WOMEN AND MONEY: OUR FIRST TOWN HALL
"I’m a woman and I make a lot of money." One of the women in the room declared this loud and proud and the hundred or so women around her cheered. As an accomplished illustrator, and Working Not Working member, she should be proud. But sadly, she is in the minority. With women still making 78 cents to the dollar (64 and 56 cents if you're Black or Latina, respectively), this is a statistic that has long been troubling to us. Given that we are a network of the world's best creatives and companies, we are uniquely positioned to contribute to positive change in the industry. And that begins with conversation: raw, unfiltered, and honest.
At the urging of WNW Member Leta Sobierajski, we organized a town hall forum to enable more women to participate. Clearly we hit a nerve: within minutes of posting on Instagram, our event was sold out with a long waitlist to boot. On May 5th, over 100 women, mostly creatives and a few recruiters, packed into a beautiful Bowery loft (found courtesy of our friends at Splacer.) To help guide the conversation, we asked a few women along with Leta to share their stories first: Lotta Nieminen, Agatha Kulaga of Ovenly, Michelle Higa Fox, Dayna Evans of New York Magazine, Rachael Yaeger, Perrin Drumm of AIGA, and Amy Woodside of OKREAL. We kicked off the evening with a toast (with Cinco de Mayo margaritas, of course!) to each other and to the courage it takes to speak up about a subject that can be so uncomfortable.
We were blown away by the generosity with which everyone offered their experiences. Frustrations were voiced but so was advice; from freelance pricing to salary negotiating, how to fundraise to being the only woman in a meeting. Tips and encouragement were passed as freely as the microphone. Any concern about the town hall being too open of a forum was put to rest as each woman encouraged the next to share. Because a diversity of industries were present, there was one consensus: we must host this again.
Thank you to everyone who attended and to our partners at Splacer, Vita Coco, Yes Way Rose, and Taquitoria for helping make this happen. And thank you to Dayna Evans for perfectly capturing the evening in her New York Magazine article, Here's What Happens When Women Talk About Money.
We were proud to welcome the following women to the town hall:
Karina de Alwis
Noemie Le Coz
Ellen Van Dusen
Michelle Higa Fox
Ding Ding Hu
Jacquelyn de Jesu
Isabel Urbina Pena