Regional group launched to empower women in design and address industry’s gender gap

November 12, 2018

A national network promoting gender equality in the design industry has launched in the South West to stage activities and events that will empower women and inspire change. 

Kerning the Gap was founded three years ago in London to help support female talent in design and encourage more women to reach leadership positions. 

Since then it has brought women and men together to tackle the gender gap through a variety of activity including panel events, podcasts and mentoring.

The South West group was launched at an event in Bristol staged by city-based innovation and product development consultancy Kinnear Dufort.

As well as staging events, the group will support a mentorship scheme, following the success of a similar project in London. A new regional group is also to be launched in the North West.

Kerning the Gap’s regional groups have been launched against a backdrop of continued gender inequality in the design industry. While women make up 70% of graphic design students, just 11% are working as creative directors – reflecting how women drop off the pay and promotion scale as they progress in their careers.

Research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also recently revealed a significant gender pay gap in the design industry. Female product designers earn £7,000 less per year than men in the field, while female graphic designers earn £4,000 less than their male counterparts. 

Kerning the Gap founder Nat Maher, pictured, who is also CEO of London-based brand consultancy Pollitt & Partners, said the group wanted to build a community in the region to provoke discussion, provide inspiration and, more importantly, turn it into positive action.

“Kerning the Gap is here to support all women in the industry – so being London-centric won’t cut it. The gender gap exists outside of our capital, so it’s only natural that Kerning the Gap does too,” he said.

“Our launch into the South West and North West is just the beginning of an exciting journey. Through our network of determined women from a range of sectors, roles, disciplines and locations we will create change that allows women to grow, encourage one and other on their journey, and provide inspiration to the next generation of leaders.”

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