The problem of one-size-fits-some

A February 23 article by Caroline Criado-Perez in The Guardian points out that across a vast range of things, from medical research to the design of tools, vehicles, and buildings, the implicit assumption has long been that the average person is more or less identical with a typical young man of European ancestry.

That creates problems from other groups that range from mere inconvenience to greater risk of death. Sure, it might not be practical to accommodate everyone’s needs under all circumstances, but as the article makes pretty clear, we can do way better with just a little effort.

If I have a complaint about the pieces, it’s a minor one, namely that it focuses primarily on the consequences for average women even as it makes clear, if not always explicitly so, that the problem is a lot wider than that that. It may well be true that women are the largest group disadvantaged by the implicit assumption that one-size-fits-men is equivalent to one-size-fits-all (to borrow a line from the article), but children, the elderly, and even a good many men are short-changed as well.

I recommend at least skimming the article to get a notion how many different areas of life are affected. If you want to look into it even more deeply, not that the article is based on the book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men also by Caroline Criado Perez.

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