Ladies*, Wine** & Design is a global non-profit initiative with chapters in 250 cities worldwide. LW&D was started by Jessica Walsh after this happened and she realized that sometimes peers can be competitive or unsupportive of one another. Only a small percentage of creative directors are women or non-binary, and LW&D wants to help change this through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, talks & creative meetups.
*Our space is inclusive of all women, non-binary, agender and gender non-conforming people. Self-definition is at the sole discretion of that individual. If you feel you could benefit from a space meant for people who do not identify as men to share ideas and collaborate, you are welcome. **Alcohol is entirely optional; you can drink tea, coffee or whatever you like!
Oct 15th | Have a discussion with Juliane Maier and Robin Heather, the founders of the Frankfurt design studio, Studio Aberja and go on an exclusive tour through their latest interior project, The Lindley Hotel. RSVP
Oct 15th | Join LW&D Kraków in a conversation with Karolina Harazim-Mazur, President of the Lablab Foundation who works wonders from concept to implementation, and is vice-president of the feminist TA Foundation. RSVP
Oct 15th | With a well rounded career as a professor, agency manager, and mother, Particia Franzreb joins LW&D Ulm to discuss Human-Centered Design methods that she developed after founding her own agency with her husband. RSVP
Oct 16th | Join LW&D Edmonton at @yellowpencilweb for an eerie night of spooky stories that haunt us all! We invite designers of all kinds to share their most frightening tales: clients that send chills down your spine! RSVP
Oct 16th | "IT IS NEVER TOO LATE!": A conversation with Simone Kovac about her path to her ultimate goal. She says, "I was never the one who knew what she wanted to become. That has always burdened me. But unexpectedly often comes — a 40s crisis." RSVP
Oct 17th | Bring your best October mood and curiosity for the first LW&D Kick-Off in Bern. It's all about getting to know each other and have a great evening over some delicious wine. RSVP
Oct 17th | "CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION": Join LW&D Vancouver in an intimate and inspiring evening to chat about where we get inspiration, how we nurture our creative practices, and how we overcome creative blocks. RSVP
Oct 22th | An evening of honest conversation with a panel of five inspiring women: Tara Tomes, Deborette Clarke, Jaanika Okk, Mary Hemingway and Zoe Robertson, who've carved their own path, and now run their own creative businesses. RSVP
Oct 23rd | Join LW&D Madison for an upcoming meet up as part of our monthly event series. A couple of drinks and casual conversation, what can beat that? Spots are limited! RSVP
Oct 24th | Join LW&D DC for a workshop on public speaking for tech and design. Identify themes or topics you want to speak on, craft the narrative for your talk, and take the first step towards becoming a public speaker. RSVP
Oct 24th | "MASK MAKING & IMPOSTER SYNDROME": In this Halloween themed event, we will create masks and discuss the things that scare us. Bad bosses, crazy deadlines and imposter syndrome. RSVP
Oct 25th | Cheers to Two Years! LW&D Valencia will be celebrating their birthday. Save the date and book your ticket soon. You are going to love everything they're organizing to celebrate! RSVP
Oct 28th | A salon night held monthly with creative women focused on connection and conversation. This month, discuss how important female relationships are to our growth and development. RSVP
Oct 31st | "BE THE LEADER YOU DON'T SEE" panel event in collaboration with @180kingsday, featuring a group of local leaders, sharing their wisdom on leading your way in a world where female leadership is still relatively scarce. RSVP
There are many reasons for the lack of diversity in leadership roles historically:
Sexism in the workplace
There are studies that show that companies are often consciously or unconsciously biased in favor of candidates who are men, which leads to more men being hired, getting raises, and receiving promotions. While this is changing, there is still a pay gap today between candidates who hold the same job titles. Women & non-binary people of all racial and ethnic groups earn less than white men, and studies show there is an even larger wage gap for people of color. If you’re in a leadership role, be cognizant of this bias and make sure raises and promotions are given out based on merit.
A lack of diversity in mentors or idols historically
Open a design history book, and you’ll see that almost all the famous designers mentioned are white men. The design industry used to be a boys club at the top, lacking diversity across both gender and race. With a lack of representation among their role models, underrepresented people can be deterred from pursuing creative positions. Thanks to the pioneering activists and feminists before us, this has been changing and many of our favorite designers working today are other women and non-binary creatives! But, there is still a lot of work to do. Intersectional feminism is imperative as we push for equality for all people in the creative field. We must adopt an intersectional lens as we battle discrimination in the creative industry. So, what does this mean? We must take into account people’s varying experiences, such as someone who is both a woman and a woman of color. In order to have equality and representation of all women and non-binary people in the creative field, we can champion and celebrate the successes of one another, offering guidance and mentorship to underrepresented creatives starting out in their careers. If you’re in the creative industry and can offer your mentorship or guidance, do contact us to get involved.
The responsibility of childbearing
Many people start families and have children around the age when they are furthering their education or entering the labor force. Historically, most cisgender men continued working and did not hold child-bearing responsibilities, leading to a gender imbalance in terms of career success. Many call this the “motherhood tax,” referring to the financial burdens and sacrifices involved in motherhood.
Trans and non-binary people in the workplace
Discrimination and prejudice against non-binary people is a form of sexism that happens in the workplace across all industries. This discrimination affects every aspect of both a person’s working and personal life. Studies show that nearly 60% of transgender people report having experienced employment discrimination, including being fired, denied a promotion or harassed. It is imperative that we make a conscious effort for equality of all people in the workplace, respecting and accepting everyone for who they are. Trans and non-binary people have the right to be able to live, dress and have their gender respected at work.
