Improving gender diversity in the UX industry In this week's #UXchat we discuss gender representation in UX and what can be done to improve diversity

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I’m a firm believer that the user experience thinking can be used to improve every aspect of your life and the UX of gender diversity is at the top of my agenda.

Theres no question that gender has been a big topic through the last year or two; with the American election, the success of Wonder Woman and normalisation of various androgynous celebrities. In relation to work, the conversation has been more around the gender pay gap and more recently that infamous Google memo.

So what a perfect time to ask the world of UX about how they feel about gender in their own field…

The current landscape

Taking a look at the latest survey from UserTesting the landscape looks pretty even; 51% female and 48% male (1% preferred not to say).

That being said, the selection of people asked was quite bias in favour of age 26-45, USA based and more than half were not in a senior role. So whilst the initial results looked promising, it may not be descriptive of the landscape overall.

Let’s take a look at what other UXers see in their daily lives:

Do you feel that women are well-represented in UX? If not, why not?

From my personal experience and the experience of lots of other people on the chat, women are not well represented – especially in senior roles. Also there is massive variation on non-cis women or androgynous genders.

One of the other common themes throughout the chat was that women tended to be in more research based roles and far less technical roles.

The responses to this question generally fit in the above categories but the most interesting response we had was from Tom Adams…

I couldn’t possibly comment 😉

What can we do to improve gender diversity in the workplace?

So many great responses for this question, it was excellent to have such an open conversation – I hope some of these help in your own businesses:

I also think Ian Fenn is raising an important point here around the difference between physical gender, gender stereotypes and identified gender. These are different things and the sooner we stop labelling people and start treating them as individuals, the sooner chats like this won’t be necessary!

Stacy has some awesome points around how men can support women and Tom has some great ideas re: levelling out the playing field to get rid of the ‘reasons’ that are used to explain the lack of hiring women.

Can you name some women in UX you look up to and why? Any events for women you’d recommend?

I’ve added the list of ladies mentioned in the chat below; got any more? Comment away, because…

  • @EChesters – Elizabeth Chesters is a UX consultant whose specialities include inclusive design and accessibility
  • @lovegooddigital – Jessica Lovegood is a UX designer/developer, speaker and empathy advocate
  • @alex_andr_a – Aleksandra Melnikova is the experience design director at Radley Yeldar
  • @intrepidleeloo – Lisa Angela is a senior UXer at RevUnit
  • @sarahdoody – Sarah Doody is a UX designer and founder of The UX Notebook

As for events for women that you should try and attend…

Thanks so much for everyone who took part in #UXchat this week. Please follow us and tune into Twitter every Thursday at 4pm for more insightful UX based discussion.

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Jessica Lovegood
Jessica Lovegood is a user experience consultant from Milton Keynes, currently living in Amsterdam and working for Booking.com as a UX designer.

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