If you’re a woman in the world of design, you’ve probably heard about it before: the gender gap in design. There’s a million articles out there, citing traumatic experiences while looking up “famous graphic designers” (so few women!), highlighting the unfair representation of women in design universities (why are we only studying men?), or presenting scarring statistics. You’ve probably come across them before, read and gone away a bit worried, or angry. But, probably, in your everyday life, you don’t think much of it. Maybe, it’s once in a blue moon that you glance around and think “huh, there’s not a lot of women at this meeting.”
Whatever the case may be, the reality is that the gender gap in design is alive and well. If you’re still studying design, this may come as a surprise to you. In art and design courses at universities, there are, in general, more women than men. However, while men progress in the design industry, women seem to leave it behind. The Design Council in the UK found that the design workforce is 78% male, and 22% female. These numbers are even worse in certain areas of design. In the United States, the 3 Percent Movement, recently found that only 11% of creative directors were female.
The question of why this is the case is a hot topic, and one filled with debate. Some cite that design requires long hours and flexibility, which may be incompatible with family life, while others cite that there is simply a glass ceiling that keeps women from advancing to higher positions in the design world. Although pondering the why is an appealing take on the subject, we’d like to take a different focus.
How Can We Fight This?
Women have come together to discuss the divide in fascinating events, they’ve taken the stance of supporting each other and providing adequate resources to ensure they succeed in the field. These efforts are admirable, and have incited considerable discussion regarding the gender gap. But there’s more we can do.
Imagine the change businesses in the world of design could make if they took action to try and help support women in the field. Small actions from these powerful businesses could have considerable impact. And research shows fighting this gender divide could reap great rewards for businesses as well. According to the Global Leadership Forecast,companies with gender diversity, and committed to ensuring there was such a diversity, see much better revenue and results.
At DesignBro, we understand the importance of overcoming this gap. When designers are applying to DesignBro, we ask for their gender (although, we do allow them the option of not answering) in hopes of keeping an eye on the gender gap, and taking action to try and make it equal. We believe our service provides a great option for female designers, since it allows them greater flexibility than other options. So, we’re dedicated to doing what we can to ensure this problem is addressed, and solutions are considered.
And, the first step? We’d love to begin a discussion, with a solution in mind for tackling this issue. Let’s all take on the stance that this can, and should be, changed.
If you have any ideas, contact us here
We’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re reaching out to provide your thoughts on the gender gap, share your experience, or provide an idea as to what we, as a company, can do to address this issue, we’ll take it into account. We look forward to discussing this again in the future, and hope to take your insight under consideration when we do. So, contact us and we’ll get back to you!
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.