STEMinists Wanted: From Mannequin to Womanikin

STEMinists Wanted: From Mannequin to Womanikin

In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to emphasize why the female perspective is so important in STEM fields. A huge reason why we at GoldieBlox are committed to introducing girls to STEM at a young age is because women are crucial to creating a more advanced world. Each week, we’re bringing you a series called STEMinists Wanted. We’ll delve into an invention or concept that was designed with men in mind, and illustrate why we desperately need women in STEM to amend these inequalities. Without further adieu, here’s our first topic: medical test dummies.

Though women don’t usually want to be called dummies, this is one exception. Both CPR mannequins and crash test dummies are generally constructed with a man’s body type as a blueprint. Because of this, CPR mannequins are typically made without breasts, thus CPR training does not take a person with breasts into account. This leads to grave consequences: men are 23% more likely than women to survive in the event that they need resuscitation in public. The antidote? The Womanikin. The Womanikin is an attachment vest with breasts for CPR dummies. The team behind the Womanikin—which includes The United State of Women & Joan Creative—hopes that every CPR school will have these attachments by the end of 2020. 

Similarly, crash test dummies have been based on the average male body in the United States until 2012, even though researchers have been calling for a female model for decades. Consequently, women have a 47% greater chance of serious injury than men and a 71% higher chance of a moderate injury. That means women are 17% more likely to be killed in a car crash than men. The fix for this? That’s where we need the next generation to step in. The only solution has been to make a percentage of the dummies smaller than male dummies. Once again, this does not accurately account for the female form, or the average female body type, thus continuing to put women in danger. Though engineers have made some advances with computer models resembling the typical woman’s shape, it still isn’t the norm. 

Automakers believe it will take going to Congress to actually mandate this change in testing. 

That’s why we are aiming to get more girls interested in or simply acquainted with STEM. We want them to see how STEM plays a role in our world. Even if girls don’t pursue engineering and physically make the changes needed, we need their voices saying it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Pass these stories along to your daughters so they can see that the world needs their input.

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