WhyDesign is working to address the gender imbalance in the design industry across Ireland, by showcasing influential female Irish designers.

We need WhyDesign because:

  • Only 21% of managerial design roles are held by women.
  • The share of women designers has only increased by 2% in the last decade (from 22% in 2011 to 24% in 2021). We peaked in 2019 with 26%.
  • Only 24% of all employed designers in the EU are women - in Ireland only 22.6% of all employed designers are women.
  • Despite the low employment rates, 63% of design students in universities are female and on average, they earn higher grades than their male peers (In the UK in 2022, 54% of female students received top marks while only 37% of male students did).
  • Women represent almost half of all employees in Europe (48%) but only represent 32% of self-employed individuals (free-lancers, company founders etc.)
  • On average, the gender pay gap amongst designers is 12.8%.

Stats from the EUIPO 2023 report on Women in Design.

WhyDesign is:

  • Highlighting Irish female designers that we don't hear enough about.
  • A place to share success stories that inspire female second level students to join creative industries.
  • An answer for parents who ask 'Why Design?'
  • A way to encourage more women to join the Irish design workforce.

A letter from Kim Mackenzie-Doyle, WhyDesign founder and IDI President 2017/2018

Being the first female designer hired in Design Partners, where I began my career nearly 20 years ago, was a huge culture shock. Not only was there an age gap of five plus years between my peers and I, there was a very obvious gender gap. Progressively Design Partners were involved in pitches that needed female lead designers. I experienced first-hand the benefits to the studio culture — as the ratio began to change so too did the tone, for the better.

When the opportunity for IDI Presidency came up my immediate thought was in addressing this imbalance, and so WhyDesign was born. Developed alongside co-chair Claire Dowling, a number of dedicated IDI volunteers, and was supported by progressive partners and sponsors. This is the first initiative for the creative industries of its kind in Ireland.

If you would like to help us continue the development of Why Design and come on board as sponsor/partner or to share your story please contact whydesign@IDI-design.ie


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