Design in feminine
08 Mar 2021 /

Design in feminine

That the world today is crying out for a feminine approach is something we have been hearing for some time, but during recent months its echo has resounded more than ever. It is no coincidence that, suddenly, initiatives such as “No más Matildas”, series like “Pioneras” or podcasts such as “Deforme Semanal” are appearing together with stories that we were unaware of and which awaken in society a feeling of vexation as we discover that we have been living without role models all this time. Not because they did not exist, but because we have not been introduced to all these female figures that we are in need of.

It is no coincidence, far from it: it is what had to happen.

World Design Capital Valencia 2022 is launching a new section presented by Sara Antolín, Valencian graphic designer and author of the project THIS WAS MADE BY A WOMAN.

Read on to enjoy her letter of introduction:

The fact that industries are led by men is an undesired reality that goes beyond inclusion and gender equality when it affects the wellbeing, health and even physical integrity of half the population. The absence of women in posts of responsibility means solving real problems from a lack of knowledge and a limitation to the free development and free thinking of future generations. And, in the specific case of the design industry, it means advancing, growing and innovating while creating more inequalities since the other half of the population is being neglected.

If good design is responsible for solving problems, we cannot allow ourselves to run the risk of undervaluing the work of professional designers, because if we have models of people designing things and they are all the same, they will tend to design only for those people who fit within their limited range. And that is what has happened over the centuries: the masculine approach has monopolised the history of design and, as a consequence, nowadays we have a world built by and for men, which we have become used to and which, as a consequence, we do not question enough.

Through this section, we will rescue feminine role models to achieve a society with references in which we can see our own reflection. We will tell their stories and how they contributed, through design, to the progress of society. We will explain, for example, that British designer Margaret Calvert created the road sign system we use today. We will talk about references at all levels, international and local, because, in reality, aspirations always begin at home.

63% of the people who form the design industry are women, so in that case, why are only 29% of them industry leaders?

We will also look at the figures. For example, 63% of the people who form the design industry are women, so in that case, why are only 29% of them industry leaders? Where are the rest? We will talk about studies and gender biases that have caused realities that are hard to believe: women are 71% more likely than men to suffer from moderate injuries in a road accident and we have a greater tendency to feel queasy when using virtual reality glasses. It is complicated to understand how we have been able to become systematically ignored.

In this section we will also make a series of recommendations of books, podcasts and series, and we will present all those that we find by chance along the way.

The designer Manolo Bañó said in an interview about design and its potential as a means of development; “We cover very little ground if, as designers, we only look at the first world.”

Therefore, if we make an analogy, we will cover very little ground if we continue to design while not only excluding women but also ignoring their needs.

— Sara Antolín.

We will cover very little ground if we continue to design while not only excluding women but also ignoring their needs.

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