7 Essential Tips for Female Designers


Not many people know this but women pioneered computer science. Women are the forefathers of computer programming. But sadly, we don’t see many women in the industry anymore and the whole computer and IT scenario have become pretty much male dominated. Today we decided to make our contribution to help women survive… thrive in design industry.

This article contains some of the ground work tips that can help any woman enter this industry, succeed and grow further.

You must be wondering what makes me eligible to write such an article. Apart from being son, husband and brother of women, I also happen to have worked with lots women. I’ve worked as an equal and as a senior/boss. For last ten years, I’ve made my best efforts to understand their needs and expectations from this industry. Years of experience has taught me a lot, but that’s not what makes me eligible. You see, only a woman can be eligible to define a female worker’s needs. I’ll be doing something else.

Being a man, I can see things from a perspective a woman cannot. My target is not to define a woman’s needs in this industry, my target is to enable women to conquer this industry once again. Belonging from the dominating gender in this industry, I feel I’m better equipped to give out some tips, and that’s why I’m writing this article.

Importance of Women in IT and Design Industry

Before I start with my tips, I want to motivate you (assuming you are one of our female readers) by describing some of the achievements of the brilliant female programmers and designers.

You must already know about Ada Lovelace, known as the countess of Lovelace. She is the inventor of computer programming. She was the one who wrote world’s first algorithm believing that computers can do anything that can be noted logically. She was 100% right.

Did you know: Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron. Her mother, Lady Byron hated poetry so she made extra effort that her daughter acquires scientific education.

Ada designed the algorithm which later made electronic computers possible. Probably that’s the reason Walter Isaacson gave her top position on his book cover.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

ENIAC was programmed by a nearly all-female team of programmers. Here’s a photo:

ENIAC Being Progarmmed

After 40’s however, things were not all that bright and shiny for women of computing and IT related professions. Let me give you an example. You have seen the Nike logo, right? Do you know who designed it? It was designed by Carolyn Davidson. She was paid $35 for it.

In 1970’s, 80’s 90’s and even in 2000’s, women lost interest in computer sciences for some odd reason.

A study by Stanford University shows that even though the number of women completing their bachelors is much higher than men completing their bachelors, yet women don’t choose a major within computer science spectrum.

women in overall bachelor programs

In the 1990s, more than women started to pay more attention to bachelor degrees then men.

female computer science bachelors

Yet, women just weren’t interested anything related to computer sciences.

Women are not interested in computer sciences

A recent study shows that women are still trying to stay away from computer sciences.

Why did they lose interest? There’s only guesswork for that. Some say it’s because internet is too vulgar women. Some say it’s because there is just too much study required even after you graduate but since women have loads of other responsibilities, they don’t wanna embark on a career where they will not be able to give time to their family and children. All this guesswork does make sense but if women become doctors, there is also a lot of study involved there. That work is also pretty hectic, if women can pull that off, what’s wrong with computer? And about obscenity and vulgarity on internet… well, isn’t that just everywhere, internet is not the only thing with that.

So, let’s get back to the our point. When men didn’t see women coming into this industry, they derived horribly wrong perception from this fact. They believed women are avoiding it because they just cannot do this thing.

To counter this attitude, several organizations were formed during 90’s and early 2000’s. Women Designers Group and Women Coding Collective are a couple of organizations for women of our industry.

In a nutshell

  • Ada Lovelace invented programming. Yes, the very thing was invented by a woman.
  • Women programmed ENIAC.
  • Since 1970’s, women have just lost interest in computer sciences.

Money Matters

You must be thinking that if women are not interested in this industry, why am I writing this article? What’s the point… the point is that women should join this industry.

Our industry, designing and development industry especially demand of women. I can say this because they are natural artists and they get paid more than men in programming. You don’t believe me, do you?

Female artists

Game Breaker TV finds that there are paid less amount of money compared to men.

Female programmers make more money than men

But they also found out that programming women make more money than men.

So ladies, what I’m saying is that in this industry, you can actually make more than men. But only if you know how to do it right. And that’s why I’m writing this article.

Tips for Female Designers, Programmers and Freelancers

Now let’s get to what this article is actually about. The tips dominating this male-dominated industry.

Know your stuff

One sad thing about a man’s mind is that it makes stereotypes. Women have been stereotyped as the non-professional sex. So if a man makes a mistake, it’s just a mistake but if a woman makes a mistake… it’s because she’s a woman. I’m sure you are finding this sentence rudely explicit but I want to be straightforward.

Your only way out of this is that you know your stuff. You need to be excellent in your job so that you make lesser mistakes, you would know more than anyone else on the job and you will be in-charge in every situation.

If you are one of the most prized employees, your gender, looks and everything else will be over shadowed by your talent and skill.

Cliff Notes

  • Stupid men have made stupid stereotypes about intelligent women. Be prepared to face them and shoot them down.
  • The only way to shoot down a stereotype is through performance and knowledge. Know your stuff.
  • Once you achieve the status of a great talent, your gender, age, religion… all credentials become irrelevant.

