A month ago, Francoise Mouly, art director for the New Yorker covers, asked illustrator Malika Favre to work on ideas for an upcoming issue about women in the tech industry. "The brief as always was very open but also became a real challenge as soon as I started researching the subject," says Malika.
"I went through all the articles that came out lately about women sharing their experiences working in the tech industry, starting with Susan Fowler describing her time at Uber and software engineer James Damore’s shocking manifesto. The more I read, the more depressed I became about the gender gap in that industry and how archaic the whole situation is.
"I was lucky enough in my career as a designer never to work in that kind of environment but unfortunately I feel I was the exception rather than the rule.
"I started thinking about sexual harassment and more generally toxic environments for women but very quickly decided that what the world needs right now is something positive and forward thinking rather than an image showing the current state of the industry. My previous New Yorker cover about female surgeons was a prime example of the impact that a positive image can have on people out there. So I started sketching various ideas, most of which were showing women as the central hero but always keeping a second layer of narrative.
"The woman with the AR glasses, for example, is shown almost as a superhero but also stands in an almost defensive position. The girl coder sitting in the dark in another sketch is at the centre of the story but the overall mood also conveys a slight feeling of loneliness. The last sketch was the one with the little girls playing hopscotch."
How does Malkia feel about the future of women in tech? "I believe that the situation won’t be sorted for my generation but I have hope for the next generation of girls, so I started sketching a hopeful future. I chose a game that was usually associated to girls and gave it a twist, a hidden story that would change its meaning and get the point across. Today, more and more girls are learning how to code and I want to believe they will change the face of this industry."
Malika's cover is out in the US, and is her fifth for The New Yorker. Here, we share this cover along with some other ideas that she submitted to the magazine. To discover more about Malkia, read our interview or visit her website at malikafavre.com.
All images courtesy of Malika Favre