On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote went into effect in the United States. Saturday is the anniversary and Women’s Equality Day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a lot to celebrate.
The agency Mono created the Equal Every Day project, taking some of the negative things that were said about women in the past year and turning them into an empowering piece of art.
“There’s just been so many attacks on women starting from the top all the way to even other women,” Paula Maki, managing director at mono SF, said. “As we talked about it, we felt ourselves getting angrier. Instead of being pissed off or depressed or coming into work sulking, which is what I feel like a lot of people are doing lately, we thought, ‘Why don’t we channel this into something that is inspiring and empowering?'”
Mono encouraged people across the agency, not just creatives, to submit ideas for quotes to use in the piece and ideas that would bring those quotes to life.
One image Maki found particularly striking was a piece designed by Eric Spore. It features a now widely known quote from President Trump.
“While the infamous ‘grab them by the pussy’ has gotten some pop culture notoriety over the past year, how they channeled it with the strike-through, to me, feels so empowering and so fresh, and I love the innuendo of the triangle,” Maki said.
Spore said of the work that “as a writer,” he thinks a lot about “the power of editing.”
“Too often, I want to use all the words possible to make my point when perhaps fewer would be a stronger message for the reader,” he said. “I have struck through the words of the now president and left him with the message he should be sending to women … Instead of this being a statement wherein Donald Trump asserts his privilege, it is one where he gives others the agency to pursue with equality their own ambitions.”
Another artist, Mercedes Evenson, focused on the wage gap. She was inspired by this quote from Janusz Korwin-Mikke: “Women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, smaller, less intelligent, they must earn less, that is all.”
Evenson used pennies to depict the discrepancy in pay between men and women that still exists, creating an equals sign out of the coins.
“The idea that women should make less than men is an antiquated idea that unfortunately is still relevant in 2017,” she said. “Therefore, my artwork depicts an equal sign composed of 24 pennies, representing the disparity in equal pay.”
On Saturday, the agency will give away 100 prints for free. The agency will also be making donations to the nonprofit girlsBEST for each of the prints it gives away. GirlsBEST is a Minnesota-based organization that Mono has partnered with in the past. The nonprofit helps women achieve economic success as they grow into their careers.
“It’s amazing what a strong emotion can do to just make creativity blossom and flourish, especially coming from the most not obvious of places,” Maki said.
You can see all of the artwork online.