‘SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES?: EXPLORING GENDER IN IRISH PRODUCT DESIGN EDUCATION'
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: McMahon, Muireann; Kiernan, Louise
Institution: School of Design, University of Limerick, Ireland
Section: Ethics and Social Issues in Design Education
Good design is gender neutral, as should be the design process that underpins it. However achieving equality in the design process is difficult as female product/industrial designers1 are underrepresented in both professional and student realms, comprising 20% and 21% respectively  . In order to even the balance we must first understand the potential barriers to access that have led to this gender imbalance; the conditions that might limit progression and how learning and working in male dominated spaces influences and impacts upon female designers as they move through their careers. Through a literature review, a series of expert interviews, conversations, journey mapping and focus groups this research gathered together a variety of diverse, but individual, stories that help build a collective narrative of the current situation in Ireland. Subsequently, through a collaborative co-design process, interventions are recommended that could shape a future where barriers to access in Product/Industrial design are potentially dismantled and gender takes a secondary role to merit, ability and creativity.