Women Are Living In A World Designed For Men And Heres The Proof

Phone too big for your palm? Alexa struggle to understand you? Turns out tech, medication and a vast amount of health-and-safety guidelines were designed by men, for men - and the female of the species is suffering as a result.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Sounds dramatic but according to activist and writer Caroline Criado Perez, everyday struggles and irritations are just indications of the way that society and its progression is still overlooking women and viewing them as 'other' from the norm.

Her new book: Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men discusses these issues and we are relating. Hard.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Caroline spent three years researching the gender data gap and says that her findings are that the vast majority of the world was designed with men in mind.

She spoke to the Mail Online about the issue: "This gender data gap is not generally malicious or even deliberate. But it can be deadly - like crashing in a car whose safety measures don't account for the height and weight of women's bodies.

"This is what I mean when I say women are 'invisible'. We are living in a world made for men, itself a product and a way of thinking that has been around for millennia - and which, is therefore a kind of not thinking.

"It comes from assuming that a male's viewpoint is the 'default', while women - half of the global population - are a niche interest," she added.

So what is Caroline talking about specifically?

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Her research looked into a vast spectrum of modern life, studying domestic stats from the modern home, medical world, workplace and our public lives.

She examined everything from the size and spacing of piano keys and how it better fits the male handspan and how many times women are mentioned in school textbooks - and the results were depressing.

The gender gap begins at school: US history textbooks from 1960-1990 contain only nine per cent female names. A 2017 analysis of political science text books found that only 10.8 per cent of pages contained references to women.

Researchers revealed that a direct consequence of this feeling 'other' was that primary school girls began to feel that boys were more clever than them just one year into their school career.

Product designers are also designing with men's physiques in mind.

Caroline writes: "Take your smartphone. Its screen is probably around 5.5 in, so the average man can use it one-handed - but the average women can't. (This is despite the fact that women are more likely to buy an iPhone.)

"My friend Liz recently told me she'd been 'complaining to a friend about how difficult it was to zoom in on my phone camera. He said his was easy. Turns out we have the same phone'."

The first emojis were also designed to look like men, despite supposedly being 'gender-neutral'.

Coders eventually created a second 'female' set to even things outCredit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

But, perhaps less insidious and more flat-out dangerous: car manufacturers produce car safety features with men in mind.

"When a woman is involved in a car crash, she is 47 per cent more likely than a man to be seriously injured," Caroline lamented.

"Why? Well, for starters, women tend to sit further forward when driving, as we're usually shorter. This, car-makers say, increases the risk of internal injury, as it is not the 'standard seating position' - although it is the only way that we can reach the peddles and see out," she explained.

The health of women is also largely overlooked when it comes to medicine.

Female bodies are seen as complex in the medical world and, as a result, they are often excluded from clinical trials.

This means that many drugs, from blood pressure tablets to painkillers, won't be as effective for women - because there are big differences between their physiology and chemical makeup.

Caroline mentions a heart attack study review in her book. She writes: "Dr Tami Martino conducted a respected study that found having a heart attack during the day triggers a greater immune response, giving you a better chance of survival.

"Then in 2016, another study found daytime heart attacks triggered a greater immune response - but led to a worse chance of survival."

Confused by the findings, Dr Tami conducted a review and found that her study used male mice to determine the first set of results, while the new study featured female rodents.

Turns out everything from clearing your driveway when it snows to trying to make Siri obey favours male physiology (and tone of voice) over female.

'Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men' is available to buy now on Amazon for £11.78 in hardcover and £9.99 for the Kindle edition.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Amelia Jones

Amelia is a freelance journalist and editor specialising in beauty, health, fitness and lifestyle. She has previously worked for titles including Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, Red and the Mail on Sunday. Follow her on Instagram @ameliajeanjones or contact her via email at ameliajeanjones@gmail.com.

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