The question of diversity, regardless of gender or race, is one that can be addressed through leading by example. Yet, recent reports on diversity within the industry, show that the statistics still are not good. For example, the UK’s design workforce is mostly male (78%), which is a higher figure than for the wider UK workforce which is 53% male. The pandemic and subsequent home working or home schooling enforcements will have impacted these figures as it was catastrophic for mothers and indeed for any carer within the household (though women make up the majority of carers).
We need role models to inspire and educate. Yet frustrating accounts about unsafe and unsupportive work environments for women, lack of childcare provision and pay disparity still persist. While the obvious solutions are directly related to these needs, there is also the need for women to be more collaborative and supportive of each other. Women designers are one another’s most powerful assets.
Where women have always succeeded is in positions or roles in which there are no gatekeepers, where they have been able to write and effect their own career programme. Designers such as Neri Oxman, Daisy Alexander Ginsberg, Christien Meindertsma, Julia Lohmann are just a handful of wonderful role models informing the next generation. Racial imbalance is a whole other concern for the design community and one that is being addressed through great initiatives such as “Where Are All the Black Designers”.