Like many others, I have eagerly been following Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman’s most recent side project: 12 Kinds of Kindness. (…yes #squadgoals!) Now aside from wishing I had come up with such an intelligent project myself, I do believe it has the power to create some change.
The project is a journey of self discovery with many deep insights. Sparking my own interest, a common thread appears through Jessica’s works, particularly Part 7.
Walsh discusses how she has been perceived. Many who idolise her would describe her as an intelligent, successful young women, yet why is it that her success has been overshadowed by peoples’ mis-conception that her success is down to her good looks? This great article discusses it further here
Jealousy plays a big part, but it becomes quite a concerning issue when you see that womens’ instinctive reaction is to tear a fellow hardworking woman down.
My colleagues and I have been discussing this topic and what it means to be a creative woman in design and what role that plays as a student and mentor.
“While we’ve made huge strides in the last few generations, the statistics are still staggering: only 3% of women in the creative industry are creative directors or in leadership positions. It’s the same across all industries: only 5% of CEOs are female. While there are clearly many reasons for this, the fact that we are still focusing on women’s appearances instead of our talents or merits is obviously not helping. If we’re all being sexist—even women ourselves—how can we hope to end these ridiculous, insulting stereotypes?” – Walsh
“Thinking about all this left me with a huge desire to help promote young female talent. To mentor and champion other women’s work as much as I can. I’m often approached to do mentorships or independent studies with young women, but I frequently decline due to a lack of time. But let’s be honest, while it’s easy to use the “busy” card, we all seem to make time for what’s important to us in life. I can’t rely on these issues to change overnight, but what I can do is make an effort myself.” – Walsh Ladies, Wine & a bit of Design
Now how does this effect us in AUS? AGDA & Billy Blue are hosting ANOMALY X JESSICA WALSH in Melbourne this weekend, conducting workshops and talks that a group from the studio will be attending. The series’ focus is to bring hidden female design influencers into the spotlight.
Male designers dominate the public face of design, holding most of the public speaking positions at conferences held in Australia. 74% of male speakers presented at conference stages in 2015. These statistics are a warped perception of the design industry and can often leave students feeling like they have no female mentors.
Anomaly is tackling this issue, use the hashtag #anomaly2016 to help collate a list of Australian female designers that you’d like to see on stage and contributing to the discussion surrounding diversity in design.*
It’s not uncommon for studios to claim that they strive for change, and design for the greater good. It can be easy to claim and harder to achieve. Walsh has used her personal brand (and widely viewed platform) to start the conversation about women in design and challenge how we create change in how we are perceived. Banding together to make this an international concept would provide so much scope for female mentors around the world to create some positive change within the female creative community.
*Statistics collated from 12 Kinds of Kindness, AGDA and Billy blue promotional material.