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Creative Freelancers
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DJs, photographers, and designers suffering gender pay gap

A new report reveals a major pay gap between female and male freelancers working in creative industries

A revealing report on the gender pay gap has exposed the drastic inequality in freelancers’ wages.

HoneyBook – a company that positions itself as a business and financial management platform for freelancers and ‘solopreneurs’ – published its second study into gender-based pay gaps on December 5, following its first major study in 2017. After discovering that female creatives are earning 32 per cent less in its initial report, the company decided to repeat the research across two years to track whether there has been any improvement to the issue within the creative industries. By ‘creative industries’, it means jobs from graphic design to photography, marketing, web design, and music, surveying data from thousands of freelancers across the US and Canada.

The 2019 report details that, despite the annual pay gap gradually narrowing, freelancers that are women are still earning much less than the male industry professionals. The pay gap has dropped significantly to 11 per cent, however, this phenomenon has been caused by women working more than men in order to make up for an unequal pay. The data collected during HoneyBook’s study suggests that women have managed to decrease the pay gap only by completing 17 per cent more projects than men.

Women’s struggle to do well financially as freelancers proves to be an almost Sisyphean task. Even though female freelancers are more efficient in their work, they are being paid 35 per cent less for a project. Female DJ and musicians earn 38 cents to the male dollar, photographers that identify themselves as women earn 65 cents to the male dollar, while graphic designers earn 86 cents to the male dollar.

This data is even more shocking considering that women working as freelancers are more educated than their male counterparts. 71 per cent of female creatives have a BA or graduate degree while only 51 per cent of men working in creative fields on a freelance basis have managed that. 

However, gender pay gap is not the only issue facing female creatives. According to a UK-focused study by and InChorus, harrasment and bias are still urgent problems for women working in music industry.