Women-Centered Design: The Future of Innovation & Investment
Thinking differently about sex and gender during the design process helps identify risks & generate new opportunities
We are human beings. However, our needs and experiences of what it means to be human are different based on how we look, where we are born, how we are treated, and how we move through the world.
Human-centered design has too often treated ‘man’ as the placeholder for human.
Whilst some would argue that this is just the result of living in a patriarchal society, others suggest that this is the by-product of different social justice movements’ idealogical attempts to promote equality over difference. Regardless, there are endless groups of people whose needs, experiences and pain points remain unmet and underserved by technology and design.
Whether motivated by social or financial profit, the private sector has the potential to address this gender gap in concrete ways through Women-Centered Design (WCD), a new concept that we at the Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) have developed.
We need to first understand and then design for sex and gender differences
Don’t fret, I am not here to give a lecture on gender theory. However, understanding how sex and gender play out in the design of products — and in the building of a business — can have very real impacts on their success and profitability.
Women’s bodies necessitate gender-specific innovation that responds to their biological realities
Sex refers to the biological characteristics (hormones, physiology, and sex chromosomes) which denote at birth whether you are labelled male or female. Though we are increasingly witnessing variations around this, there are real-world differences between being born with the reproductive organs and physiology of a what is commonly agreed upon as female, compared to male.