Men have an advantage: crash test dummy on a Dekra test track
Photo: Tobias Kleinschmidt / picture alliance / dpa
In principle, public relations work is quite simple: the more striking and controversial a topic, the greater its reach. The catchy line is preferred and attracts more attention than the balanced sentence. The people in charge of the ITS traffic congress in Hamburg could have given their event: "How can women and people with disabilities be better taken into account in traffic concepts?", But opted for: "Gender and Inclusion". That is more handy. But it also offers more attack surface. At least when the word »gender« is perceived as a stimulus, as in the »Bild« newspaper. But from the beginning.
“Gender and inclusion” were the buzzwords of a panel discussion at the ITS traffic congress last Tuesday in Hamburg.
The second mayor and gender equality senator of the Hanseatic city, Katharina Fegebank from the Greens, discussed this with representatives of various women's networks and a mobility researcher.
Tenor: Mobility solutions are mainly made by men and are therefore geared too much towards male needs.
Women and people with disabilities in particular need better tailored traffic concepts
The sharing offers available in big cities would be better suited to the everyday mobility of men, said the traffic planner and sociologist Ines Kawgan-Kagan.
But women and people with disabilities in particular need better tailored traffic concepts.
Hamburg has "initiated a few things" and is therefore on the right track, said the Hamburg mayor.
So far, so expectable.
Fegebank also said, however, that means of transport such as the car are mainly standardized for male bodies: seats, seat belts, airbags, but also crash test dummies depict male proportions.
That is at least uncomfortable for the women.
"Vice-Mayoress wants to gender crash test dummies" made the "Bild" out of it.
A catchy line.
The text then goes on to say: "Soon things will also be 'gender-inclusive' in the production of cars and in accident research!" Exclamation mark.
Would be even nicer!
In her remarks, Fegebank referred to the so-called 50-percentile man: he weighs 78 kilograms and is 1.75 meters tall, half of European men are taller, half are shorter. In many vehicles available in the EU, side airbags, neck rests, accelerator pedals and so on are designed for him - in the worst case to the fatal disadvantage of female passengers.
In fact, there are now impressive and numerically proven examples of where the man is still everywhere as the measure of all things.
Women are also often excluded from medical research or architecture.
For example, women with heart attacks often have different symptoms than men, but textbooks often only convey those of men;
The same floor space is often planned for public men's toilets as for women's toilets, but because they only consist of cubicles, fewer people per square meter can use them at the same time.
The »Bild« is satisfied with a sample.
Sample size: one
But putting all of this together takes time and is complex.
The author Caroline Criado-Perez, for example, with her research on man as the measure of all things, ultimately filled up 400 book pages plus a 69-page appendix with 1331 sources.
The "Bild" newspaper apparently did not want to go that far and was content with a sample, sample size: one.
A spokesman for Volkswagen, after all the world's largest automaker after Toyota, was able to announce: “Volkswagen cars are generally also developed by and with women.
There is safety and comfort for all occupants - precisely tailored to all genders and body sizes. "
A clear message, nice and handy - and also suitable for advertising.
You couldn't ask for more, as a car occupant, as a "picture", and certainly not as a Volkswagen.