3% Key Takeaways

For the past seven years, the 3 Percent Movement has been holding its conference with a mission to shake up the Creative industry, starting with shifting the gender ratio. In that time, the percentage of women in Creative Roles has increased to 11% and has been slowly climbing every year. With the help of this conference, companies all over are reinventing how they hire, promote, and grow their staff.

This year’s theme was ‘Bring It,’ which made for a theme of empowerment that was woven into each of the discussions. I left feeling empowered, while also reflecting on these key things: Inclusion, Privilege, and the Creative Work Environment.

Along with shaking up the gender ratio, so much of this movement is about diversity and inclusion – the importance of representing your audience. This movement started with increasing the representation of women in the industry, but we learned that it’s equally important to include LGBTQ, disabled, and diverse ethnicities in this effort. When recruiting, don’t hire yourself. When sourcing stock images, remember that 2/3 of the U.S. population is non-Caucasian. Prioritizing diversity and inclusion is good for business. It creates a new marketing segment, improves internal culture of those who are making it happen, and makes you a better partner by elevating these ideas to your client.

One of my favorite lines came from Co-Founder of TONL, Joshua Kissi: “If you’re not spending your privilege, someone else is going into debt on their lack of it.” It’s important to remember that it’s not the burden of the oppressed to change the system – it’s the responsibility of those who have made it. Holding the door for someone who has been historically shut out is something that we can and, most importantly, need to make an effort do more.

In addition to reinventing the faces of this industry, the conference also touched on the reinvention of the creative space. In a field where the majority of us are paid for our imagination, it’s ironic that we have none when it comes to this area. For many, the open floor plan is simply not conducive to the creative process. The creative process is often ugly, emotional, and full of pain. Because of that, it would make more sense for creatives to have privacy with our work in order for us to ideate well. We still have fun and find joy in our work, but most often, it’s in the fulfillment we get out of the finished product. Creatives don’t need ping pong tables, we need secluded nooks filled with art books.

I think one of the biggest misnomers of this conference is that it is a conference for women. As much as I was inspired and influenced by everything I heard, I kept wishing there were more men to hear what I was hearing. There was about 14% in attendance who identified as male and I don’t see why that can’t be 50%. Gender equality is not just a women’s issue – it’s a human issue.