Bright Green Enterprise

Archive: Jan 2017

Being Human: Gender by Design?

Last year, an investigation by The Times newspaper revealed that on average, women and girls were charged 37% more for clothes, beauty products and toys than men and boys. This is a significant amount to charge for what is often the same product use but packaged and marketed in a slightly different way. More recently, this has been picked up in Tesco where women’s (pink) disposable razor blades were charged at more than twice the price of the comparative men’s product.

So what should we take from this research? Well, apart from the obvious unfair cost advantage of buying male-targeted products, it warrants a closer inspection of how and why certain seemingly ‘unisex’ products are assigned and designed by gender and what this might mean for their users.

The subject of gender has been discussed I would imagine for millennia, or more specifically the differences between gender have. Boys we are told particularly like slugs and snails, whilst girls prefer sugar and spice (and all things nice). Boys like blue things, girls like pink things…

But even if these sweeping generalisations were true of a population, how much of this is inherent in us when we’re born and how much of our choices and behaviours are motivated by the design of things we use or associate with every day? And in the design of ‘things’ are we limiting the potential pathways and capabilities of boys and girls alike? Do we even make choices about our future careers based on the design and marketing of products in certain industries? Would more women for instance, follow STEM industry pathways (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) if the ‘packaging’ of these environments were different? At Bright Green Enterprise we aim to explore these questions and more with students.

Being Human is a Bright Green programme where we discuss with students the role that gender plays in shaping design and vice versa. Being introduced to the concept of gender in everyday design as well as learning through global case studies how this can affect the lives of people across the planet, students are able to explore and apply their creative skills to human-centred design (rather than gender-centred design), even getting to design their own vision of how certain products and workplaces should look!

If you’re interested in having a chat about this programme, please get in touch. Being Human is a flexible programme for a small group of students or a larger year group and can be run as a short one-hour talk or as an interactive half-day workshop.

Looking Back to the Future

We’re taking a look back over 2016 at some of the highlights for Bright Green Enterprise Education and what this might hold in store for 2017.

1. We worked with some great young people…

Last year saw us reach new schools across the UK whilst continuing our relationship with our wonderful long-term partners. Bright Green Enterprise works with a range of schools across State, Independent, International, College and University level institutions. From Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 5 we have delivered to over 5,000 young people in 2016, 64% of who were girls, helping them to develop their enterprising acumen, workplace professionalism and understanding of sustainability issues, globally and locally.

2. We launched Creative Disruptors…

Creative Disruptors Sandtimer Makerversity

In April we launched the six-month Creative Disruptors challenge in the UK, our new international innovation challenge for schools in the UK and Tanzania. Working together, student teams problem solved issues of sustainability under the 2016 theme, ‘HOME’, whilst developing their creative hard skills and professional soft skills. Working with Makerversity, the challenge’s makerspace partner at Somerset House in London was a particular highlight for all participants, including teachers!

3. We researched cool technologies in Tanzania…

Smallholder Farming Tanzania BGE

In May, we travelled back to Tanzania to conduct a research project into smallholder farming technology explored through the design process of Twende Social Innovation Centre in Arusha. Visiting smallholder farmers in the Mbulumbulu Highlands of the north we analysed the relationship between technology, local ecosystems and networks. A full report will be available later this month!

4. We talked about the maker industries to girls…

In June we were invited to the RNLI headquarters in Poole to provide the Key Note speech for Women in Engineering day. Opening the day’s exciting events with an introduction into how the maker industries are diverse in skills and environments and therefore need more diversity in their human resources, girls from across Dorset schools took part in a range of exciting and creative workshops put on by the RNLI and their organisational partners.

5. We welcomed new mentors on board…

We welcomed new programme mentors from across 3 continents into our growing team: Ilga Miglane (Ukraine / UK), Zenzo Sibanda (Zimbabwe / South Africa), Usama Siddiq (Pakistan) and Cris Sebastian (Germany). With collective experience across a range of innovation fields and a wealth of knowledge and experience of global case studies, including the energy sector, to public policy and sustainable infrastructure, the team has never looked so green!

6. We had some exciting meetings and plotted some more projects…

They say hard work pays off; well we ended the year with some exciting meetings, plotting for new ventures, partnerships and programmes to be launched in 2017. We’re keeping things under wraps for now but hope to share some good news with you soon! Until then…keep watching!

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