The gender data gap is where a ‘one size fits all’ approach has left gaps in our understanding of different genders experience. It isn’t intentional to exclude women, but by applying our understanding of user behaviours we can see that previously considered objective data is actually male-biased. Can we think and design differently to reduce these gaps in our understanding and improve experience across society?
What you’ll learn from our report
The report explores how the gender data gap affects the designs and advice we provide at WSP. It has impacted the historic planning and construction of urban areas using male-tailored dimensions and user behaviours, which, once translated into physical designs, put women at a major disadvantage in their experience of cities. It is within our power as designers, engineers and consultants to change this.
This report analyses gender inequality in urban infrastructure through the lenses of urban design, transport, buildings, and safety at work, using statistics gathered from our survey supported by evidence from existing literature. Some of the areas highlighted may inspire moments of recognition or be things which you may never have considered but now are glaringly obvious. This is not an exhaustive list, but more a starting point for further thought.
Why understanding the gender gap is important
First and foremost, designing inclusively is the right thing to do to provide the same opportunities and experience across society. Beyond this simple fact, there are several reasons to consider gender within our designs.
Several of the challenges impacting our gendered experience are closely interlinked, and by finding a simple solution to one, wider benefit can be found. Moreover, studies have shown that by considering women, it brings benefits to other genders, race, ages and abilities. Simple changes in what we design can bring significant benefits from GDP through to health and wellbeing, and we can all play a part in this vital change. It’s win-win.
Furthermore, the switch to inclusivity is becoming increasingly important along with the rising prominence of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This framework acts as a guide for government, business, and non-governmental (NGO) organisations to measure their progress towards sustainability – a factor which today largely determines competitive advantage through consumer demand, attracting investment, and averting financial risks from climate change. We all have a responsibility to uphold these goals and closing the gender data gap is a significant step in this process.
Finally, the loss in human capital wealth due to gender inequality is estimated at $160.2 trillion globally .The economic gain, social inclusion, and environmental benefit generated from the inclusive designs reflect that creating gender equality is not a burden, but an opportunity.