Activating Gender De-biasing Processes for Future Designers: Practices of Inclusion from the Educational Field


The androcentric and sexist cultural heritage that still marks western societies contributes to the embedding of gender biases that run the risk of being translated by communication designers within the project, thus entering a loop in which the stereotype is used and further consolidated by the media system. Although design university courses are adopting good practices to tackle gender-biases and spread a gender-sensitive approach, the proposed solutions in many cases are optional activities involving students who are already interested in gender issues, and thus excluding a large part of subjects. Is it possible to find a flexible formula that can be proposed at different levels of education, engaging students who are less familiar with the topic but, not for this reason, immune to gender stereotypes? This contribution focuses on experiments and practices conducted in the educational field aimed at responding to the need to activate debiasing processes based on self-reflection, which put at the core the design practice itself in a gender-sensitive perspective. If procedural knowledge is a central and extremely effective component of design learning, it is also the place where the designer unconsciously acts gender biases. If, according to the feminist perspective, feminist epistemology concerns with the dis-mantling of existing ontological warrants, by shifting the concept to the field of communication design, it emerges the need to work towards the dis-mantling of cognitive schemes and mental habitus embodied in the designer and consequently in his design practice, contributing to the definition of new agendas for design.


Francesca Casnati
Student, Master Degree in Communication Design, Politecnico di Milano, Design Department, PhD School, Milano, Italy


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


Communication Design, Practices of Inclusion, Gender Studies, Design Education