International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on progress of the cause for equality, to make a stand for change and to celebrate the acts of ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
The theme this year – ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’ – particularly resonated with us as an agency. We’re proud of our culture, with equality; openness; collaboration and honesty being key values of our environment. We feel fortunate to work in an industry – and indeed, country – which is so advanced in term of gender equality.
You only have to look at this week’s headlines to see certain industries still have a way to go: on Monday, Virgin Atlantic announced that their female cabin crew will no longer be required to wear make-up or skirts.
You said Monday, but you meant 1980, right? No. This week. Monday 4 March, 2019. While all progress is progress, this is the sort of headline that shouldn’t have to be a Thing in 2019.
As one Guardian commenter put it: “It absolutely blows my mind that an employer can demand the application of some kind of face paint by a particular demographic. Seriously, can someone explain how this is even legal?”
We’re not even touching on the wider global, economic issues women across the world face daily – we’re keeping it light, here, people – but yes, we do need International Women’s Day, and yes, there is an International Men’s Day, too, as comedian Richard Herring so perfectly illustrates every year on Twitter.
Last year, we celebrated International Women’s Day by asking our team to each pick an iconic woman, dead or alive, and tell us what it is about them that they find inspiring.
This year, we thought we’d make it more personal. We asked our male team members to anonymously share the reasons they love working with their female counterparts – and the results were heart-warming, to say the least. We hope this demonstrates the culture of equality we are so proud of here at Matter Of Form.
Amadea (Matter Of Form – Junior Front End Developer)
It’s incredibly inspiring that Amadea chose to make a career in web technology, despite it being a traditionally male-dominated industry. Every day, Amadea shows that being a developer is something that smart, fashionable, well-adjusted young women can aspire to and thrive as. I’m glad to see she is developing a love of all black clothing, and making tea – she may even find she develops a strange attraction to heavy metal. Amadea is developing a strong and positive identity as a key member of the tech department. I look forward to seeing her grow, evolve and pursue her interests, and in doing so add to the knowledge and expertise we bring to the agency.
Ambika (Matter Of Form – UX Architect)
Smart, professional, humble, loyal and super-talented. 5 words that instantly spring to my mind. Moving to live, study and start a career in another country at the age of 18, takes courage, dedication and determination to succeed. Distancing herself from family, friends and loved ones to develop herself, is testament to her personality and character. At Matter of Form, she is highly respected by all team members. Integrating with all teams and tackling challenges with sensitivity and empathy, confidently and eloquently presenting in front of clients with a sincere and personable approach. For me, Ambika is the hallmark of a strong independent woman, destined for success with a bright and exciting future ahead of her.
Cheryl (Matter Of Form – Designer)
Brilliantly talented, with a great attention to detail, combined with a meticulous and flawless execution, while also extremely humble and totally lacking of any malice, Cheryl is quite a young woman with an old and wise soul, and exceptional potential, which she just can’t wait to express.
Chessie (Diffusion Digital – Account Executive)
Chessie has an infectious calming presence, which she translates effectively into her work, with a distinct measured approach. She harnesses genuine interest and intrigue which directly inspires those around her. This, coupled with her ability to whip up 50 pancakes, just like that, makes her a real trooper!
Emma (Matter Of Form – Marketing Director)
Emma is confident, direct but has a wonderful ability to laugh at the ridiculous and not take things too seriously. She is warm, friendly and caring but deeply passionate about everything she does. She has a worldly view forged by a lifetime of living abroad and being amongst all sorts of people in all sorts of places. She also does a two hour commute in order to perform feats of brilliance in a hardcore gym. A kind, engaging, wonderful, surprisingly eccentric, inspiring woman.
Liz (Form Commerce – Project Manager)
The question is how does Liz inspire me. The answer is : on so many levels! Liz represents unquenched thirst to me. Thirst for learning, self improvement and change. It is this type of person , that doesn’t just scratch the surface of things , but want to discover what’s underneath, even if this means moving out of her comfort zone and walk into unknown territories . Courageous and brave to face any challenge, sets the example for the rest of us. A trait of a true leader…
Simone (Matter Of Form – Account Director)
Simone has a near unstoppable desire to be in control, which she usually also is. At the same time, she clearly shows that she genuinely cares – about the project she oversees, the team and individuals she is working with, her clients etc. She is the rock-solid, strict backbone of any project she is involved with, while also being responsible for regular outbursts of laughter and joy across the board. The result of this is a slightly weird control-freak that people actually do enjoy working and hanging out with! She demonstrates a very potent combination of qualities that brings out the best in the people she works with, which truly does deserve a great deal of respect and recognition.
Zoe (Matter Of Form – Finance Manager)
Zoe inspires me because as a single mother she single handedly looks after 2 children and operates the finances for Matter Of Form. I don’t think many people actually realise the complexity of what Zoe has to deal with or the barrage of emails she gets from all sorts of stakehoklders. I also don’t think any of us understand what it is like to be a single mother whilst also holding down a demanding job. I can call her at 8PM on a Sunday and she always picks up, and she is also giving Alfie and Olivia a brilliant start in life. She is inspiring.
Gone are the Mad Men days where women only existed as secretaries or ‘token girls’ in the office. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done. Far from it.
What would Don Draper make of a 50/50 balanced creative agency, with women leading the way in tech, innovation, account management, and ideas?