Being a creative wasn’t always my dream. In fact to tell the truth I kind of stumbled on it by accident after running out of time to choose what I wanted to do with myself forever more – apparently ‘biscuit taster’ wasn’t an option. Back then, I was quite academic would you believe, and actually, a bit of a nerd. So the natural choice would have been something perhaps more office based, maybe a journalist, I don’t know, something more… normal. But hidden amongst all my library swatting, exam loving ways, was a spark of imagination. And the 9-5 office job wasn’t going to be for me (I mean I do work 9-5, and technically yes, in an office, but us creatives like to call it a ‘studio’. We’re precious). Being a creative was, absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it, for me.
Now it wasn’t until many years later that I realised that being a girl in the industry, was quite a rarity. At uni, there was pretty much a 50/50 split of girls and boys, so you’d think that would translate into the work place. Apparently not. No amount of Googling has given me any definitive reasoning behind this, only speculation about men on the whole being better at self promotion and perhaps more confident. Of course this is all very general. So with topics such as the ‘gender pay gap’ hot in the press at the moment, I thought I’d give a bit of insight into my experience in ‘a man’s world’.
On my very first day at my very first job, I walked into the studio to be greeted by a room full of Marks. I kid you not, all but one of their creatives were called Mark. It was like a cult. There I was, one of the lads, lads, lads (I was even given an honorary nickname of “Parkyboy”). I mentally prepared for the onslaught of man banter, football chat and so on but alas all was not as it seemed. What I actually found, amongst other things, was a cat lover and a father of three girls (bless him!). It turned out they were quite a sensitive bunch. And I fitted in just fine. And so from there my career continued, me as a minority – which as it turned out – meant nothing at all. One time I overheard a client ask “is she there to even up the sexes?”. One time. In ten years. My gender has been brought up one time in ten years. My point is, it has never been a ‘thing’.
So has competing in a largely male influenced industry held me back? Absolutely not. I’d say the opposite in fact. To have a difference is a great thing. Genetically, male and female brains work differently. What’s not to like about having a point of difference and tackling a brief from a completely different mindset? You never know where that creative gem is going to come from. More heads are better than one and all that.
In conclusion, having spent my career thus far as a pink toothbrush surrounded by blue ones, what I have learnt is… We all clean teeth (a tenuous metaphor I know, but stay with me). A brain is a brain. An idea is an idea. And a creative is a creative. What form a creative is packaged up in is irrelevant. If you can put pen to paper and create something fresh, new and exciting, you are a creative too. (But girls are prettier!).