Whenever the issue of the under-representation of women in the creative industries rears its head, there are always voices who – for a variety of reasons – try to underplay its significance. The perfect contribution to this nuanced and emotive subject comes from The W Project, set up by Teo Connor and Loren Platt, and their new book The Journey Is The Treasure. It features 33 talented female creatives – including Rose Blake, Emmi Salonen, Morag Myserscough, Shaz Madani and Chrissie Macdonald – showcasing an early piece of work and a more up-to-date example.
It’s a beautiful looking object too as you’d expect from a graphic designer of Teo’s talents with a thought-provoking foreword written by Liz Farrelly. She points out that a recent survey found that around half of design consultancies were all-male and the number of women in the industry over the age of 35 fell dramatically.
With kind permission of the publishers, here is an excerpt from that foreword:
“The world is full of creative women… But there is room for more, and there’s a real need to shout about it.
“If you inhabit the privileged position of having received a highly specialised, very expensive education, and be lucky enough to make a living from your cultural production, you might think, “well, I know plenty of women working and getting recognised for it”. Of course there are stunning exceptions to any unequal status quo. But to build a new norm, to help a wider audience of young (and not so young) people imagine a creative future for themselves, we need visible role models and constant exposure.
“Every profession should mirror the society it serves, and that to meet the communication needs of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, gendered audience, we need communicators with a wider range of references than the white, middle-class, male norm…Accept there’s a problem, and aim to take action; overturn the “boy’s own” image of creative genius; recruit more women students (and I’d add, tutors); raise the profile of women creatives; and adopt new working practices that empower the individual in order to combat inequality whether overt or covert; and of course, “use the power of graphic communication to tackle all these issues”.”