on creating a community for women in Design
After years of hackathons, design & tech meetups, and an extremely low number of women in attendance, in addition to seeing very few non developers at these events, something had to be done.
But what exactly?
Late in 2017, Lade Tawak put out a form calling for women who work in Design (graphic designers, visual designers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, content strategists, copywriters etc etc) and women interested in Design.
Early the next year, after conversations with women— at different levels of their careers— who filled the form, we saw that there was a need for a new community. These conversations also revealed expectations the women had for and from the community.
The reasons women wanted the community were:
- most of the tech communities were focused on conversations concerning developers — including the women focused communities
- they wanted a space to not only improve themselves as designers, but as working professionals.
- they wanted a platform to collaborate and connect with other women designers — many are freelancers and those who work full-time mostly have male colleagues.
This birthed the first women focused design community in Nigeria:
- Resources and Career Development: We are creating a space to provide opportunities for interested women to learn and improve both soft skills and design specific skills including UI, UX, Content Strategy, Design Thinking etc. We want to aid career development and help women become leaders in their Design careers. Workshops, masterclasses, mentorship programs and more.
- Community, Connection and Collaboration: We want to create a community of women who collaborate, challenge, inspire, and encourage one another to build professional careers.
- Visibility for [women who] design: We want to use our platform to showcase and promote the work of women in the industry and by extension encourage more people to look into Design opportunities in tech.
What we’re doing
We kicked off SheDesigns in May with a meetup at Paystack with Fari Oluwatoyin who spoke about her journey to becoming a Product Designer. There were 15 women in attendance. The questions asked and the conversations we had in that meetup was further validation for the community.
Since then we’ve created a twitter account, had another meetup, and set up this medium.
Hint: We need YOU!
We’re looking to organize workshops, masterclasses, and design challenges to keep people engaged and achieve our goal of challenging one another to become not only better designers, but better professionals.
If you’re a resource person who would like to host a masterclass or workshop on relevant professional soft skills and design specific skills OR you’re an organization that would like to partner for a design challenge, masterclass, workshop etc, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on twitter.
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All photos by Florence Dairo