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Seen Ladies podcast takes purpose at a world designed for males

In late April 2020, a month into the primary lockdown, British hospitals have been full to bursting with Covid sufferers. Frontline well being employees have been utilizing goggles, gloves, visors and masks to guard themselves from an infection. However a flaw had develop into obvious with a few of the private protecting gear (PPE). Designers had didn’t issue within the distinction in dimension and form between males’s and ladies’s faces, which means that many feminine employees have been utilizing masks that didn’t match. Sizing is predicated on “the Sheffield head” — a normal dummy used for testing masks that was, fairly actually, created from the top of a person from Sheffield.

Within the opening episode of Seen Ladies, a brand new podcast from Tortoise Media, the author and campaigner Caroline Criado Perez makes an attempt to find the unique “Sheffield head”, not a lot to admire his cranium as to make some extent a few design flaw that’s placing girls’s lives in peril. Beginning with PPE, the 12-part collection throws the highlight on the “gender knowledge hole”, a time period that describes how knowledge collected on every thing from economics to healthcare and humanitarian disasters has lengthy been targeted on male case research, leading to a world designed by and for males.

Criado Perez first made headlines in 2016 when she noticed the shortage of ladies on British banknotes; on account of her marketing campaign, a brand new £10 notice was launched that includes a portrait of Jane Austen. In 2019 she revealed the ebook Invisible Ladies (winner of the Monetary Instances and McKinsey Enterprise E-book of the 12 months award), which revealed how males are handled as default people in knowledge assortment and ladies are not often considered in any respect.

Seen Ladies brings this analysis additional into focus whereas on the lookout for options. Although it’s dense with numbers and research, it correctly places human tales to the fore and maintains a tone of exasperation moderately than outright fury. Future episodes will have a look at how youngsters’s playgrounds are constructed with boys in thoughts; how crash take a look at dummies are modelled on male drivers; and the shortage of pockets in girls’s clothes.

Whereas it is going to hardly be information to feminine listeners that society almost all the time favours males, the extent of the gender hole is starkly demonstrated. Seen Ladies paints a damning image of institutional bias and ineptitude, even when a few of Criado Perez’s findings border on the comical.

Among the many interviewees within the first episode is Dr Mia van Manen, an Oxford-based intensive care and anaesthetic registrar who not solely struggled with ill-fitting masks on the peak of the pandemic however as soon as needed to ask a colleague to drag up her supposedly unisex, NHS-issued trousers which had dropped to her ankles whereas she was performing a tracheotomy on a affected person. That such elementary design faults persist are, says Van Manen, a results of many years of ladies being socialised into considering they need to “simply recover from it [and] preserve quiet”. With Criado Perez of their nook, now would appear time to make some noise.