DS 93: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2018), Dyson School of Engineering, Imperial College, London. 6th - 7th September 2018

Year: 2018
Author: Walters, Kellie Kay
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Iowa State University, United States of America
Section: Gender Effects in Design and Engineering Education


The field of industrial design is heavily male dominated, with only 19% female representation in professional practice; meanwhile, academic programmes are reaching equal numbers of men and women. Compared to other fields with a large disparity between male and female participants (such as architecture and engineering), there is little research or discussion in our field. This gap between academics and professional practice deserves further inquiry. This paper proposes ways to pinpoint more gender inclusivity and equity in further advancement of educational practice. Trends in gendered communication contribute to the ascension of male versus female communicators and are detrimental to industrial design pedagogy as they translate to how these students will work in professional studios. This is incremental to assessing and revising how communication and collaboration is taught within industrial design academics in order for there to be greater gender diversity as graduates enter into industry. To generate discourse on communication styles validated in industrial design education settings, this paper presents an ethnographic, partial participant observation of a mixed year industrial design module to assess and describe what specific communication practices could lead to gendered success within our field. We analyzed gendered non-verbal communication and its resultant effect in power and success for different genders.

Keywords: Hegemonic masculinity, women in industrial design, diversity in design


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