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How a Man’s World Systematically Neglects Women

When half the global population is treated as an afterthought, research is less accurate, policy is less effective, and welfare is diminished. That is why accounting explicitly for women must become the norm in every sphere of research, product design, tech, and policy.

DEHRADUN – The existence of “women’s issues” reflects the simple fact that we live in a man’s world. Over the course of centuries, research and policies focused on men became the default, whereas initiatives that account for women are “women-centered.” But if men are treated as the default, virtually no aspect of women’s lives ends up being built or optimized for them. Research that excludes women is not simply “gender-neutral” – it is “incomplete.”

The consequences can be deadly. For example, women are 73% more likely to be injured, and 17% more likely to die, in vehicle crashes than men. One reason for this is that the crash-test dummies used in vehicle-safety trials are designed to mimic the body of an average man. “Female” dummies were not even developed until last year, and regulators still do not require that they be included in vehicle-safety research.

Personal protective equipment, like that used by health-care workers, is also optimized for male bodies, with dimensions staying the same even as items are scaled down for women users. In a 2020 survey of British health-care workers, 44.7% of women found PPE overalls ill-fitting, compared to just 15.3% of men. In a recent survey in Canada, more than 80% of women respondents reported issues with PPE.