Sail is women founded, and women-led
The higher you go the fewer women there are. Where power is, women are not. Sail is female-founded and female-run creative practice.
Founded by Mandy Barker in 2016 (add link to £800 blog), and ran alongside co-director Danni Gilbert. Why is this important? ‘0.1% of creative agencies are founded by women and non-binary people, and the numbers are even smaller for women/non-binary BIPOC.’ (https://ladieswinedesign.com/)
‘While we’ve made huge strides in the last few generations, the statistics are still staggering: only 3% of women in the creative industry are creative directors or in leadership positions. It’s the same across all industries: only 5% of CEOs are female. While there are clearly many reasons for this, the fact that we are still focusing on women’s appearances instead of our talents or merits is obviously not helping. If we’re all being sexist—even women ourselves—how can we hope to end these ridiculous, insulting stereotypes?’ Jessica Walsh
There are many systemic issues around gender: caring responsibilities, oppression, lack of access to resources, opportunities. Virginia Woolf’s famous essay ‘A Room of Ones Own’ argues that Women haven’t had the same space to sit and contemplate that men have traditionally had. We can’t ignore the fact that historically, gender has granted privilege, confidence and opportunity.
We don’t always see inequalities because we don’t have to, even when we think of ourselves as progressive, inclusive and forward moving. Our privileges can be invisible to us, meaning prejudice and divides can be too, we must remember that and have self awareness as we move through the world.
As we strive to make progress, we are still being held back, just look at the horrific recent events in Iran (LINK). Gender inequality is epidemic, and as much as fiery protest is needed for change, it’s also about the small, every day things we can challenge too, especially in the West.
Small, micro actions to change the narrative will help us work towards a more equitable, fairer future. Sail exists with an aim to do good work for good organisations, and work in a different way to the dog-eat-dog business mentality of the modern world. It’s about acting with more kindness, compassion, human approaches and altruism. It’s also about being brave, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and taking risks.
A big part of reaching equality is to have equal aspirations: for all to be able strive for economic independence and stability. This is about human justice and equal rights, not because one gender is better than the other. It isn’t about dividing, it’s about unity, it’s about continuing the conversation, undoing social conditioning, and making progress, even if it is uncomfortable. Unlearning lessons of gender and society will take a long time, but it is moving, especially with the next generation.
We must change the narrative not just through work, but outside of work, and, where it is safe to do so, challenge social conformity and stereotypes, because positively challenging sends a tiny ripple of hope, which we need for change. We must raise aspirations of all young people. The next time you see a little girl, don’t tell her she looks pretty, tell her she’s brave, or ask her opinion on something.
“We are raising our girls to be perfect, and we are raising our boys to be brave. We have to socialise girls to be comfortable with imperfection, and to feel loved not for being perfect, but for being courageous.” Reshma Saujani
We need to be angry but we need to be hopeful, and we all need to be part of it. Gender equality will free the stereotypes and pressures of masculinity and femininity, give us less role based expectation, more balance and equal aspirations. We must act and speak together, for things to get better, for equal platforms, opportunity and aspirations, regardless of gender.
Sail will continue to aim to connect, compel and inspire other women and non-binary people by being visible role models. As The Girls Network say, ‘we cannot be what we cannot see’.