Destined to Design? How and why Australian women choose to study industrial design

Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
The International Journal of Art & Design Education, 2016, 35 (2), pp. 213 - 228
Issue Date:
2016
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Despite over three decades of legislation and initiatives designed to tackle the traditional gender divide in the science, technology and design fields, only a quarter of the registered architects in Australia are women. There are no statistics available for other design disciplines, with little known about why women choose design as a career path and who or what influences this decision. This qualitative research addresses this knowledge gap, through semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with 19 Australian women who completed an industrial (product) design degree. Thematic analysis revealed three key themes: childhood aptitude and exposure; significant experiences and people; and design as a serendipitous choice. The findings emphasise the importance of early exposure to design as a potential career choice, highlighting the critical role played by parents, teachers, professionals and social networks.
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