IWD 2022: inspirational women

In News by Aimee Hawkes

As women working in the creative industry, we see and hear many stories of individuals breaking the bias but, for this year’s International Women’s Day, I wanted to reflect upon the achievements of the women who have particularly inspired Team DRIVE.

Mary Shelley’s story is very personal to Clare, our budding author, who read Frankenstein first at A-level and again as part of her English degree. Mary Shelley was just 18 when she had the idea for Frankenstein - and only 19 when she finished this incredible book - which still has us all talking over 200 years later. Her personal life was scandalous, her writing phenomenal; Clare can read the book time and time again and still spot – or feel – something new from it each time. 

There are many other noteworthy authors that pushed boundaries, from the Brontë Sisters and Beatrix Potter to the late Shirley Hughes. Clare would love to dive into how they also broke the mould, but today there are three further inspirational women we’d like to talk about!

As a keen tennis player from an early age, Anna’s all-time hero is Martina Navratilova, who is still considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, winning 59 Grand Slam titles! She reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times, including for nine consecutive years from 1982 to 1990 and won the title a record nine times. With a career spanning four decades, her famous mantra was “the ball doesn’t know how old I am” – having taken up the game again recently aged 48, Anna is channelling her ‘inner Martina’ and embracing this mantra!

Another woman who defied the barriers of gender is Frida Khalo - Courtney’s choice from the long list of inspirational women we’ve been discussing here at DRIVE. Frida was a Mexican artist who contracted polio as a child, had a near-fatal accident, was in an unfaithful marriage, struggled with infertility and chronic health; but above all, she was a woman who was resilient through it all and became a renowned artist. Her experiences and resilience has inspired Courtney to defy the odds and reach her goals. As Frida said, "at the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can".

If we now look to more recent times, there are examples of strong female leads being asked sexist questions at interviews, their remuneration being far lower than their male co-stars, and their personal lives, choices and style being criticised in such a way as to pit women against each other. These are all topics worth looking into, but there is one story that stood out to me and that involves Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman. 

Creating a film is no easy feat, and neither is creating a human being. During 2016 and early 2017, Gal Gadot decided to hide her pregnancy to ensure she wasn’t treated any differently on set. She even did reshoots while five months pregnant. The sheer determination and ‘badassery’ of Gal Gadot is something I find inspirational and, whilst we at DRIVE may not take part in fight scenes, I’d like to think that each day we are performing with the same level of commitment and passion shown by Wonder Woman.

These trailblazing women are just some of the many inspirational female figures in history, but I believe the traditional stereotypes are continuing to take a long time to overcome. Take the UK Government’s disastrous infographic to push the ‘Stay Home. Save Lives’ message. The graphic depicted women home-schooling children and doing domestic chores, while the only man featured was relaxing on a sofa! This terribly old-fashioned view of gender roles was quickly withdrawn from social media and the government did eventually say the ad “did not reflect its view on women", but whoever signed this off was clearly way out of touch with the changing world around them.

Not only are we a female-led marketing agency, but we are also sisters, daughters and mothers keen to ensure the world continues to adapt and develop for future generations. Speaking of future generations, our Directors, Clare and Anna, are mothers to two boys and two girls respectively. Whilst Anna is teaching her girls to stand up for themselves and not be pushed aside, as their wants are just as important as those of any man, Clare is teaching her boys to respect and include women in all they do. 

It takes a long time to change the world, and our generation may not see equality at its fullest but, one thing is for sure, we need to continue challenging the boundaries, pushing the limits and breaking the bias.