7 things that show that modern societies were not designed with women in mind

7 things that show that modern societies were not designed with women in mind


Do we live in societies built to fit men?

When in a last-minute decision NASA canceled this week’s first spacewalk for two women due to lack of tailored suits, many questioned whether it was really an unpublished event or the reflection of a larger problem.

Caroline Criado Pérez, journalist and author of Invisible Females: Exposing the bias of the data in a world designed for men , she told that she was not surprised by the news of the space suit.

“This is what happens again and again when it comes to what is being designed.” We are very used to thinking that men are the default values ​​and women as a type of niche, a variety of what is done for people. men, ” she says.

The researcher began to study the gender bias after discovering that the medical data on heart attacks were based on men’s symptoms, which caused many doctors to obviate the heart attacks of the women for having symptomatology that they considered atypical .

But Criado Perez assures that the list is endless: from vests against stabs that do not take into account the breasts, even oversized safety glasses or boots that do not fit at the feet of women.

Here at Rava, we share seven things that suggest that many elements of societies were made without thinking about women.

1. Space suits

NASA was harshly criticized on social networks after it announced that the first women’s spacewalk would be canceled due to lack of a suit tailored to the astronauts.

The agency clarified that Anne McClain, one of the scientists who would perform the feat, had belatedly realized that a medium size of a suit was better suited to her than the large one she had been using, so, for security reasons , was taken from the walk.


Copyright of the NASA image
Image caption NASA acknowledged that it did not have tailored suits for women.

There are two medium-sized suits on the International Space Station, but only one had been properly configured for a spacewalk.

Criado Pérez states that the available sizes were only medium, large and extra large.

NASA had to withdraw its small-sized suits in the 1990s due to budget cuts, according to NPR.

2. Military equipment

In 2016, USA began to recruit women for combat roles in units that were previously only occupied by men in the Army, but much of the armor and protective equipment was designed for men.

That year, the army added eight smaller sizes for women, but problems with other equipment such as shoes and helmets were not completely resolved.

Several women told Buzzfeed News this year that, during their service, they had been forced to adapt armor to their bodies, even if that meant removing protective side panels or putting pieces of foam under the straps to ensure that their organs were protected.


Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption Several women have been forced to adapt the armors to their bodies during their service in the army.

Last year, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, said they would work to accelerate the process of adapting the armor for women, but the release of new equipment remains incomplete.

The women went through Iraq and Afghanistan, until 2018, in teams designed for men, ” says Alex Elias, a researcher who focuses on women in the military.

But even before these relatively new roles were opened, women in the army were forced to deal with dangerously improper attire.

During World War II, Elias adds, women were not expected to be in posts outside the office, so the military did not prepare uniforms for other jobs, such as mechanics.

3. Car crash dummies

The US government did not adequately test the impact of a crash on a mannequin representing the body of a woman with a seat-belt until 2012 .

According to a study by the Center for Applied Biomechanics at the University of Virginia in 2011, this implied that women who had a traffic accident were 47% more likely to be seriously injured than men and 71% more likely to suffer a stroke. moderate injury.


Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption Many mannequins to test cars do not take into account the anatomy of women.

Raised Perez points out that even now, the female mannequins used for the test are often just a shortened version of a male doll , which does not provide accurate information about how a shock affects a woman.

It’s a similar story in the European Union.

“In the EU, of the five regulatory tests that exist, only one specifies that you must use that doll (female) and it is only in the passenger seat,” he says.

4. Smartphones

From applications to physical dimensions, there are a number of design features that have made some women complain that smartphones were designed just for men.

Women’s hands are, on average, about 2.5 centimeters smaller than men’s, which can make the larger and larger screen sizes in the industry a problem for them.

Sending text messages on an iPhone of 12 cm or more can be difficult or impossible for many women (and small men).


Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption The size of many phones makes it difficult for many women to use.

And speaking of Apple’s flagship phone, Criado Perez believes that the health app and personal assistant Siri also inadvertently leaned against women.

In 2016, Apple fixed a bug that caused Siri to send abortion seekers to adoption centers … five years after the problem arose.

“The comprehensive health app on the iPhone did not have a menstrual period tracker – the way that Siri could find a Viagra provider but not an abortion provider – that’s what happens when women are not included in the process. of decision making, “says Criado Pérez.

“It’s not a conspiracy, I do not think that for a moment the Apple designers wanted to ruin the women, I do not think they knew it, ” he says.

5. Sports attire

When American basketball superstar Stephen Curry designed a new line of children’s shoes last year, he only had sizes for children.

A 9-year-old girl named Riley wrote Curry a letter asking why.

“I know you support female athletes because you have two daughters, I hope you can work with Under Armor to change this because the girls also want to tap with the Curry 5,” he wrote.

Curry thanked him and explained that the smaller sizes had been labeled as “kids” on the website.

As of March 2019, children still have more clothing options in the Curry line in Under Armor , but most shoes are available for both sexes.

6. Equipment for science

Biologist Jessica Mounts, executive director of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Creeks, told the BBC that most of the equipment she has used is designed for men.

“The problems this causes are not just a nuisance, it’s about personal safety, too loose clothes get caught in moving machines, too big boots can mean tripping and falling.”


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Image caption Women who do science are also finding it difficult to find security devices to suit their needs, as shown by the mask on the photo.

According to the scientist, alternatives “designed for women” are often more expensive, have smaller pockets and still do not fit well.

7. Office space

Among design flaws, professional environments may also be biased toward men’s preferences.

For example, the formula for standard temperature in US offices It was developed in the 1960s, according to the metabolic rate of an average 40-year-old man who weighed 70 kg.

A study published in 2015 in the journal Nature found that a female metabolic rate can be up to 35% lower than that used in those calculations, which is equivalent, on average, to a temperature preference difference of 5 degrees.


Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption Many spaces in the offices do not take into account characteristics of women.

“For all the corporate talk about teamwork, it is difficult to feel part of a team when they put you in an inhospitable physical environment,” says historian Shirley Wajda.

Popular mesh office chairs, for example, exacerbate cold conditions, while other fashions for sitting, such as high-backed chairs, can be difficult for women in dresses or skirts to sit comfortably.

Wajda believes that when it comes to “design and equipment with a gender perspective”, the tendencies toward standardization for reasons of efficiency lead to a world of the type “one size fits all”.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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