While the numbers are staggering simple things can change them:
Promote Your Peers
In studies, successful women and non-binary people are shown to receive more backlash compared to successful men. Root for one another and celebrate each other’s successes instead of tearing each other down. We can all help in various ways, big or small. Share your favorite designers on your social media, invite more underrepresented voices to your design conferences, make sure there is diversity in books on design, and so on.
Leadership at Companies
As a leader, make sure underrepresented creatives are considered for promotions, receive feedback to get to higher positions, and create action plans that help build leadership skills. Do not penalize or discredit people for needing work-life balance and flexibility.
Support Women & Non-Binary People in the Workplace
Be supportive of all people in your workspace. Use gender-neutral language in the workplace ask and use peoples correct pronouns. In addition, women and non-binary voices are often not heard or their ideas get lost in meetings. Make sure they have their physical spot in conversations, not getting elbowed out by others. If someone interrupts them, be direct and ask the interrupter to wait for their turn to speak. If you see someone’s ideas are immediately getting unfairly shut down, repeat, reference, and credit that idea over and over. This technique is called amplification and we owe this to Obama’s administration.
Mentor Women & Non-Binary Creatives
If you’ve found success as a creative, take the time to mentor others who are starting out in their careers.
Don’t Tolerate Sexism, Racism, or Homophobia
Do not normalize forms of sexism by accepting mansplaining, manterrupting, gaslighting or bropriating. If you see racist/sexist/homophobic behavior in public or at home, speak up against it. If you see this behavior online, you can report the behavior or language. To stop sexist and racist behavior, we must adopt a zero tolerance policy.
Resources on combating racism: Everyday Feminism, Amnesty International, Ted
Resources on combating sexism: HuffPost, Elle, NPR Podcast Directory, Girl Scouts
Resources on combating homophobia: Human Rights Campaign, The Washington Post, The Guardian
Women earn less than men in 439 of 446 major U.S. occupations. The average for men is $55,835 and $43,845 for women. As designers, women earn 79% of their counterparts who are men, and this number is even lower for women of color. The most effective way to change the pay gap in the industry is hiring women and non-binary people, paying attention to their results and efforts, and rewarding them equally. It sounds simple, but we are not always aware of how much unconscious misogyny we might have. This means constantly questioning ourselves and making equality a central topic in our lives.
Studies show that after transitioning, transgender women’s earnings fall by nearly one-third. This finding echoes the lower value placed on women in the workplace. The trans and non-binary communities experience poverty at 4x the rate of the general population. Studies and conversations about the gender pay gap need to be more inclusive, rather than just about comparisons between cisgender men and women. Most corporations do not recognize people’s genders outside of male and female, and for this reason, there are very few studies on wage discrepancy for non-binary people, and this needs to change.
Sexual harassment is still a major problem. 75% of those who experience sexism do not report it because of embarrassment or feeling like it could jeopardize a promotion or even lead to being fired. But even when they do report it, little is done. More than half of the official allegations of sexual harassments result in no charge. Motherhood also plays a big role in the industry, as women with children have less of a chance of being hired.
Most people won’t deliberately identify themselves as misogynistic, racist, or homophobic. However, there’s something called unconscious bias, which is the unconscious discrimination of certain groups of people: from race to religion to sexual orientation. This can manifest in different ways, whether it’s resisting to trust the choices of a woman or non-binary person or responding differently to a person of a different color than you. We can do this without consciously realizing it. It is our duty to stay open-minded to our own human defects, and continuously take a critical look at our own behaviors and privileges.
Examples of privileges include being white, cisgender, college educated, physically or mentally healthy, or financially stable. Why does this matter? Privilege can affect everything from how someone is treated in society on a daily basis to what basic human resources a person has access to. If you have privileges, you can use them to help fight for equality of more marginalized, less privileged people.
LW&D takes an intersectional approach to feminism, recognizing the complicated experiences of individuals based on the varying intersections of privilege and oppression. Feminism does not only champion the equality of white, cisgender, straight women. Feminism is inclusive of all people, championing equality for everyone — no matter their gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, age or ability. Watch this ted talk talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw for more context.
Our NYC-based events are free to allow access to all people regardless of financial backgrounds. Occasionally, some of our other chapters charge a small fee to cover the hard costs of their events (speakers, space, etc).
There are many ways you can support us!
Join Your Local Chapter
We have a map on our homepage — check it out to see if you have a local LWD chapter in your city. If you do, make sure to attend an event and ask the hosts if you can assist them in any way!
Start a Local Chapter
If your city doesn’t have a local chapter and you want to be a host, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you started!
Accessibility At All Events
At our NYC events, we make sure that all our venues are accessible, and we encourage all chapters to do the same! If you are hosting an event, make sure to use this checklist to make sure your event is accessible and that you have accessibility information listed for upcoming events
If you have space you can offer up in your city for events or can provide free wine or food for one of our events, do contact us about sponsorships! We’re happy to give social media love in exchange for your support. Before now, we’ve taken no financial donations and this project has been entirely self-funded. Currently, &Walsh is the sole financial sponsor of LW&D, but we’ll be looking for additional sponsorship this year. We’d love a corporate sponsor to help with larger events to help us hire staff to keep the organization running. The organization will never be for-profit, this money will be used entirely on our events & staff. Email us at email@example.com if you’d like to discuss sponsorships.
You can also follow us on Instagram and follow all the amazing creatives we feature. Championing other women and non-binary creatives is one of the best ways to support Ladies, Wine & Design, so one day we don’t need to exist.