+$When trying to understand gender inequality in the workplace, it’s very easy to blame one thing. “We need to move on from ‘women are leaving to have babies’,” says Nat Maher, CEO ofPollitt&Partners集体的创始人削缝..“首先，70%的毕业生是女性，而11%的创意总监是女性，所以没有足够的婴儿来解释这一点。”
+$“Unlike many sectors, creative careers are subject to how well you network or achieve within the – very biased – system,” explains Ali Hanan, creative director and founder of diversity championing organisation创意平等..“这取决于你的账户是什么，如果你有机会推销，如果你的作品被授予奖项，如果你得到了正确的培训，你是否得到了与你的男性同事相同的反馈，如果你的投资组合得到了平等发展的机会-你不只是被戴上‘粉红’品牌-等等。”
+$The working hours can also be problematic. “It’s common for people to stay in the office until eight or nine o’clock, or even later, often at short notice,” says Marei Wollersberger, co-founder and futures director of design agency正常..“如果你有其他的责任，这是很难维持的。这是一种文化创造的假设，你没有任何其他事情发生在你的生活。
+$”What most of the statistics don’t tell us, adds Maher, is what’s going on with those who aren’t in full-time employment. What about the part-timers or freelancers? And what about the gender pay gap in smaller businesses that aren’t legally obliged to publish their numbers? “We’re a micro industry. Ninety per cent of our businesses have 10 or fewer people in them,” she says. “That means we don’t have HR departments, most of us are founder owned and led by men.”
+$“We’ve focused on what can we do with women to make their work better and make them more successful in the workplace,” explains Jordan Bambach. “If you’re unsure of something and you feel uncomfortable asking about it at work, you can come to one of our events and find out all about it, and then go back to the office and absolutely smash it.
+$”It’s working, too. “I know so many women who got their first job through SheSays or have grown through the company ranks because of attending a SheSays event and how confident it’s made them,” says Jordan Bambach.
+$Issues of confidence crop up again and again in this debate. “Every conversation that I have around gender balance is about women’s confidence, or lack thereof, and the belief in what they’re capable of,” says Maher. Like SheSays, Maher’s collective Kerning the Gap focuses on practical ways to get more women in leadership in the design industry, including by building confidence. “That’s not to say that every woman should want to or have to be a leader, but on the journey of solving the challenges of why we don’t have more, we’ll make the lives of every woman better in the design industry,” she explains.
+$Kerning the Gap runs events and mentoring across the UK, and one of its core propositions is to involve men in the conversation. “Men are invited to everything, and we have men on our mentoring program,” explains Maher, adding that although men cannot be mentees, they often learn a lot about the difficulties women face through reverse mentoring.Why haven’t these conversations happened previously? “There’s been no language around it, so there’s been no way to talk about it without it feeling like it was an attack,” says Maher. “And now there are so many other opportunities for men to understand the challenges that women experience, they’re developing new empathy and sympathy for it. Our current debate is more ‘what can I do to help?’ as opposed to ‘I don’t see why there’s a problem’.”
为了回应他在大学时所目睹的恶毒的男子汉气概及其对他的心理健康的影响，亚历克斯·埃文斯创立了时尚和设计品牌。花开+$. “The term ‘flower it up’, asks an overly aggressive masculine male to chill out and get in touch with his sensitive or so-called feminine side,” he explains. Flower Up isn’t seeking social change, but it applies the concept of ‘flowering it up’ to challenge gender stereotypes. Through its work withTerra Firma记录它一直能够取笑和“突出明显的男性美学”的场景。“花上”的设计意味着这个标签现在“引起了更多观众的共鸣”-包括更多的女性。
+$Of course, Evans isn’t alone in addressing gender imbalances and disrupting stereotypes through his work. “I don’t think I’ve received a female portfolio this past 12 months that doesn’t touch on gender equality,” says Katie Cadwallader, designer at柔软工作室。萨拉安德烈森和琥珀维多利亚只是描绘女性气质和女性风貌的许多插画家中的两位，而插画家，如天菊段提供了不同的观点来看待成为男性意味着什么。
+$If we are to achieve gender parity in the design industry, then we need to make changes in our structures, and for many, that means studios and their cultures. While working long hours is often seen as part and parcel of agency life, Wollersberger believes that such expectations often affect women disproportionately. “In our society, women tend to be given the added responsibilities – looking after ailing parents, or children, and running the life admin stuff – so this culture tends to impact them more,” she explains. “Also, women are less considered for roles because of the belief that these jobs require longer working hours, and there’s an assumption that they’re not up to it.”
