Creative Comeback, the scheme supporting female creatives to return to work after career breaks, has launched an International Women’s Day campaign encouraging women to “take a pause” as children return to schools across the UK.
Created in-house by Creative Comeback in collaboration with women’s groups including Bloom, Working Girls Network, WACL and Digital Leading Ladies, “#TakeAPause” calls for women to put a special out-of-office notification on their email.
The message is titled “Out of the (home) Office. For International Women’s Day”. It says that “if we don’t act to support the women in our industry we risk sleepwalking into the biggest crisis in gender equality in a generation.”
It ends with an invitation for recipients to copy the post into their own out-of-office message in order to “raise awareness of the disproportionate impact of this crisis on women from every community (and particularly those from ethnically diverse communities, LGBTQIA+ communities, women with disabilities and women over 40)”.
Research by UN Women found that women in the UK are completing on average 30 hours of childcare a week (24 hours by men), compared to 26 hours before the pandemic.
Likewise, research from non-profit international aid organisation CARE revealed that 27% of women (and 10% of men) had reported increased challenges to their mental health, which has been largely credited to unpaid labour at home.
“Working mothers have also had an extra emotional burden to keep their children’s morale up,” Ali Hanan, CEO of Creative Equals, said.
“Many young teens have fallen prey to their own mental health disorders during lockdown, including OCD and eating disorders.”
Hanan continued: “Looking after their mental health as well as our own and our family’s has been exhausting.”
According to the company, 71% of furlough requests on the grounds of childcare have been refused by employers; while a survey of nearly 20,000 mothers and pregnant women carried out by Pregnant Then Screwed found that 15% of them had been made redundant (or expected to be) in what founder Jolie Brearley has referred to as “a generational rollback”.
“15% of mothers leaving the workforce is enormous – it took us 20 years to increase maternal employment by just 9%,” Brearley said.
To mark International Women’s Day, senior creatives across the industry told Campaign which up-and-coming creatives are inspiring them.