Driving inclusivity in the creative industry

At Powerhouse we are dedicated to promoting gender equality and inclusivity in the creative industry. We understand that less than 30% of the UKs creative and design workforce is female, even though women currently account for around 60% of students enrolled in arts and design courses in the UK.

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June 13, 2023

Debbie Adams

So, what’s going wrong?

Often cited is the lack of female role models and in our efforts to tackle this we have taken several initiatives that aim to inspire, support, and empower women in the industry.

Last year, we launched a series of webinars that featured our very own female talent sharing their experiences and challenges of getting into the industry. This year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we organised an event to celebrate female marketing trailblazers with guest speakers from HARIBO, IPG Mediabrands, and McCann Manchester, sharing their insights and stories and offering valuable inspiration and advice.

Inclusivity in the creative industry - Photos from an event to celebrate International Women's Day

One of the key partnerships that we have formed over the last 2 years to support our efforts is with the #WECAN (Women Empowered through Coaching and Networking) project, led by Leeds Beckett University. This project, part-funded by the European Social Fund  aims to build the leadership skills, capabilities and opportunities of women in the Leeds City Region through fully funded leadership & management support and training. They offer ILM accredited qualifications, development workshops, networking opportunities, events, and access to both academic and industry experts.

Since launching in June 2021 over 700 women from 300+ businesses across the Leeds City Region have joined the #WECAN community. Powerhouse was one of the first businesses to sign up, and we have had several females in our team access the ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) accredited leadership courses and participate in workshops.

Kim, our Account Director shares her experience of participating in the Leadership Course Level 3:

Like many other I lacked some confidence as a female team leader. However, the course has helped me find my voice and build confidence. Being part of an all-women group was empowering, it created an equal and relaxed learning environment. The diverse mix of women in the group, from different ages, positions, and industries, helped us each learn new things as leaders and peers.

Kim Woods

Account Director, Powerhouse

This concept of sharing experiences among women is a key theme and Powerhouse is keen to help facilitate this. Understanding your peers’ challenges and having your own concerns validated, respected, and understood can be greatly beneficial in building confidence and learning how to develop yourself. Since completing the course, Kim has been able to put her newfound skills into practice, which has already made a real difference.

In addition to the practical support & training provided, a team of academics are conducting research as part of the project’s legacy and to create a blueprint for the future. Guidance for both women and businesses to create diverse and inclusive workforces, which support businesses to maximise their business performance, engagement, and communication.

Whilst we are supporting women in the here and now, we hope that the impact of our support and training will benefit women in the future and will encourage them to seek leadership positions, feel empowered and be confident in their roles.

Sarah Whittle

Project Coordinator, #WECAN

At Powerhouse, we are committed to continuing our efforts to tackle gender bias and promote gender equality in the creative industry. We believe that by working together and supporting women in creative roles, we can create a more diverse, inclusive, and innovative industry for all.

To find out more about #WECAN visit leedsbeckett.ac.uk/wecan or follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter.