Lips with lipstick on, and text for Ladies Wine Design.

Ladies, Wine & Design: the girl power group women need to know about

By Ben Walker on 25 April 2019

A worldwide movement founded to help creative women thrive in the design industry, Ladies, Wine & Design is all about believing in the creative power of women and examining the lack of equality in the tech and design industry.

How it started

Founded in 2016 by graphic designer Jessica Walsh, Ladies, Wine & Design is a group for women, non-binary, trans, cis and inter-sex designers to learn, grow and support each other through creative meet-ups, portfolio reviews and mentorship circles. It’s a safe space for women to connect with other women in the industry, with the aim of seeing more female CEOs, entrepreneurs and creative directors.

Jessica Walsh used to receive a lot of hate online for her work. She expected it, given the nature of what she did was often physically and emotionally revealing. What she didn’t expect was the discovery that the majority of nasty, sexist comments were coming from other women. There was a strong sense of competition for women in the design industry; as if there’s only room for one at the top and we’re all fighting for that coveted spot.

That’s where Ladies, Wine & Design comes in.

Initially based in New York, Ladies, Wine & Design has now expanded to over 250 countries around the world, including the UK, Australia and Africa. Wherever you are in the world, there’s likely to be a group for you. You can find out where these groups are based on their website.

Ladies, Wine & Design Edinburgh

The Edinburgh chapter is run by Fee Sheal, who set it up in 2016. At the Edinburgh events, job titles are left at the door and attendees mingle regardless of their position or status. In the UK, an estimated 15-16% of creative directors are women, and Fee’s own experience led her to believe she had to fight her way up, when that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Past events from Ladies, Wine & Design Edinburgh have included; jewellery designer, Moira Patience; HTML and CSS workshop by the coding masters, CodeClan; a calligraphy workshop with Will Letter; a joint event with Santander looking at creatives in business; a night with Local Heroes founder Dr Stacey Hunter; and an evening celebrating three years of Ladies, Wine & Design, which was open to everyone. The events, which try to be as accessible as possible, are run monthly and are almost always free to attend. They have limited spaces though, so you have to be quick to nab a spot!

Get involved

Ladies, Wine & Design is reliant on external support and there are multiple ways you can get involved. Take a look at their website to find your local chapter, or even start your own if there isn’t a group close to you. You can also stay up-to-date with new events by following their socials – each chapter around the world should have their own social account you can follow.

Alternatively, you can check out Jessica Walsh’s merchandise store, Sorry I Have No Filter. All profits go to Ladies, Wine & Design, so you can support a very good cause and get yourself a feminist inspired t-shirt, sticker or mug at the same time!

Ultimately, no matter what industry you work in, support the women, non-binary, agender, gender non-conforming people you work with and make sure their voices are heard. Celebrate their successes and share your favourite women and non-binary creators on your social accounts. Every action, despite how simple it may seem, makes for a fairer, more equal place to work.

The key to more female representation in management level jobs within the design industry is support from other females. Head along to a Ladies, Wine & Design event and support your local girl gang!

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