Unconscious Gender bias part 1

I think the biggest problems women face these days, at least in western countries, isn’t in-your-face misogyny. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still quite a bit of misogyny about. See We Hunter the Mammoth almost any day of the week. But for most of us, the biggest problem is unconscious bias.

Until 2011, all crash test dummies used in the USA were as tall as the average US male. Inevitably, cars were designed to keep the crash test dummy safe. That’s why an average-sized bloke sits beside the nice strong door panel – he’s protected in the event of a side impact. So am I, because I’m tall for a woman. But most women are shorter, so they move the seat forward. They’re sitting beside the much weaker door panel, and much less well protected. An airbag hits an average American male in the upper chest, but it hits a small woman in the face. Swedes have also found that lighter people (mostly women) are more likely to get whiplash in a rear-end collision.

A study of actual crashes by the University of Virginia’s Center for Applied Biomechanics found that women wearing seatbelts were 47 percent more likely to be seriously injured than males in similar accidents.

47% is quite a lot, isn’t it?

Nobody ever said, “Tell you what, let’s design cars which kill women if there’s a crash.” I don’t think there was any malice involved at all; the decision-makers simply forgot about women. But a lot of women died just the same.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Really? Where does that figure come from? Which country?

    Given that women are more likely to die when they’re in a crash, I think that has to mean men are in more crashes, or at least more high speed crashes.

    Do you think making cars unsafe for women would make men any safer?

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