It’s a Man’s World. Infact it is Designed to be One
This is a man’s world because we have designed it to be one. Here are a few examples, that will make you think, how almost everything is created to facilitate men. First published on Women’s Web.
There is a lot of debate about equality of the sexes but have you wondered how the world you live in is designed to be sexist? It is in our thoughts, in our products and in our designs. Here are some examples of our daily environment where designs are not in favor of women but we don’t seem to be doing anything about it.
Oh why is it so cold? If you are a working woman in a centrally air-conditioned office, I am sure you would have experienced this. I feel cold in office, many of my women colleagues do too. I keep something warm in my desk at all times as I need to stay warm every now and then. But the men in office are mostly comfortable. Why? Because the air conditioning standards are too old — it was designed by and for men. The standard used a standard metabolic rate to arrive at a comfortable temperature but with more women in offices today, these standards don’t hold good as metabolic rate of women are 23% lower than men on an average. It is a simple design flaw which hasn’t been changed in the last few decades.
Loo-sing patience: Haven’t we all waited in long queues to go to the loos? They never seem enough for women; how many ever there are. Well, there is the issue of time a woman spends. Our clothes are restrictive and pregnant & menstruating women take longer. But why is that women’s and men’s loos are evenly divided. Why can’t more number of restrooms be made for women? Laws in the US are changing fast, calling for more gender neutral restrooms mostly because of the LGBT community. Shouldn’t the designs change everywhere?
Hair raising big experience: Recently, there was a big debate on design called#hairgate and how the new iPhone traps hair in the seam between the glass and aluminum. It has happened to men as well but obviously the number of women with long hair is far higher than men. It’s the same design that doesn’t consider that women have smaller hands and tiny or no pockets. The slew of new and big phones hitting the market are just too cumbersome to use.
Peekaboo: I am always conscious of transparent stairs or winding stairs where you can look up and see everybody. It’s not intentional but by design, these places don’t consider women and their dressing.
It’s not a cruise: I sometimes wear my seatbelt under my arm, especially on long distance drives. The seatbelt is truly uncomfortable when you have breasts. It’s just not designed for women. The current 3 point seatbelt was invented in 1959 by Nils Bohlin, a Swedish engineer. Obviously women drivers at that time were rare. Now the numbers are significant. While I agree that it is one of the most important inventions of our time, why hasn’t the design been changed since?
These are just a few examples I have experienced or read about where the innate design of the system has not considered a woman as the user. I am sure you might have observed other examples. Have we just accepted that there can’t be a better and more comfortable design for women? Or we are not doing much to raise our voices and make people understand the situations? I am not sure. What do you think?