I've only become involved in the forum in the past month or so - but having been in a relationship with a designer who has been actively involved with AIF for nearly ten years, I've become very familiar with a lot of the users. I've actually been reading the forum since about late 2004, so I'm actually pretty familiar with some of the more vocal members (you know who you are).
I think it's interesting that in the past five years, that I've only seen a handful of women who have actively been participating in and using the forum.
I'm keen to see how many women are using the new forum and what their thoughts are in being involved in discussing a variety of issues. I know as a former teacher that when it came to teaching in a mixed gender class, the girls would tend to let the boys talk and were happy to remain silent. Researchers are still trying to figure out why this happens in technical educational settings.
Who are the women out there? Let us know who you are and what are your thoughts on women in the design industry?
I am not a designer myself. I taught design and IT at high school for several years and in that industry (Education), women tend to outweigh men. Now that I work in the fashion industry, there seems to be a pretty even split. When it comes to design, it seems to still be a bit of a boys club. Is this true? What are women's thoughts on this? If it still is a bit of a boys club, what can be done to encourage women to become more involved in the forum?
Yeah same as Luke - I remember there was only about 7 guys and about 40 girls at the end of my degree. In the last 12 years professionally I have only worked alongside 3 female designers - the rest of the time it has been a sausage fest. Could come down to the companies I worked for (mainly digital) but who knows...
A lot of the girls I went to uni with either went into publishing, education, project management or account services. Many of them changed careers all together.
In terms of girls not using the forum... well, this is just my opinion - but I'd say a lot of the guys on here come across as quite aggressive - I'd say that is your #1 motivator for people not wanting to be involved, male or female. Mind you, thankfully, this has changed a lot of late. A much more positive place on the old forums.
It's evenly split where I study at the moment, though there was a studio I did some work experience at where the whole studio were made up of females. Felt awkward that I was the only male. I did ask why was this and they simply answered it just happened that those who were fit for the job happened to be female.
I love the forums. Being a mix of mostly guys with a few girls I don't mind so much. It's all good conversation at the end of the day, so long as I can get along with some of you! :D I was on the previous forum but not nearly as active, maybe it was just place and timing with the revamp of everything and me finally attaching myself to this place. Whether is as aistrope said- that because he feels it's less aggressive and more positive I don't know.
In my class there are about 14 of us and 6 of us are girls, but there are two separate GD classes at uni so how many girls are in the other class I don't know.
As the founder of of Nest Collective (an online community to promote and inspire female designers - currently on hiatus) I have found that women are less interested in stroking their egos on forums and more interested in actually doing the work.
It's because of this fact that there will always be gender imbalance that often dissuades the small number of women who may possibly be interested in posting of forums against doing so, due to the sausage-fest.
Speaking generally (always a dangerous thing to do) I know a lot of guys who are obsessive compulsive about their hobbies, toys, cars, gaming, drugs etc (in fact every guy) but I don't know too many girls who obsess i quite the same way.
The last time I got into a gender debate what I said was taken the wrong way and I was flamed in front of hundreds of people (SEMI) but I'm with Gidget on this one. There's sometimes more important things to do in life (like living for example) than to whore yourself in search for fame/respect/self-justification.