddy Russell, and the resulting output of teaming up has been work we’re incredibly proud of.
Maddy has worked with a host of female-founded brands (including ours) and here’s what she had to say about her design process:
“I’m really passionate about translating someone’s business vision into a reality and helping them achieve success. I’m also a big advocate of ‘shopping local’, there are so many benefits to supporting independent businesses, and design is no different.”
It’s not just about hiring either, creators need cash! Patreon is an amazing platform that allows writers and artists to provide a subscription option for the consumption of their content, we pledge money to Aja Barber each month to help support her work on race and her writing. Continuing to learn from others and listen to other people’s experiences and perspectives is so important, but these valuable voices should not be expected to work for free.
A big part of changing the landscape for women in work is by mentoring and supporting those on their way up. We’re both currently mentoring as part of the She is Fierce Collective, a group of 100 creative women looking to grow their side hustles or fledgling businesses in the right direction for them. Last year from September to December we took part in mentoring for You Make It, a programme to support underprivileged BAME women to succeed in the world of work. The work that the YMI team do is incredible, and as is often the way with this kind of set-up they are always in need of additional funding or mentors, so if you’ve considered sharing some of your time to help others in the past, check them out!
Jess has always been a big advocate for mentorship and volunteering, back in the days before Mac&Moore she was involved in a creative skill swap for FCancer which was covered in The Guardian. She was recently quoted for NatWest around her mentoring work: “a mentor can help a mentee in many ways, from listening to new ideas and ways of working, to help building confidence and resilience in the workplace.” It’s the broad range of skills (not just those that would appear on your CV) that make mentoring such a valuable process as so often the issue that is holding women back from making a success of their ideas is confidence or Imposter Syndrome.
We truly believe in this work, and its power to help/support others on their way up. That’s why it’s never been about ticking something off a list, we can’t ‘complete’ our manifesto, just check in with ourselves to make sure we’re staying on track and to continually refine and add new layers as we increase our own learning in these sometimes difficult and uncomfortable subjects.
The theme for IWD 2019 is ‘Balance’ and we hope to continue stepping outside of our own echo chambers to get a more balanced perspective, learning from and supporting those who are from different backgrounds etc. to us and promoting female voices via our Female Focus series to try and balance the scales to deliver greater representation of women into the mix. We’re speeding up, not slowing down and will be continuing to share all of our activity so that we can recognise our progress and highlight areas where there is still work to be done.