“Women are always told, ‘You’re not going to make it, it’s too difficult, you can’t do that, don’t enter this competition, you’ll never win it,’—they need confidence in themselves and people around them to help them to get on.”
At it’s core TARRA is a platform and community dedicated to increasing the visibility of women’s contribution to the built and designed environment.
Born from an awareness of the gender gap in the design industry, our goal is dislodge the ongoing imbalance by harnessing the collective strength of the women we represent.
A recent study shows that only 15% of licensed architects around the world are female, despite a 50/50 split of male to female students in architecture school (a mind boggling statistic). We want to provide the 35% of female students who DO NOT become licensed architects a means to connect with, and learn from the 15% who do.
The gender imbalance is not isolated to architecture either. It spans across all creative disciplines—graphic design, furniture design, industrial design, leather working, blacksmithing, woodworking, jewelry, rug making, print making, etc.
Given that approximately 50% of the global population is female, TARRA believes that our surroundings should be comparably shaped by the female perspective.
By creating an open platform where “Women Who Create” can network, collaborate, find inspiration, and learn about the experience of design as career—we can help cultivate a more diverse demographic throughout the creative community.
It’s important to note that this is not a platform about Women Designers, but rather about—and for—Designers Who Are Women.
By simply switching the placement of the words, we are addressing a very different conversation, shifting it from talking about a woman’s “place” in design, to leveraging a conversation about innovation and ideas from those women who are breaking barriers, creating new paradigms and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
So what is TARRA?
We are still, and will always be, working to define what TARRA is. Why? Because the answer is shaped by the needs and voices of our community. We started with a beautiful platform featuring inspiring stories of women who are making waves in their fields. We’ve chosen to highlight both women who have been successful and those who are just starting out, namely presenting innovative design created by women, and the perspectives of women across numerous creative industries. In October 2016, we hosted our inaugural event in Denver: a three-day gathering born from the want to connect with and hear from our community.
We want you to shape what TARRA is and how it can work for them. What can we do to help build thriving careers and businesses? We need to hear about the challenges faced; about the programming needed; and about the tools required to help push the boundaries of what’s possible in design.
Our goal is to simply change the conversation by amplifying female voices and their influence on the built environment. We plan to achieve this goal through a variety of means. One of the most important ways is by hightlighting the innovative ideas and boundary pushing design that women are already creating.
Consider the famous Zaha Hadid, Florence Knoll, and Eileen Grey. Familiar names? Yes. But the list of “familiar names” is far shorter than the list of deserving female designers. We want to see more women winning awards for their ground-breaking ideas, and believe that we can champion this cause by highlighting their work.
Ultimately, we want this community to inspire young girls and women to follow their dreams. We want our girls in shop class. We want our girls in engineering school. We want our girls building with legos. We want the 50% of women in architecture school to become the 50% of licensed architects … not the current 15%.
We are deeply invested in our mission and are working to create strategic programming that will empower women by providing them with the tools needed to create thriving businesses and careers; a platform to collaborate with other female designers; and inspiration from those who push the boundaries of innovation.
If you are a woman in the creative industries, please join us in reaching these goals. Sign up for our newsletter; follow us on Facebook and Instagram; introduce us to your mentors or offer to mentor newer designers; and ask us for the programming that will benefit you. We believe that, through strategic efforts and collaboration opportunities, we can collectively create a new and balanced conversation around design.