It’s International Women’s Day, and tonight in Dublin the Institute of Designers in Ireland will launch a gender equality initiative called Why Design. IDI President Kim Mackenzie-Doyle is our guest on today’s podcast.

Click on the player below to play the podcast, or download it here: 11:23; 7MB; MP3.

Why Design aims to encourage women to study and pursue careers in design, for the industry’s sake as much as for their own. Kim cites research by Sodexo CEO Michael Landel, in conjunction with McKinsey & Company, which proves that gender balanced teams perform better than teams which are dominated either by men or women. Kim describes the research as groundbreaking, all the more so because it comes from private enterprise.

“It really makes a difference to every company’s bottom line, and I think, especially when you are talking to decision makers, that’s what will make change, when it has a financial impact.

While women make up 46% of the workforce, the design sector is only 25% female, across all the design disciplines. Kim acknowledges that women are better represented in some fields than in others.

“When you get to more technical disciplines like product design, it’s only 5% women, and then in architecture, depending which study you read, it’s 17 – 18%, and then in graphic design disciplines it’s much more balanced, and then in fashion you actually have a more female bias.”

The aim is to strive for a balance across all disciplines, and the first task is to encourage young women to enter the design industry. Why Design is a showcase for Irish female design talent, introducing role models for Irish women in the design industry, and highlighting the opportunities for study at institutions around the country.

For more information, visit The platform will be launched tonight at The Greenway Iconic Offices in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

This is the third in a series of podcasts and blog posts by Blacknight on the subject of women in technology and entrepreneurship. The series is brought to you by .CO, the top-level domain for entrepreneurs and startups. Visit BeCourageous.CO to find out more about the .CO Membership Program. Members enjoy access to industry events and networking functions, and get access to special deals, as well as having the opportunity to promote themselves to the .CO community.

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