Let's talk Kerning The Gap
October 9th saw a much needed conversation about women in design leadership roles and the challenges of inspiring change. To mark the beginning of the South West Chapter of Kerning The Gap and in partnership with Bristol Media, we hosted a thought provoking and empowering panel discussion about equality within the design and creative industry.
Founded by Nat Maher in 2015, Kerning The Gap is a collective of like-minded people who want to see more women in design leadership roles, hear their voices and be inspired to create change.
This lively panel discussion featured Nat Maher herself, our CEO Merle Hall, Chris Thurling (Executive Chair, Armadillo & Chair, Bristol Media), Fiz Yazdi (Managing Director, CXPartners) and Craig Wightman (Chief Design Officer, KD) and involved around 50 attendees from the creative and design world, consisting of junior designers, freelancers and senior leaders, all sharing their experiences and the challenges we face championing equality and striving for change.
The discussion highlighted thoughts on why women are not represented enough in senior design roles. Nat pointed out that 70% of design students are female and only 11% are in creative director roles; this discrepancy cannot simply be explained by all the women having babies!
So what else is going on here?
The panel explored the role conscious and unconscious bias may play in the choices women and men make and the goals that we set ourselves, as well as the barriers and challenges faced in the workplace. We discussed balancing demands beyond the day job, flexible working and shared practical advice on how to deal with sexism or harassment in the workplace. The panel also highlighted the role and importance of developing self confidence and leadership skills if more women are to reach the top of the design profession.
One point was clear, this is a conversation we should be all be having across the design world, regardless of gender.
As Nat said:
Men must be part of the conversation, you are leading some of our businesses.”
Chris Thurling expressed the challenge some men experience in the gender equality conversation by sharing his thought that men need to open themselves up more to understanding the issue…
What I’m particularly interested in is learning. I want to understand more”
KD are committed to helping and enabling Kerning the Gap to roll out in the South West and beyond, so we are reaching out to local design and creative businesses to get everyone involved in the South West Chapter. We plan to role out our Kerning The Gap Mentor Scheme in January 2019, offering support to both genders and with more events planned into 2019, please come and join in the conversation.
In the words of Nat Maher:
This is your battle, not mine, this is for all of us.”
Let’s do this people!