The hidden gender bias

The hidden gender bias: is the world designed with only men in mind?

Nowadays, all women are struggling to achieve some sort of equality with men. Feminism is getting more popular since so many people are realizing the depths of injustice between the genders. This injustice can be seen everywhere around us: from work opportunities to salaries to education, and even to some everyday objects that are designed without taking women into account! Does that mean that the world is designed just for men? And what can we do about it?

Examples of struggle

There are numerous examples of things that showcase how the world is mostly designed for men, ignoring the fact that sometimes things need to be different in order to accommodate women. Even things that are very common can fail to have women in mind, and here are some examples:

Have you ever heard about skirts and dresses?

Imagine being a woman wearing a skirt on a normal day. You have a meeting in a building you’ve never been to before, but that’s okay. It’s just a building, nothing to worry about. However, right after you get there, you see these see-through stairs and walkways that you’ll have to cross:

Well, that’s a huge problem! Architects who design these things (in addition to glass floors or walkways) clearly don’t take women into account. You may think that this is just a single occurrence in a building somewhere around the world, but they’re pretty common. The reason behind that is because some architects think of it as a beautiful feature. Take a look at these stairs in an Apple store in Amsterdam:

This trend needs to stop. Women shouldn’t have to worry about having to check every building before deciding whether to wear skirts or pants when visiting it. It’s the buildings that should accommodate the people who use it, not the other way around.

Public restrooms

The majority of public restrooms are probably designed by men. This makes it difficult for them to take into account the female perspective. A very simple example that may be missed by almost all men is that women tend to carry their purses with them all the time. The least that can be done is adding hooks on the restroom doors to hang these purses! You may ask yourself: “Why not leave the purse on the table?”. Well, imagine you’re on a first date with someone and you need to go to the bathroom. It’s not very wise to leave your stuff with someone you barely know. That’s why there should be a female working with the team when designing such places. It helps design things in a way that fits everyone’s needs.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

When it comes to work PPE, many women have struggles. Take the lab coats for example: Stock sizes rarely fit women well, and a lot of women are forced to order custom sizes or make some custom adjustments to solve this problem. Similarly, many safety boots are available in different styles and sizes when it’s for men, but barely any for women (especially if they have small feet). Disposable gloves are also supposed to be available in smaller sizes for women and people with smaller hands, but they usually aren’t provided.

The list could go on, but these examples should give you an overall idea of how women are often not taken into consideration when designing everyday stuff.

What can you do?

The first step is recognizing that there’s a problem. Once you recognize it and acknowledge it, you become on the right track to help fixing it.

Next, you should start spreading awareness. Tell your friends and family about how the world we live in seems to be designed for men and doesn’t always take women into account. You may not be able to change the design of a building with glass floors, but you definitely might help an architect acknowledge this problem and avoid making this mistake in their future designs.

Even if this seems like only small steps, they do make a difference. You may convince only two people, but if every one of them convinces other people too, then eventually it starts spreading fast. That’s why you should never underestimate the power of exponential growth. Even the smallest change in the right direction can make a huge difference in the world.

What are you waiting for? Share this article with the people you know and try to come up with more examples of everyday objects that are not designed with women in mind. Let us know what you come up with in the comments below! Let’s all help to make the world a better inclusive place for all of us.


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