Raise awareness to the gender gap and age gap problem in the Maker Movement and try to solve it by introducing teenage girls to Making and to possible unknown career paths.
MFA Design Thesis
Spring 2017 – Spring 2018
Engage, empower, change
Project Guide Book of Projects
A non-profit named Workshop Girls with the goal of exposing female teens to the Maker Movement and the possibilities and benefits of Making. Thus providing them self-assurance, better livelihoods and economic progress.
Although there are many skilled female artists
and professionals in the areas of engineering,
mechanics, welding and more, there is still an overall shortage that derives from cultural bias, prejudice, safety misconceptions, lack of money
and mentorship. Not to mention as well lack of
information and also access to tools and materials. To try and solve this issue, the concept of
Workshop Girls was created.
The Maker Movement
The Maker Movement refers to a recent wave of DIY (do-it-yourself) activities. The United States has always been a nation of self-made inventors, entrepreneurs, and tinkerers. With the growing number of Americans gaining access to technologies once restricted only to big manufacturers and companies (like 3D printers, laser cutters, design software, as well as desktop machine tools) as well as more access to information, designing and building almost anything has become easier.
Anyone can be a maker now that tools, skills, data and money are more accessible. The Movement itself emphasizes and encourages a “learning through doing” peer shared environment of applying new technologies and exploring intersections between traditionally separated areas and ways of working. For example, making products that intersect with knitting, metal-working, computer programming, filmmaking, etc.
The Maker Movement's discourse implies that anyone regardless of race, age, gender or class can participate. However, things aren't as utopian as they seem and although efforts have already been made in order to decrease gender gap concerns, there are still issues to be addressed regarding older girls who are not being catered and motivated as much as their younger peers.
How can we raise awareness to the gender as well as the age gap in the Maker Movement and encourage older teenage girls (13-19 years old) to engage in making, building, being hands-on.
Interviews, Conversations, Surveys And User Testing
The main objective of this new data gathering was to not only test the design solutions I was proposing but also to find new strategic design opportunities. From the collection of this data, 18 potential insights were chosen for future design solutions and put together as a Research Deck. Quotes, photography, infographics and details of the information were used to visually present these new found insights.
Project H & Girls Garage
“You can’t become what you
can’t see”. The girls need female mentors that look like them (physically). They need female mentors that are serious bad asses so they can admire.”
Co-founder of KiraKira
“Why aren’t teenage girl engaging as much? What is the problem?
- Lack of diversity
- Lack of content
- Lack of female models to
look up to.”
Instructor at The Crucible
“The benefits are transformative: the girls learn how to work together and build things.”
Lack of mentorship is a problem for female makers inside the U.S. as well as both males and females in other countries like China & Mexico. Mentorship is essential to female makers: “Role models and mentors play a key role in girls’ personal and professional development, as well as in their leisure activities.”
— Intel Report, MakeHers
The chart was organized by choosing 3 insights from the Research Deck that were deemed having the greatest potential for this project. These 3 main observations were followed by potential outcomes and design deliverables that could help reach each specific goal.
Teenage girls, between the age of 13-19, who have had short experiences or none at all with making, building things and being hands-on and would like to engage more in these activities.
The parents of teenage girls who are between the age of 13-19.
Teachers, instructors, and
educators in general .
After choosing the three significant insights to carry forward, now it was time to establish the design deliverables based on those exact insights. These were strategically formulated in order to help the project gain visibility, raise awareness to the problem and eventually help solve it.
Not only it was essential to try and capture the “feminine” aspect of the project, but also to be able to portray “empowerment” and “attitude”. inside the workshop and building aesthetics of power tools, dust, and machinery.
Another important aspect was to be aware of the type of imagery and message was being displayed, since the target audience were teenage girls and the parents of these girls. The visual system had to be appropriate so it didn't offend, exclude, encourage inappropriate behavior or misconstrued interpretations.