To mark International Women’s Day (March 8th) we’ve decided to chat with our Marketing Director, Claire McDivitt about her role at LAZERIAN, gender equality and how important it is to celebrate International Women’s Day.
This also is an introduction to our new regular Q&A sessions whereas we will be chatting to interesting people within the creative industries of all shapes and sizes.
Q/ Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, your background and your role at Lazerian?
A/ I’m the Marketing Director at LAZERIAN as well as a mum to 2 young children so I’m a busy person to say the least. Not only do I implement and oversee the marketing strategy at LAZERIAN on a day to day basis but I’ve also gone back into education to study content creation and brush up my digital marketing skills.
Q/ How do you find being a woman in a male dominated studio/workshop?
A/ At LAZERIAN it’s been great, everyone is a member of the team regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability etc, it truly is a neutral place to work. However in the past I have experienced sexism in the workplace. I’m hoping that times have changed and nowadays people regardless of what industry they work in, can be treated as an equal. I think in some industries women are seen as ‘less’ or deemed not to know as much or that you don’t have as much knowledge. Obviously this is frustrating but at the same time it has motivated me to work that little bit more to prove not only that I can do it but I can do it better!
Q/ International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economical and social achievements of women. In your experience what are the achievements of a ‘successful woman’
A/ This is a tough one to answer as I believe we are all so unique and therefore our achievements and goals will be totally different. For me being successful would be to have a balance in everything in my life- to have a happy family and homelife, be happy and healthy myself and to be excited and active in my career and to achieve results for LAZERIAN.
Q/ Do you have any female role models or any women you aspire to?
A/ I love women who try and make a difference, who put themselves out there but who also know what's important (such as friends and family)
I’ve always been obsessed with Audrey Hepburn- not only was she one of Hollywood’s beloved and iconic actresses she was a UNICEF ambassador and devoted her life to kindness and being compassionate. She still is a style icon, beautiful and always so chic but at the same time showing women it's ok to be kind. She was a great humanitarian and very talented and critically acclaimed as an actress.
I also love Michelle Obama- not only is she a great powerful woman in her own right, she's still manages to be a devoted mother. Also I love how she supported her husband- as they say ‘behind every great man is a great woman’
As a mum I love Giovanna Fletcher- she shows mums that its okay to not have a perfect body straight after giving birth, or its ok to ask questions and not be the perfect mum. Basically she's a real mum in the public eye and I love that she isn’t afraid to be honest about that.
Q/ What does gender equality mean to you?
For me it's about choosing my own path in life. To succeed the way I want to succeed. It's about ensuring that both genders have access to the same opportunities- about being respected, valued and acknowledged, no matter what gender you happened to be born.
Q/ Do you think gender equality is being represented in the creative and digital industry?
If I hadn’t researched this question then I would of originally said ‘yes’ but I only have my experience of Lazerian and the Manchester creative industry to fall back on (which is amazing and a lovely big happy family, where everyone supports each other regardless of gender, race, disability etc) BUT after research unfortunately I’ve had my eyes opened and not in a good way. After reading results published in the Guardian of a Glassdoor Economic Research report, it stated that Britain has one of the worst records of gender equality at work. Britain ranked 11th out of 18 countries- behind France, US and Sweden.
A few more disappointing stats include:
- Overall less than 33% of the managers in the cultural industries are woman
- Within the digital sector only 26% of the workforce are women
- Within the advertising sectors only 25% of senior positions are held by women.
Of course this is frustrating and discouraging news but there are ways we can all help to change. In fact here in Manchester there is the ‘Digital Her’ movement that is ace. They actively encourage a new generation of women into the digital and tech industry. It’s a great scheme and they are always looking for mentors- for more info click here.