+$To combat this, everyone at London agency Normally works four days instead of five. “There is no emailing, no excuses and no exceptions in terms of saying, ‘this week we’ll work five days’,” explains Wollersberger. “We started the four-day week because we saw a lot of waste in what we did – producing work that wasn’t necessary, being there when our presence wasn’t required, and we thought that presence took away our reflection time and made us unproductive.”
+$Does it work? According to Wollersberger, the studio has seen huge positives in terms of the quality of its work, and the team have all seen benefits in their home lives. “We also have an extremely low churn rate – very few people leave. This is often a gender-related thing, because companies usually find it hard to recruit and maintain women in their teams,” she says.
+$Normally has also taken steps to eliminate its gender pay gap. “Before, we had a traditional process based on past salaries. But we realised there was a big difference in terms of what people were asking for – the difference mainly being that women and introverts were asking for a lot less,” she recalls. Recognising that the management team was biased, Normally developed an algorithm to calculate salaries, which takes into account experience and nothing else. “It’s been brilliant,” enthuses Wollersberger. “It’s totally transparent and has blown away the sense of people being treated unfairly.”
+$According to Wollersberger, making changes such as the four-day week and the salary calculator algorithm are “good first steps” to addressing the bias towards male culture in design. “This is a systematic bias rather than one reflecting people’s own beliefs,” she points out, “so we need to be as creative with our response as we are in our work projects. Be resourceful, think about how we can design the way we work.”
+$You also need to be careful, says Maher, that by looking after parents, you’re not expecting more of those who don’t have children. “Just because those without children can work until eight o’clock in the evening, doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable for them to do that,” she warns.
+$For Jordan Bambach, it’s about levelling the playing field. “There needs to be equality in terms of allowing people backup,” she says. “Whether it’s paternity leave, or having equal parental leave, and equal pay – these things are so important because they get rid of this idea that childcare is a woman’s problem.”
+$When Jordan Bambach came back to work after having her son, she found that the industry had changed: after just nine months, the ad format terminology was different. “People were talking about these things, and I had no idea what they were, and I was too embarrassed to ask ’cos I was the boss and I should know,” she recalls. “And that experience was uncomfortable.”
+$Like notions of gender itself, inequality in the industry is complex and often multi-layered. To help studios navigate these layers, Creative Equals launched the Creative, Digital and Media Equality Standards – recognised kitemarks that give companies a diversity and inclusion review, rating and action plan. “The standards look at all aspects of diversity – gender, race, LGBTQI, education, faith, age, disability, neurodiversity – and examine company policies and practices, top to bottom, in and out,” explains Hanan.“
+$The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” she adds. “However, the Equality Standard is hard to gain – and most companies fail the first time. Becoming an accredited company takes courage, time and commitment. So the Gold standard shows you deserve it.”
作为Rosh Govindaraj的创始人和首席设计师伊萨拉+$bags, points out, inclusivity is beneficial not just for the people in the industry, but for the work created too. “Representation is important, and we need a balance of gender, age, ethnicity, and other factors – not just for ‘fairness’ but to ensure that we design solutions that will meet the needs of all kinds of people,” she says.
+$“Fifty-fifty isn’t the goal and gender inequality isn’t the only important thing,” she continues. “I think the goal should be to design with inclusivity in mind – try to think from the mindset of all those different people who might be interested in using your products and come up with solutions that will improve their experience.” Cadwallader agrees. “The more eyes and the more points of view the better, so the more diverse and differing the characters in the studio, the stronger our output will be.”
+$And what about those who don’t fit into stereotypical categories of gender? “If I think about what things were like when I was in my 20s, the conversation has moved on phenomenally, and that’s great,” says Jordan Bambach. In terms of what that means for design, Jordan Bambach believes it’s about people feeling safe and supported. “People should be allowed to be their authentic selves at work,” she says. “That’s super-important, whatever gender you are, whatever sexuality you are, whatever religion you are, you need to feel safe to be yourself at work.”
+$Being an inclusive workplace is also good for business. “There’s a huge amount of research showing that more inclusive boards perform better financially, more inclusive creative teams have better ideas, and create more inclusive design,” explains Jordan Bambach. “It’s an inequality issue, but it’s also business issue. I think the more that’s taken on, the quicker things will change.”
+$How likely are we to see real change in the industry? “We’re going in the right direction,” sums up Jordan Bambach, “but it’s not going to happen fast enough unless everyone takes responsibility… It’s not a women’s problem that women should be solving, it’s a cultural problem that culture should be solving.”