New Zealand women in the design industry (1999)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineFeminist Studies
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The aim of this research project has been to interview women working in and around the design industry. From the transcribed material I have explored and analysed their experiences and perceptions, in order to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a New Zealand woman in the design industry. Of particular interest to me in the analysis, is the notion of 'difference' or gender difference. I heard repeated statements that 'gender is irrelevant', yet nearly all the women I have spoken to have been able to identify aspects of the design process and of the design industry that they have experienced differently because they are female. In this thesis I have explored the nature of this ' gender-difference'; I have examined where it exists within discourses of design and how it affects women's public and private live s. Through a poststructuralist analysis I have considered how this notion of 'difference' is articulated by New Zealand women in design; and what it means to resist or affirm gender difference in relation to a feminist ontology or way of being in the world. Finally, I have considered what the design industry is like as a workplace for female employees. This is based on my understanding of gender difference in design as perceived and experienced by the women I talked to. I have discovered that there are gender differences in design, but there are differences within these differences. I believe women working in the design industry reject claims of gender difference yet articulate difference. For women in the design industry, their ontology, or 'way of being in the world' is complex and made up of a weave of differences, that is, in their articulations of the design industry they describe many differences between men and women, between women, and even within their own experiences.
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