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WhyDesign 2024
  • Branding

Gender Disparity & Sustainability in Irish Design

March 20th, 2024

Gender Disparity and Sustainability in Irish Design – WhyDesign 2024


Every year our studio (composed of almost all women) attends WhyDesign. The room was full of creative people from all walks of the design industry in Dublin and Ireland. An annual event held around International Women’s Day, WhyDesign works to address the gender disparity in Irish Design and this year’s theme focused on sustainability in design. This extended to sustained efforts across social, environmental and economical design and we had some key thoughts and takeaways we wanted to share with you.

As a brand, design and digital agency, we are deeply committed to driving change within our industry. We recognise the importance of fostering an environment where talent knows no gender. Where diverse voices are not just heard but celebrated.

Why Design


In Ireland, where creativity thrives in its rich cultural tapestry, Dublin’s design scene is as diverse as its people, yet it’s not without its challenges. The statistics presented at the event were eye-opening, although not surprising. In Ireland, only 22% of designers are women, marking the lowest percentage across the European Union. A mere 21% of women hold management positions in design. However, the tide is shifting in education, with 63% of design students being women, often outperforming their male counterparts. Despite this, a stubborn 12.8% pay gap persists.



It is these circumstances that drive the IDI to host WhyDesign every year.
It is this disparity that we live and work in that prompts the elevation of voices for change.


Mary Doherty - IDI - Why Design 2024



Amongst them, Mary Doherty’s words resonated with each of us. She emphasised the importance of hiring based on talent, not gender, and allowing your talent the autonomy to excel. Equality, she stressed, extends beyond gender, encompassing diversity of all forms, so we must widen our scope for intersectionality in the Irish design space. 






Isobel & Ivona - Why Design 2024



Isabel and Ivona (I&I) echoed Mary’s sentiments, highlighting the challenges they have faced as female designers in the advertising world. Their frustration at being expected to conform to others’ expectations and to “think outside the box, but only the box I’m familiar with” seeped through their presentation. Urging for more diverse perspectives in the industry, they spoke positively about the many talented men in the industry. However, they shone a light on the intimidation that can be felt entering a room full of them.




Joyce - IDI Why Design



David Joyce from Language Studio focused on the concept of sustaining and ability as sustainability. Speaking about the need for sustainability, not only in design and development practices but also in nurturing creativity and fostering collaboration. His commitment to mentorship and encouraging others to find their voice reflects a shared ethos of lifting as we climb. He splits his time across multiple educational avenues to do this.





Rion Hannora - Why Design




Ríon Hannora’s perspective brought something new, and often overlooked to the event. Exploring fashion as a vehicle for expression and empowerment. She celebrated a diversity of personalities and experiences, advocating for a more inclusive approach to design. Her emphasis on slow fashion and the storytelling aspect of garments reminded us of the profound impact design can have beyond the visuals.





Moving Forward Together

To our fellow designers and industry peers, let’s challenge the status quo and create a future where everyone has a seat at the table. Together, we can build a more inclusive, equitable, and vibrant design community—one where talent, not gender, defines success.

Together, we can design a better world.