Be the problem solver

I personally feel women are much better at handling problems than men are. So whether you are recruited by some design agency or you have your own business, make sure that you are the problem solver of the group. Make sure you are the leader, not just a boss.

If you ever look panicked or frightened, people will immediately attach the feeling with your gender. If there’s a problem, be calm, be stable, and be exemplary. You can do that!

Cliff Notes

  • Keep yourself prepared mentally because things can, and will go wrong.
  • When it goes wrong, be the first one to propose a solution.
  • Women are good handling problems, but they usually don’t wanna take bull by its horns.  Make sure you do.

Never try to take advantage of being a woman

This is a real fault. Women want equal treatment but they often resort to their gender and try to appeal to man’s chivalry whenever they need a favor. That’s just something they often do subconsciously. You must not do this. Your boss needs to get the work done. If you want a favor, ask as a professional employee. Never sound as if you need to be treated especially because you are a woman.

Mind you, this equality attitude must not go over board as well. If you want the printer moved, and it is heavy, let a man do it. If you decide to do it because you are strong and independent and so on, you are just being stubborn and stupid.

Cliff Notes

  • Never try to take a leave or get a favor from your boss/colleague for being a woman.
  • Stay strong, independent and believe that you should be treated equally. Not better, not worse, just equally.
  • Believe in equality but men are built for carrying heavy things. Let them do those tasks.

Dressing for the job

Dressing is very important when it comes to women. Women are gorgeous and men are well aware of that fact. Your beauty can work for you and against you.

If you like to dress to kill, stop that. You don’t wanna kill a colleague. That will just disrupt the work environment. If you are a tom boy, well, try to dress professional.

And one critical point: wear heels. They make you look tall. They make your colleagues (especially) look up to you. You can get a psychological advantage with being tall.

Cliff Notes

  • Women are gorgeous. It’s simple as that. Make sure you don’t try to look too stunning because that can work against you. Your interviewer/boss may find it a distraction. He/she may think that your male colleagues will be off-footed with you around.
  • Wearing heels is a good idea because being tall will give you a psychological advantage over your colleagues.

Be ready

For flirtation, for partiality, for A-holes. But let me tell you something, even men have to face a lot. They just don’t face the exact same kind of prejudice you do. Don’t think you are facing something more than men. You are just facing trouble like every other single human being on the planet faces.

You are a woman and you will NOT be treated exactly like men, that’s because you are not men, you are a woman. You will be treated differently and you should be ready for it.

Some people will be extra nice to you. Some people will flirt with you. And some can think that you do not belong here. Your job is to be ready for it and tackle it gently.

Cliff Notes

  • Women think men have it easy. No, we don’t. No one does. We just realize the fact that nature’s gonna through at us. So make sure you are also ready for that.
  • You will not be treated exactly like the men, because you’re not men. You will be shown a little extra courtesy, someone may hold the door for you and so on… just say thank you and move on.
  • Accept and embrace the fact that you are a women and you will be treated slightly differently from men. Just dance along.

Be kind

Men expect women to be kinder than men. It’s obvious isn’t it? In most cases, our moms are kinder than our dads, our sisters are kinder than our brothers and so on. You should also be kind.

You should be kind not only because it is expected of you but also because it is the right thing to do. I have realized that little deeds of kindness can really go a long long way. I have gained so much with very little acts of kindness. Just smiling when you meet someone, being the first one to say good morning, and such minor things can one day prove to be big.

Cliff Notes

  • People expect kindness and courtesy from women more than men. Try to live up to expectations.
  • Be kind not just because it is expected, but because it is the right way of living.
  • You don’t have to do anything stupendous for being kind, just smiling and greeting can do wonders.

Be yourself

At the end of the day, this is what matters. If you are fighting for a place in a man’s industry, you don’t have to be a man. Be yourself!

Be a woman and have your individual identity also. Don’t try to be someone you idealize, rather create your identity. You are your brand and your product, and you have to sell it. Define your USP.

You only be great if you know who you are, you embrace it and you convert your weaknesses into powers.

Cliff Notes

  • This is a male dominated industry, but you don’t have to become a man to make your place. Keep your feminine side embraced.
  • Never try to just copy someone. Make your own place, make your own identity.
  • Discover your passion, find a goal, make your mission achieving it.

Related Reads

And before I leave you, here are some related posts that I found over the internet while researching for this article.

  1. Women Web Designers Group Interview
  2. Women in Design
  3. Female Web Developers vs Male Web Developers (humor)

create free website wix below post

Further Related Readings

  1. Raluca February 28, 2015 at 7:26 am

    I am a woman in IT, and it can be hard sometimes to face all the men who think that women don’t deserve to be in the IT world, but it’s so empowerful to prove them they’re wrong. Thank you for this amazing article, Ayaz :D.

    1. Ayaz Malik March 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Raluca, You are very welcome. I believe women can do things better then men.

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