The creative industries still have a gender problem. What can we do about it?

branding for equality and diversity company, Delta
(Image credit: Nalla)

Five years ago around International Women's Day, I wrote a piece about gender in the design industry. The people I spoke to overwhelmingly thought that the design industry had a gender problem. At the time, only 17 per cent of creative directors were female, although women accounted for around 60-70 per cent of design graduates. There seemed to be an issue around retaining, promoting and nurturing female-identifying designers, although there were several initiatives such as Creative Equals, SheSays and Kerning The Gap that were attempting to change things.

In 2024, I want to know if things are different. This time, I've broadened the scope of my research to talk about the wider creative industries, speaking to those working in branding, design and VFX. As far as I can tell, the headline statistics don't seem to have changed much. At the current rate, The Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg predicts that the UK is set to achieve a 50 per cent gender split across its key creative positions by 2085; 61 years from now. 

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Boneli Lotilla

Boneli is a design director at minds + assembly. With experience in mental health, rare disease, oncology, and more, her work turns complex topics into beautiful moments. When she’s not doodling, clay-throwing, or crocheting, you can find her with her tuxedo cat, Luna-Tuna.

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KC Chung

KC is a director of design at minds + assembly with over a decade of experience in advertising. Her work spans across various therapeutic areas such as neurological disorders, women's health, chronic pain management, multiple sclerosis, rare diseases, and oncology. She is passionate about building strong brands and creating compelling storytelling that commands attention and brings empathy among people.

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Jess Parker

Jess is director at global design recruitment agency Craft. With its network of the best creatives in the industry, the Craft ambition is simple: to enhance the studios, careers and lives of everybody they partner with. They recruit for world-class design agencies and in-house studios, and find creative people jobs they love.

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Klaudija Cermak

Klaudija is undergraduate programme leader for VFX and VFX Compositing Lecturer at Escape Studios in London, celebrating 40 years in the industry this year. She has worked at all the major post-production houses in Soho including MPC, Mill, Millfilm, Framestore, Double Negative and Glassworks.

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Cat How

Cat How is founder and executive creative director of How&How – a branding agency with offices in London and LA. Cat’s agency works with climate-tech brands, champions salary transparency and gender pay equality. 

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Vicki Young

Vicki is owner and chief creative officer of Nalla, an award-winning branding agency creating Business to People brands for FTSE 100 companies and ambitious scale-ups. She's proud to achieve both market reach increase and financial growth for every client Nalla have worked with. Outside of work, Vicki is a mother and spends her time knee deep at soft play centres! She’s also the co-author of a new book called B2B is Dead.

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Julia Patrick

Design lead at Borne, Julia's background is fashion. She joined Borne from ASOS and freelance for Selfridges, working as a creative and art director on major campaigns – but her book includes work for Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Rimmel, Benefit, Matches Fashion, Citröen and Philips.

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Rowena Curlewis

Rowena is an international drink branding specialist and Co-Founder/ CEO of global agency Denomination working across wine, beer, spirits and cider. With 25 years of experience in the drinks industry, Rowena has worked on some of the world's treasured brands including Penfolds, Chateau Ste Michelle, Dow's, Chapel Down, Yalumba and Taylors.

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Alice Saunders

After graduating from Falmouth University, Alice headed to London to carve out a career in design and she’s called the city home ever since. With a passion for ideation she’s now the creative lead at Nalla, which means she overseas the entire design team and leads with compassion.  

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Kate Curtis

Kate, a designer from Leeds, initially ventured into the digital industry through marketing after completing her BA Hons in Applied Creative Design at Hull University. Her journey unfolded, and she discovered her genuine passion as a Digital Designer, where she now thrives, bringing creativity and innovation to her work.

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Rosie Hilder

Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where she worked as Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on magazines including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw and Mac|Life. In 2018, she joined Creative Bloq, where she now assists with the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure our content serves the reader as best it can.