Why Being a Woman in a Man’s World Can Actually Be Deadly

Men and women are different.

This used to not be a shocking statement, but after what James Damore went through at Google, it can seem somewhat controversial to point out that there are differences between the sexes.

Regardless of brain differences, though, we have definite body differences. The average American man is 5’9″ tall while the average woman is 5’4″ tall

As a tall woman (5’8″) I haven’t thought much about height differences. I can reach the top shelf and my feet have no problem resting on the floor in any chair. But, for many women, being shorter and having hips and breasts can be a huge hazard in the workplace and life in general. 

The Guardian collected a number of things where women are at a disadvantage simply  because their shapes and heights are different than the average man. Of course, averages are averages and a man who is 6’8″ or 5’2″ will run into problems that the 5’10” woman will not, but overall, being smaller can have problems.

To keep reading, click here: Why Being a Woman in a Man’s World Can Actually Be Deadly

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11 thoughts on “Why Being a Woman in a Man’s World Can Actually Be Deadly

  1. It would be nice to sit at a table or desk and not run my hose if my leg happens to brush against the bottom of the table/desk.

    It would be nice not to freeze at work.

    It would be nice if the gym equipment were comfortable to use instead of being designed for a man 5’8″ tall.

    The only benefit being a woman holds for me at my current job, where there are 233 men and 17 women in the office, is, unlike everywhere else in public life, I never have to wait in the restroom.

    1. I don’t have to wear hose anymore, but I’ve had to use a footstool my entire professional life, because if I lower my chair so that my feet touch the floor, then my boobs are on the desk and I can’t type on my keyboard.

      Ditto to the freezing – every woman in my office has to wear a sweater or jacket while the men sit around in shirts with short sleeves.

      ALL equipment, gym, office or otherwise, is sized for the average man.

      RE the protective vests: Anyone remember the second Charlie’s Angels movie, where they made such a big deal out of getting vests that actually accommodated their boobs? And we still haven’t learned any better.

      (Wow, as a 5′ 3′ woman, this really struck a nerve for me. And my daughter is only 5′ tall and has it even worse.)

  2. I agree with almost all of your suggestions, except the space heaters. Most commercial office leases in the US prohibit them, as well as local fire department regulations, because of the fire risk associated with them. Unfortunately, I do not have a better solution for the temperature problem.

    1. I work in an OSHA-certified Star workplace, meaning that we underwent a long, rigorous, process of implementing and maintaining safe procedures, inspections, etc. Space heaters are allowed in our workplace — and necessary for most of the women — provided that they are UIL-approved, have tip-over and over-heating protections, are plugged directly into an outlet (and not a power-strip, extension cord, etc.), and are not too close to combustible materials, eliminating the fire hazard. However, in places where space heaters are still not allowed, I am aware of women using heated throws (little electric blankets) on their laps instead.

  3. How much is the temperature problem exacerbated by professional dress style? Traditionally men are supposed to have their shirts buttoned up and a jacket on, warm weather or cold, and women are supposed to have thin open blouses, bare legs, and thin shoes with no warm socks. Metabolism differences aside, how could they agree on a thermostat setting?

  4. This is not really about things being more dangerous for women than men. This is about designers only considering men when designing things. That’s what makes them dangerous—the refusal to consider that someone who isn’t a man might want or need to use something, something as basic as driving a car.

    I’m a woman. I’m also left-handed and experience the same discrimination in so many everyday objects that could easily be ambidextrous, but instead are blatantly right-handed. You can put the cord on the end of a iron one one side, making it easy to use for rights and difficult for lefties, or you can put the cord on the very back of the iron and make it easy to use for everyone.

    Adjusting for the sexes is a bit more complicated, but it still needs to be done. There’s a whole lot of people out there who aren’t men. Why should they have to suffer and make do and jury-rig things because the designers forgot about half the human race?

  5. Another entire issue is that most medical guidelines — regarding symptoms, treatments, medication dosage levels, etc. — are based on metrics obtained from studying men; yet another way in which being a woman in a man’s world can actually be deadly.

  6. Considering that this article was written by a woman who is tall but of an average male height you only addressed minor issues concerning size,shape, height and equipment for most women in jobs “ designated “ male type jobs. As with everything, that women have ventured to prove successful in performing a an equal performance, we still have not reached equal status. Blame it on the slow process of acceptance of the male psyche to the idea that jobs are sexless in natural and skills should be the method to judge a job performance.
    As to comments on shelf and desk heights, this occurs because the buyer of office equipment has to use the current average to decide which is used. I worked at a company where we had a remodel done and I had all shelving lower to my eye level ( I am 5’0”). We had no complaints from anyone who was tall about the height level of the wall shelves since everything could be seen in a glance and there was no low shelves that needed to be reached by kneeling down either. As far as those protective vests, I heard that they have developed better fitting vests for women but not all law enforcement have them but they can be special ordered by individuals who want them.

  7. I can’t wait for Caroline Criado Perez’s book (this article was based on some of her research) to come out in a couple weeks. As a woman who is 5’1″ tall and who is married to a guy who is 6’2″, we both find things aren’t really built for us. For example, I rarely find chairs where I can touch the floor, which has caused back problems. I think I’m going to be like Mary Todd Lincoln and find a portable footrest to carry around. (But that’s the only way I want to be like her…)

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