5 ways the world isn't designed for women

Discomfort, injury, and even death — gender-bias in design does really affect women.

Women are paying a steep price in a world designed for men

CPR mannequins

Women are 27% less likely than men to receive CPR from bystanders — and men have a 23% higher chance than women of surviving cardiac arrest that occurs in public. Fears of hurting a woman or being accused of inappropriate touching are major factors. Now, a startup has designed a "womanikin" hoping to normalize the female figure in CPR training.

Crash test dummies

According to the University of Virginia Center for Applied Biomechanics for decades, crash test results were based on the average male. People who don’t fit this body norm have a greater risk of injury and death. Women car crash victims are 73% more likely to die or have a serious injury based on the Consumer Reports Organization. Despite knowledge that male and female bodies don’t react similarly in crashes, an average adult female crash test dummy isn’t used in testing. The only existing dummy based on a woman's body included in testing is actually a smaller version of a male dummy — the size of a 13-year-old.

Office temperature

Concurring to a 2015 study from the Maastricht University Medical Center, the ideal office temperature was designed in the 1960s with the metabolic rates of men as reference. The current model may overestimate women’s heat production by up to 35 percent.


Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch were meant to participate in the first ever all-women spacewalk in March 2019. But the plans were postponed for months, over limited spacesuit sizes.

Military equipment

Military vests designed for women were only initially tested in 2012. In 2016, the U.S. military opened combat roles to women in previously male-only units — but much of the equipment was still designed for men. A recent study shows that access to proper fitting gear is still very sparse. Poorly fitting equipment is a leading cause of injury in service members. Since most equipment has been designed for men, women are the most likely to suffer from injuries because of incorrectly fitting gear.