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Designing a More Inclusive Future

for the Interior Design industry

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In the design industry today, the quest for diversity and inclusion isn't just a moral imperative, it's the mark of a forward-thinking organisation. This is especially pertinent when we talk about gender inclusion; a field where much progress has been made, yet there is still significant ground to cover.

Design studios need to continually re-evaluate how they attract, retain, and empower women in their teams, recognising that an inclusive environment is not just a regulatory checkbox but a potent driver of innovation, creativity, and growth.

So how do you transform inclusivity from being a buzzword into lived company culture, tangible policies, and empowered employees? In this article, we’ll dive into the complex fabric of inclusion, equip you with strategies to sow the seeds of a truly inclusive environment, and demonstrate the benefits that result from these efforts.

Understanding Inclusion for Women


The first step towards a more inclusive workplace is understanding the breadth of its definition. Inclusivity is not just about having a diverse workforce on paper; it's about creating a culture where every individual has the ability to contribute and succeed. It's about acknowledging and dismantling the systemic and cultural barriers that have historically held women back.

From the gender pay gap to the glass ceiling, stereotypes to work/family life balance, there are tangible obstacles impeding women's career progress in the Interior Design industry. Additionally, issues such as microaggressions and unconscious bias can create an unwelcoming work environment.

In order to foster an inclusive environment, it is crucial for employers and colleagues alike to recognise and be empathetic to these complex challenges.

Strategies for Fostering Inclusion


Building an inclusive environment is a multifaceted challenge that requires a multi-pronged approach. One of the critical components of this approach is the implementation of strategies specifically designed to not only attract but also retain and promote talented women within the industry.


Promoting Diversity Initiatives


Interior design firms that champion diversity from the top down are more likely to create a culture where all employees feel valued, and diversity initiatives play a crucial role.

Early intervention is key. By encouraging young women’s interests in art and design, we can set a path towards a more gender-equal industry. Scholarships, internships, and workshops can nurture talent and create an early foothold in a competitive field.

One of the most impactful ways to support women in the industry is through mentorship. Pairing women with successful mentors who can provide guidance, support, and a sounding board can make a significant difference in their careers.


Additionally, support programs and professional networks can be a lifeline for designers, particularly in the early stages of their careers. By establishing and fostering supportive networks within the industry, women can access the resources, knowledge, and opportunities needed to thrive.

Leadership’s role in driving inclusion


Inclusion doesn't happen by chance; it's often driven by the vision and commitment of a company's leadership. By setting the tone for a company's commitment to diversity, leaders can inspire action and accountability at every level.

Encouraging Open Communication 


Creating a workplace where open dialogue is welcomed is a hallmark of an inclusive organisation where all voices are heard and valued. Regular forums for employees to share their experiences and suggest improvements in policy and culture can be highly effective in understanding and addressing issues as they arise. This open dialogue also helps to foster trust and a sense of belonging among team members.


Implementing Inclusive Policies


Beyond mere rhetoric, policies and practices need to be implemented to support inclusion actively, such as flexible work arrangements, family leave policies, and equal pay measures. These tangible changes demonstrate a studio’s genuine investment in creating an inclusive environment.

Empowering Women in Leadership


Young girls and women looking to the design industry should see a reflection of themselves in its leaders. By empowering women, we are not just creating opportunities in the present; we are paving the way for a future where gender limitations are a thing of the past.

Benefits of an Inclusive Workplace


While the moral argument for inclusion is compelling on its own, the performance benefits are also compelling; studies consistently show that diverse teams outperform their less diverse counterparts. A diverse workforce brings together a myriad of experiences and perspectives, fostering innovation and creative problem-solving which are so vital in the Interior Design industry. Inclusion ensures that all these voices are utilised, leading to better decisions and outcomes.


Creating an inclusive environment is, of course, not without its challenges. Common barriers such as unconscious bias and a lack of policies to support inclusivity must be addressed through ongoing education and systemic change.


Ultimately, the goal of inclusion is to foster a culture where all team members are treated with respect and have the same opportunities. This starts with a commitment to equality and fairness in all aspects of the business, from hiring and promotion to day-to-day interactions.

In summary


The push for inclusion is not just a matter of equality; it's a strategy for success and sustainability. By inspiring inclusion of women and creating an environment where their voices are heard and their talents are recognised, companies can cultivate a more vibrant, strong, and forward-thinking community. We need to work towards creating workplaces where diversity isn't just tolerated, but celebrated and where women aren’t just included, but empowered.

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