It’s 2019 and we can no longer deny the advantages of women in design. As more and more women enter previously male-dominated fields like IT, engineering, and design, companies are realizing the advantage of having women in the workforce.
Women are steadily becoming more educated and stepping into roles of power and authority. There’s a long way to go on the equality front, but it’s exciting to see women foraging ahead and taking on new roles at every level of business. While I hope to see an increase in female CEOs and top executives, I am pleased to see the number of women owning businesses, going to school in STEM, and creating a future where equality is real.
What do women bring to the design industry? There are plenty of statistics that show women are a powerful asset in the workplace. Women designers have a lot to offer!
5 Benefits of Women in Design
1. Female Perspective
There are excellent male designers out there. Unfortunately, even the best designer cannot completely put themselves in someone else’s shoes. That’s why it is helpful to have a variety of different contributors, so that different perspectives are taken into account. A female designer and a male designer may face the exact same problem, but have totally different solutions.
This doesn’t mean that male designers purposefully leave out facets of a project that are important to women. They may not have realized those issues at all. That’s why it’s a good thing more women are starting to join the industry.
Female designers allow a new perspective to enter the thought process and can ultimately lead to design being more accessible to everyone. A collaborative effort with a group of diverse individuals can lead to amazing and efficient solutions that one individual or a group of like-minded individuals would have never thought of.
Female perspective isn’t a coy term, it’s an important part of critical design thinking. It is important for the industry to acknowledge that women may have a different perspective, which is valuable and likely sorely lacking in their current lineup.
2. Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity in the workplace isn’t for PR. In fact, the idea that tech startups and Fortune 500 companies hire women simply for diversity and that they aren’t full contributors is flat-out wrong. The reality is that women add much needed diversity to many companies that is proven to bring real benefits to business.
Diversity spurs creativity and innovation in the workforce. A variety of voices means that your business is better suited to provide a robust and inclusive end product. It can also help you recruit and retain talent. Diversity is becoming more and more important to people of all demographics. It is one of the metrics applicants look for in a company. A lack of diversity can drive current employees to look for other work. Diversity is an important factor in how we work and where we want to work.
The diversity effect is true for gender, sexual orientations, race, and ethnicities. Having a diverse mix of people opens up perspectives, introduces new ideas, and creates an environment where innovation can thrive.
3. Communication and Empathetic Management
Women are especially good at building relationships with their peers and reports. They do this through collaboration, Having a woman manager can encourage other people in the group, who might not otherwise participate, engage more actively in discussions and projects. Because women are less likely to focus on competition and generally more comfortable sharing power, other people who might normally feel uncomfortable in groups might be encouraged to share.
Of course, men can be good communicators and empathetic managers as well. And some women can be terrible managers. Let’s not stereotype and entire gender.
However, the social skills that women are typically drawn to and are reinforced in our society include active listening, thorough communication, and compassionate understanding — all qualities that can help managers be effective leaders.
4. Appeal to Women Consumers
Women represent an important part of the market and over $29 trillion in global sales Having female designers means getting an inside look at the pain points and concerns of over half the market. Women represent slightly over half the consumer market in the United States, but they do a disproportionate amount of the purchasing.
Over 90% of household purchases are made by women. That’s not just dish soap and groceries. This includes major purchases like cars, appliances, and power tools. That’s incredible purchasing power!
However, despite the purchasing power of women, many companies are falling flat in their approach. The marketing standby to “shrink it and pink it” that has been popular for decades (anyone remember the disastrous “Della” laptop marketing campaign is still prevalent today. Female consumers are getting fed up with this condescending approach, and there’s an easy solution.
Women in design offer an opportunity to create products that will appeal to women without being slick and artificial. Products made for women, by women, are much more likely to hit the mark as the designer is a test market already.
They are also more likely to suggest products, apps, and websites that women will use that are currently missing from the market. Because men currently lead most startups and tech firms, there is a distinct lack of women-centric products that have the potential to make it big. Case in point: an app to track your period is relatively new.
When designing products, websites, branding, etc, it is crucial to keep the female consumer in mind as she represents such a large percentage of total sales in the United States. The best way to do that is by including female designers in your business.
5. Financial Advantage
It is important to encourage women in the workforce and to lift each other up. But what might convince companies to hire women for web design, development, cybersecurity, and other tech jobs is that it’s statistically proven that businesses that are gender-diverse are 15% more likely to outperform competitors.
Businesses cannot ignore the fact that hiring more women can boost their earnings. There might be several factors that gender-diverse firms outperform including the diversity quotient, representative marketing, or productivity.
Although there is a persistent perception that women talk more at work and therefore don’t contribute as much, that theory has been proven false. If women are chatting, it’s not hurting their overall productivity, which is 10% higher than men’s.
For a variety of reasons, women have proven themselves a valuable asset in tech.
Ultimately, startups and other businesses can’t afford not to hire women. Across the board, women make a difference to the productivity, creativity, and profitability of businesses. So if you don’t care about the success of your business, never hire a woman!
The tech industry needs skilled and/or experienced workers. There are thousands of open jobs, and women are rapidly taking coursework and sharpening their skills to take those positions. There are so many advantages of having women in design, it will be fascinating to see where the field goes next.