Women in Design.

They locked her in a cage and clipped her wings,

Alone with her earthly thoughts and things,

She rose, unshackling her sensitive tight strings,

With her flight predestined, she flew, as she filled the skies with silver glitterings.

On 5th March 2018, during her Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actress, Frances McDormand said, “Women have ideas, and to put those ideas into action, they need a seat at the table”. This message goes beyond the Film industry and applies to workplaces of each diligence.

With International Women’s Day around the corner, dwipbox discusses gender inequality and the women who stood against the society norms contributing and inspiring young women all around the world.

In today’s date inequality in the workplace, equal rights, equal pay and equal power are often discussed. But imagine a time when even mentioning equality was a taboo. A time when women were not seen as an individual, but a shadow of their male counterparts. To understand this better, let’s go back in time to the 1890s. The end of the century proved to be the start of women's independence, threatening traditional and social norms.

Fig 1: Margret MacDonald

Margret and Frances MacDonald were raised in an upper-middle-class family due to which they were able to receive proper education and attend Glasgow Art School. It was there that the sisters connected with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and James Herbert McNair and were known as the “Glasgow Four”. The sisters left school in the mid-1890s and set up their art studio. Margret and Frances later married Charles and James respectively. The marriages led to an end of their partnership as they started collaborating with their partners. Although Frances and James had a career downfall, Margret and Charles had a very successful career. As a great amount of Margret’s work was credited to her husband, she exhibited her artistic input internationally. Despite the difficulties faced by her based on gender roles and artistic exclusion due to her spouse, she inspired many young women in and around Europe. Her artistic expression led to the rise of the Art Nouveau style in architecture. Standing against society, Margret always had the support of her husband. Charles once stated, “Margret has genius, I have only talent”.

Even though the MacDonald sisters brought out a revolution, the journey towards women's empowerment was a long way ahead. This brings us to the 1950s where history was rewritten owing to the contributions of Norma Merrick Sklarek.