Invisible Women - Welcome to the GFP-verse!
My dear GFPs,
First of all, I have some AMAZING news to report. Remember last week's Homework of the week?
Well it turns out: GFPs actually do their homework! Hurrah!
Within an hour of the newsletter going out, Make Space for Girls had smashed their target! They have now upped the amount they're trying to raise, which will enable them to run pilots in several different locations, which is so fantastic. In short: GFPs are a force to be reckoned with!
Gender data gap of the week
GFPs, I have some important news to announce. Yes, apparently, cocoa flavanols may protect against cognitive ageing. We know this from a study that was done in "healthy young adults."
Now, I may not be healthy and whether or not I am young is open to debate and presumably depends on whether or not you were born before about 1990. But I am pretty sure I am an adult. And even if you consider that to be questionable, I hope we can all agree that I am at the very least an "individual" which is the other term this study used to describe its participants.
I therefore took great interest in this finding because as any pre-schooler knows, chocolate comes from cocoa and this definitely means I should substitute at least one of my 3 meals a day to an all-out chocolate fest if I want to avoid the dreaded cognitive decline that has definitely not already begun.
Except it doesn't does it, and not just because I probably can't actually get my RDA of flavonols from Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt because nothing that delicious is actually good for you. No, it's because, as ever, "adults" and "individuals" does not actually include women, a fact I had to wait until AFTER THE CONCLUSION to find out. I cannot BELIEVE that I wasted a good ten minutes of my life reading that study that tells me sweet fa.
Ok yes I can.
BUT I AM STILL ANGRY ABOUT IT.
The kicker, btw, is that this piece was published in Nature, of last week's gender data gap fame. I would now like to see an analysis of how many of the studies published in Nature are all on men despite having a gender neutral title and using gender neutral terms all the way through until AFTER THE CONCLUSION WHICH WAS ALSO PRESENTED GENDER NEUTRALLY BY THE WAY.
Oooh...shall we ask them??? Click here to tweet Nature! 😃
Default male of the week
This week's default male comes via GFP Lara, who has been experiencing some as-yet undiagnosed groin pain and decided to search for an answer online.
She came across this.
Good luck finding Lara's scrotum, lads.
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GFPs fixing it
For GFPs who have recently joined us and therefore don't know that female feet are not just small male feet, pull up a seat!
IKR. Anyway as we've angrily explored in a few newsletters, most footwear companies do not account for these sex differences in their designs, instead simply shrinking and pinking the male shoes. And, it turns out, basketball shoe manufacturers are no different, despite basketball being one of the most widely played women's sports in the US.
performance basketball shoes marketed as unisex or women’s by industry giants such as Nike, Under Armour, and adidas were basically down-sized men’s shoes.
So far, so infuriating. Except this is not traditionally an infuriating section, so naturally, there is a GFP who is fixing all this. Her name is Natalie White, and she was fed up of playing basketball in scaled down men's shoes. So she made her own.
The first footwear launch is the Moolah 1, a court-ready look engineered for the female athlete’s foot. The inaugural model was designed with a slim forefoot width, lifted arch, shallow lateral side and a supportive internal heel counter. (Source)
Naturally, being a GFP, White has also been busy collecting that data
“I had a college team wear one Moolah kick and one of the sneakers that they currently wear and all of them had a matching bruise on their big toe in their current shoe because when they plant their foot, it slides forward and hits,” White said. “And it’s not because the shoe is too big on them, it’s because that’s their size in men’s and their foot slides forward.”
I dunno it's almost like we should actually be designing for the actual female body or something instead of just sticking a "woman" label on scaled down men's stuff????
Final word to White:
"When I talk to people and say what we stand for, that ‘Women’s feet are different than men’s, so why are you wearing men’s sneakers?’ That’s the message, why are we still in men’s stuff? That’s pretty powerful to a lot of players.”
Product of the week
From one GFP to another, this week's product of the week comes via GFP Karen, who has recently returned from a 5 day bike ride with an actually-designed-for-women bike saddle recommendation!
in my case what made a big difference is the width of the hole in the middle, where the vulva fits. Without a hole the right shape, there is a lot of rubbing of the clitoris area and it gets really irritated. At my first Grand Tour (about 100 km per day) a woman stood up at lunchtime and yelled "Any of you women want to have sex tonight?" and was answered by a chorus of groans and laughs. But that was back in 1995 and seats didn't have holes then.
The bike saddle in questions is made by Terry, a company that claims to be "the original women's bicycling company."
WELL, as GFPs know, we don't take claims like that lightly around here, so let's have a little investigation shall we?
Terry makes a strong start by having been founded by a woman (Georgena Terry) in the 1980s. Prior to founding her own company, Terry had been busy in her basement building bicycles for her friends
I started building bicycle frames in my basement in the 80s. I was curious about the frame itself, how it worked, how it was built. Studying the differences between male and female anatomy, I built bikes with proportional geometry and properly sized components for the rider. From there, I built a bike company, Terry Precision Bicycles for Women, which continues to design and market the best women’s saddles and cycling apparel on the market. I’m proud of the fact that I started a movement as the first person to market bikes specifically designed for women.
Terry developed and patented the first women-specific bicycle saddle in 1991.
Three years later she had developed and patented handlebars with a reduced diameter to suit smaller hands
In conclusion: what a GFP!!!! GFP stamp of approval fully earned. And should any GFP wish to purchase a saddle from "the original women's bicycling company" -- and after reading this section I would almost say you have a DUTY TO -- they have a great online tool to help you do just that:
Hurrah for Terry and hurrah specifically for Georgena Terry! A true GFP if ever there was one.
A few newsletters ago your homework should you choose to accept it was to complete survey about whether or not you thought these bike stations were woman-friendly:
And as we have discovered, GFPs are pretty good at doing their homework so loads of you responded. And the findings were pretty clear.
I'm taking that as a pretty resounding no from women who made up 98% of respondents. I was also struck by how many responses used the same words in their explanations for why they would not feel comfortable using this bike station. Many GFPs pointed out that there was only one exit, and that there was no guard. The word "trapped" also came up a lot as did "enclosed", "confined", "caged" and "unsafe".
So, GFP Carmit, who first asked the question, I think we can take it that you were right and your twitter respondent was wrong. No, women do not on the whole feel safe using these stations and so no it isn't great design.
And that's before we get to, as several GFPs pointed out, these bike stores requiring the upper body strength needed to park your bike upright 🙄. Here is a very good sum-up of the problem from GFP Iris:
I have another bicycle-storage-related problem though. I think that bike stores are often designed for men, in that they often require you to hoist your bike up. And women are smaller, less muscly and often have heavier and more clunky bikes than men, with baskets and stuff.
I really struggle with those vertical bike stores a lot, and I know my friends do, too, sometimes both their and other people's bicycles fall on them when they try to mount them. And one of my friends would like a bicycle with a basket for her puppy, but she is not getting one because this kind of bike would be too heavy and she could not use the storage on her own, and that's both at work and at her block of flats. I think that's very wrong. I think there should be comfortable and safe bike parking for women. Especially I know even vertical parking can be better. The fast ferry to Isle of Wight has a more comfy bike parking mechanism (photo attached). But also if we have so much car parking, why can't we just have more horizontal space for bicycle parking?
As for the homework for this week, I think I gave you enough to be getting on with in Friday's email. And while we're on Friday's email I'd just like to say a heartfelt massive thank you to the many many GFPs who responded so kindly and generously to my apology. I had felt AWFUL about that horrendous typo and your lovely emails meant a lot. So, thank you.
Poppy pic of the week
Poppy has her EYE on you[/caption]
That's it! See you next week! xoxoxo