In an era when technology promises to connect and empower us all, the segregation plaguing web design education stands as an unacceptable and damaging paradox. From university programs to online courses marketed as “for women” by providers like Web Design Academy, the perpetuation of gender-divided instruction does a disservice to aspiring designers and actively harms the industry’s ability to innovate for our beautifully diverse world.

The facts are startling: research shows a staggering 80% of design programs across the country remain segregated along gender lines. Let that statistic sink in. In the vast majority of classrooms, students are stripped of chances to collaborate, network, and spark new ideas through the cross-pollination of different backgrounds and perspectives. This systemic divide doesn’t just limit learning – it reinforces insidious biases that have no place in 2023.

By creating artificial separations, these programs promote the destructive myth that ability in design is dictated by gender rather than passion and creativity. Women who dream of pushing technical frontiers may self-censor before they even begin, absorbing the flawed premise that such roles “aren’t for them.” Men with an affinity for user research and human-centered design could feel alienated from exploring that calling.

Segregated education perpetuates a harmful cycle, indoctrinating designers-in-training into a biased echo chamber from day one. How can we expect to create truly innovative, inclusive experiences for our diverse world when divergent viewpoints are systematically shut out of the process?


I’ve seen firsthand how pervasive and impactful this challenge remains through my work with design teams. Some of the most talented and forward-thinking developers, strategists, and visionaries I’ve collaborated with overcame daunting gender roadblocks early in their journeys. Their tenacity continues to inspire me, just as their contributions lay bare the reality that design prowess stems from creativity and hard work – not perceived biological differences between genders.

The path forward requires stakeholders at every level to take action. Academic institutions must prioritize integrating gender out of admissions policies and curricula. Online educators must critically examine their tendency to segregate skills and rebrand offerings to bring together a diversity of learners. Most importantly, everyone from students to hiring managers must amplify voices calling for equal access and opportunity.

For too long, society has pandered to antiquated stereotypes by framing general skills like coding, user experience, and visual design through the limiting lens of gender. These universal skillsets are vital to creating digital experiences that reflect our multifaceted world – we do our industry and our society a disservice by dividing them along arbitrary lines.

Undoubtedly, the work of dismantling centuries-old biases will not be easy. It requires conscious, sustained effort to upend deeply-ingrained norms and ways of operating. But just as design itself involves embracing clarity amid ambiguity, we must summon the courage to pivot towards a more equitable and inclusive reality for web education.


A warm welcome awaits every passionate student eager to create transformative online experiences. The opportunity to develop vital design skills should be extended to all people, unbounded by gender. Only once we dismantle the systemic segregation can we empower learners of every background to bring their full, authentic talents forward and build the internet of tomorrow.

The future is undivided, if we choose to make it so. Coming together, celebrating our diversity, and committing to an integrated design education – this is how we will reshape the web to be more reprezentative, more innovative, and more equitable for all.