uncovering gender bias at design conferences

For my recent in-class presentation, I explored an in-depth study done by AIGA’s eye on design published in January 2019, reflecting on the recent history of Gender Inclusion at major design conferences and conventions. This study is important because it highlights the lack of diversity on the basis of gender even at the most ‘progressive’ of events. 

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This particular 2018 convention had only 34% of it’s speakers female, who dominated the stage a shockingly low 22% of the entire conference.  “Brno Biennial’s talk series promises “leading graphic design professionals”—so the fact that it chose to profile only 34.8% women suggests the industry’s “leaders” are predominantly men.”

This particular 2018 convention had only 34% of it’s speakers female, who dominated the stage a shockingly low 22% of the entire conference.

“Brno Biennial’s talk series promises “leading graphic design professionals”—so the fact that it chose to profile only 34.8% women suggests the industry’s “leaders” are predominantly men.”

Next we have the CXI Brand and Indentity conference in Germany, with a sad total of ZERO female presenters. The design world took notice of this glaring lack of representation at these two conferences; between the most experimental conference in Europe and the most corporate one, where are women supposed to fit? This all ties into the studies we have looked at where women simply aren’t represented at all, making the default for all our universal systems male.

Next we have the CXI Brand and Indentity conference in Germany, with a sad total of ZERO female presenters. The design world took notice of this glaring lack of representation at these two conferences; between the most experimental conference in Europe and the most corporate one, where are women supposed to fit? This all ties into the studies we have looked at where women simply aren’t represented at all, making the default for all our universal systems male.

A team of women from various design fields and parts of the world got together to research and better understand this topic, to help others know which conferences ARE trying to change the representation of gender in design, and how those that are not can do better. The team included Madeleine Morley, an editor at AIGA eye on design, and the women of notamuse, a German platform that profiles women in contemporary graphic design.

A team of women from various design fields and parts of the world got together to research and better understand this topic, to help others know which conferences ARE trying to change the representation of gender in design, and how those that are not can do better. The team included Madeleine Morley, an editor at AIGA eye on design, and the women of notamuse, a German platform that profiles women in contemporary graphic design.

three points of research:

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In their research, they defined ‘woman’ as anyone who identifies as a woman, which was trans-inclusive research. They worked with the data they had availble, which as previously stated, was less than extraordinary. Also not included in the research (per say), but definitely noticable, was the lack of respresention of any other minority as well (POC, LGBTQ, physical ability, socio-economic status). 

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There are a lot of solutions pulled from this data that the researchers have offered as advice. These are things that (obviously) organizers need to be aware of, but also attendees of these events, so they can know what sort of information they’ll be given.

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