Gender roles in the creative arena

By Lauren Hayley Coetzee, Senior Designer, Black Snow Creative

It has been a long road travelled for females striving to achieve equality in the working world – a road which still has many more bricks to be laid. With the focus on women this Women’s Month, it is hard not to examine women’s roles and future development in the professional space.

In the creative field, it is fortunate that the ratio between males and females tends to be equal. Promisingly, female graduates are actually superseding males. The main reasons for job placement in the design arena can be ascribed to one’s creative ability, having a personable nature and being able to work well in a team, with gender being a minor deciding factor. This, in itself, is an enormous triumph for the industry as it is sadly not the case for many other industries.

Another area where gender has no influence in the creative space relates to one’s ability to handle criticism. It is often an expectation that designers come up with ‘big’ ideas or unique concepts, however, so often they are met with a disappointing “no”. Regardless of gender, it boils down to one’s personality and how one deals with rejection. Many a campaign may start with a ‘no’, however, after digging deeper for alternative ideas, can translate into a resounding success.

Gender does, however, have an influence in the creative realm in terms of job success due to certain inherent traits that men and women carry. Jessica Phillpott, an independent branding designer who previously worked for The Partners, beautifully stated in an opinion piece that: “A lack of confidence and ego are probably among the reasons so few of the rock stars of the design world are women. That’s definitely not because female designers aren’t doing great work – but when it comes to self-promotion, it often seems to be the case that women simply aren’t as noisy about it as men.”

So as Women’s Month comes into full swing, make some noise – the right noise – in any industry you are in. Be aware of the important role that females play in the work space and the many opportunities available for us to shine.