“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. This year’s bold and purposeful campaign theme – to both advance gender equality and empower women – for International Women’s Day 2019 is also a timely mission statement for our very own global creative industry.

Statistics show that women who work in the creative industry are still paid 20-23% less than men (Source: Information is Beautiful). Gender pay-gaps are well documented and debated, and it does come down to perceived value – the perceived value of female contribution. Of course, there are some women who are hugely respected and well recognised – those who continue to produce revolutionary work, such as Stella McCartney and Tracey Emin, and those who have left behind an unforgettable creative legacy such as Ray Eames and Zaha Hadid. However, generally, men in this industry still get more visibility and profile.

International Women’s Day is a much-anticipated fixture on the global annual calendar, but we need to remember that it is not just a diarised opportunity to champion and celebrate the women who have worked so hard to get us to where we are. It shouldn’t be a one-day occurrence but an everyday state of mind and intent. It should be about getting rid of the barriers that have historically come with gender stereotypes to create a world that offers more equal opportunities – regardless of race, sexuality, or even region.

Pearlfisher is proud to boast a majority female global leadership team, and our aim is to use this position to elevate the voice and credentials of the female creative so that they are better, and more publicly, recognized for how they are shaping our future – both within our own studio walls and in the wider creative industry. For us, opportunity and seniority aren’t based on anything other than talent, hunger, hard work and ambition.

All the while, we need to remember that it’s not all about ‘Her’ – or about him. It’s about humanity. We need to celebrate human qualities and human strengths, regardless of gender. Balance – #BalanceforBetter – isn’t achieved just through a single, silver bullet. It’s through, essential and collective change in many different areas. As an industry, we still need to find better ways to bring men and women together equally and support one another in society. Flexible, home and freelance working is one example of the changing the work/life balance, but with parental leave no longer just a necessity or desire for women, our collective support of one another and our industry resources need to keep evolving and meeting new needs to help both men and women build successful careers and families.

In all industries, the best ideas and most innovative solutions will come from a balanced meeting of masculine and feminine energies. We bear witness to this throughout our brand creation alongside clients. It has instilled an appreciation in us for the talented women and men we collaborate with and who share our philosophy that gender balance is the standard and elevates the calibre of our creative perspective and output.

Gender intelligent thinking and gender intelligent creativity should now inform, inspire and become integral to the products, services and experiences we are creating. Sexism doesn’t need to be systemic – we just need to change the system. We work best together – not when we’re him or her, but when we’re us.