Monday 8th March saw people all across the globe celebrate International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Furthermore, it marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Not only does the day celebrate women’s achievements, but it raises awareness about women’s equality, lobbies for accelerated gender parity and raises money and awareness for female-focussed charities.
Take a look at the International Women’s Day timeline below to see how it has developed globally over the past 100 years.
What Does International Women’s Day Mean To The Business Women We Work With?
We reached out to some female owned and led businesses that work with us to see what International Women’s Day means to them.
We first spoke to Joanne Coope, Director of Lococo Creative.
Joanne graduated from the University of Coventry with a First Class Honours degree in Graphic Design. She has worked in various creative roles, and set up her own business in 2008, making it her full-time employment in 2011.
Lococo Creative is a graphic design company that is passionate about focussing on areas where they can really add value, with creativity at the heart of everything they do.
They love nothing more than designing identities, information design and exhibitions, print right through to websites and digital media and seeing how these things can help grow a business.
Integrity is key to their approach. They offer an open, honest and fair service. Maintaining these qualities means their clients trust them and allows them to build a strong, lasting and respectful relationship with them.
If you’re interested in working with Lococo Creative, you can find their website here.
Next up, we heard from Danielle Schumacher, President and Founder of Rocktopus.
Danielle has 21 years of hands-on and creative experience, and set up Rocktopus in 2011. She says that her unique background has shaped her to be a motivated, determined, versatile and flexible professional, as well as a humble human being who values kindness and appreciates everything in life.
Rocktopus is a full service, small but fierce woman-owned local LLC in the NYC area. They offer creative services sure to knock the socks off your competitors at affordable rates which beat the heck out of any big-time agency.
They take “brand heart” to a whole new level. They have launched an exclusive charity programme geared towards providing smaller, nonprofits crucial branding and design support to visually communicate their mission, maximising their fundraising efforts and attract new clients.
Amongst many things, International Women’s Day is very close to Danielle’s heart, as you can tell from what she had to say below.
“Have you ever been frustrated with something you felt you couldn’t possibly change? If you don’t make the moves to fix it on a larger scale, the inertia will chip away at your spirit & can leave you feeling empty or hopeless. As a woman with 21 years of creative direction expertise in branding, advertisement, marketing & graphic design, I found it imperative to build my own design agency.
In 2008 when I was at the height of building my career up from lowly production artist to a celebrated art director & working on Fortune 500 projects within agencies, at the same time just 3.6% of the world’s creative directors were female. Since then it has tripled to 11%, yet a percentage that low is not much of a reason to celebrate just yet. We as women are intrinsically natural-born creators of new life, blessed with a high level of intuition and empathy which leaves our male counterparts both impressed and confused. You would think that someone would have made the connection there and realize that most of us are perfectly in alignment with the most important skill of commercial design & marketing, which is essentially consumer/customer empathy – being able to remove your own perspective from a situation, and put yourself in the shoes of another to craft a perfect, immersive user experience which addresses each client’s desire, pain points, etc. What’s more is that women also make 85% of all purchasing decisions – why not entrust us to know exactly what we want? We can make you millions of dollars! Seems so simple, right?
During my career journey, I have experienced a lot – while it’s not something many women talk about since we’re focused on maintaining a professional demeanor – there have been numerous times where I was not given the authority to make creative decisions because I had to run it by an entire team of too many male cooks in the kitchen. Yes, without standing your ground and learning to become assertive while remaining emotionally grounded in a situation you’re passionate about, you will get pushed around in the workplace (unintentionally) and not be able to shine by executing a project the way you know it would achieve great success. And it is frustrating, and we keep it inside, pushing ever onward.”
“So I crafted my own brand and design company, Rocktopus, in 2011 – which later went on a brief hiatus when I accepted a full-time offer as Creative Director for a global client I had at the time. After having been laid off last year amid the most difficult time for the advertisement industry in all of history, I fired it back up again. Only this time around, I finally put all my fears of failure aside and went for the bigger plans I had in store all along.
I have recently created a Student Internship Program for the purpose of training, mentoring & empowering young women in the male-dominated graphic design, visual communications & marketing industry. My two interns Bianca and Courtney are amazing, and I am absolutely blessed to have them in my life. I am not a fan of the way interns are treated by most agencies – preached at as a pair of inexperienced hands, treated as a generic human resource, and so on… my goal is to instill a sense of actual community and true leadership where they know they’re my equals & understand that I am doing everything in my power that I can for them to succeed in life. Where I ask them for THEIR opinions and allow them the freedom to contribute to projects, hands-on, in lieu of making menial production demands. My long term goal is to permanently employ a team of women and place them in decision-making roles as equals where they can finally put all that natural intuition, empathy & eye for aesthetics to good use without being undermined or “parented” by creativity-draining egos in the workplace.”
“Last October, I made things official & incorporated as Rocktopus LLC – a 100% woman-owned start-up design agency with no venture capital whatsoever – which leads to my next important point to keep in mind about female entrepreneurship/leadership: Less than 1% of ALL businesses are ever able to raise venture capital funding. 97% of the founders who manage to do so are men – and having come from an underprivileged household, determined to achieve success, raised by a single mother, and having built my career from the ground-up with no formal degree starting from the age of 16, I can attest to that statistic.
I am proud to say that things are finally coming together and looking up – not by means of investors or venture capital, but due to my dream of empowering women fueling my drive to spend sleepless days and nights building my business into something sustainable and solid – not just for myself or my family, but for all young women – because in each one of their faces, and in every project they take on, I see myself as a young woman pushing ever onward amid adversity. I have never forgotten where I came from, and I have every intention to pay it forward.”
If you’re interested in working with Rocktopus, you can find their website here.
Finally, we heard from Shereka Evans, Vice President of Traffic NYC, a fully-integrated international creative agency, with offices in New York and Shanghai, working with the world’s most sought after commercial artists.
They represent illustrators, photographers, art directors, and copywriters, as well as provide in-house branding, design and content development.