Style maven Alice Rawsthorne asks in the New York Times style magazine whether design is still a boy's club and do women face the challenge of prejudice and misperception in the field? Personal experience seems to belie the contention, but that might just be me. What do you all think? Here are some snippets to get you thinking...
Richard Grefe, the association's executive director, says he believes women prefer to work with hand-picked teams in smaller studios for carefully chosen clients. Jongerius's experience of teaching in her native Netherlands supports this.
"To make it to the top, you need to be outspoken, self-confident and entrepreneurial, apart from having design talent," she says. "I have taught many talented young women and tried like hell to push them, but most were too shy, emotional, cautious and lacked self-confidence and ambition."
In other words, women are bedeviled by the same entitlement issues in design as in other professions and, it seems, by similar misperceptions. "When I work with manufacturers and issues arise around construction or mechanical systems, the questioning faces often turn to my male partners," says the furniture designer Rosanne Somerson. "They suggest that I could answer better - I have terrific colleagues - but even then, there are times when my answers are ignored and the question is reiterated to them."
It isn't just men who are guilty of this. "If a prospective client calls Pentagram and doesn't ask for a partner by name, I see them thinking, Why did I get the woman? when I walk in," Scher says. "Even the women do it."
Niti Bhan focuses on offering strategic insight for growth opportunities and revenue generation in the rapidly evolving interstitial space between design and business. Her 15 years of experience include employers such McCann Erickson Worldwide, Hewlett Packard India, The Second City and most recently, the Institute of Design. She is an engineer and an MBA whose most significant achievement in the field of design has been dropping out of two graduate design programs on two continents in two centuries - the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Institute of Design, Chicago. Her areas of interest are business intelligence and trends, business strategy as well as creating a compelling user case for design as force for increasing value.