OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more


Recent contributions


Contribution list

Recent comments

(3) View all

Amanda commented on How a simple clipboard can impact safety on the street

This is a very simple and possibly effective concept! It is just a matter of finding something that is a cultural 'signifier' of authority in each of these specific developing countries and then to find a way to use them where the authority is passed over onto the female subject (instead of contrast effect, and the object or measure loosing the authoritative effect because it is possessed by a female/ i.e. a baby holding a clipboard)

* This may only be a small aspect and hence make a very small difference, but if we start by changing the 'concept' of a woman in these areas, then maybe -slowly- the behavior towards them will change as well.

"Personal safety can be difficult to achieve – giving way to gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services."

Focusing on these key terms, 'gender', 'isolation', 'social', 'lack of'....
There is a distinct reoccurring theme of DIVISION.

A very common place for this type of division in even our modern, first-world societies is within the work place. Even in the 21st century, there are harsh realities of gender inequality amongst the most established work environments, where more often than not, women are seen as a lesser of the two - when comparing skills and abilities. This may be because some of those work environments are male dominated, but this is also because of a deeply embedded stigma that can and often is implemented into the minds of the young.

'Girls and boys, during their formative years, are sent endless socialization messages about how they ought to behave in order to have successful outcomes. One simple example with which most of us have some familiarity is crying in response to frustration by girls and "acting out" behavior in response to frustration by boys.' -

These sorts of disillusioned stereotypes manage to infiltrate common understandings and set an underlying concept of what standards there are for men and women in our world and these, although not necessarily something everyone would admit to, are prevalent almost as much in first-world countries as they are in third-world societies.

A better perspective illuminates not only the "cultural workings of gender difference but also the social maintenance of gender inequality." In other words, how assumptions of natural gender differences -- or expectations that attach disparate abilities to men and women and attribute them to nature -- perpetuate workplace gender inequality. (Standford University, Gender News.)

It was not until recently that i discovered that even i myself perpetuated some of these beliefs. As often as i drive and spot roadworks occurring both in inner city suburbs or along country roads and freeways, i will see almost only, if not ONLY men. Given that the conditions of this type of work are harsh and demanding physically, i had never even noticed the complete lack of female presence. But over the past few months, driving around my home city of Melbourne, i am more often confronted with the attendance of female road workers. Although they are mostly holding signs and guiding the traffic congestion, it has begun to develop within me, a new view of the overall work and the criteria of the people who are capable of participation in these types of jobs.

'Be it nature or nurture, by the time most women and men make it to the workplace, their life experiences and expectations have been different in certain gender-based ways. Of course, as human beings, women and men share many of the same experiences and expectations. And as individuals, they are each entirely unique. In each person, all of these experiences and expectations function simultaneously: the group-based differences, the universal human similarities, and the individual attributes and quirks. This makes for a fascinating-and sometimes confusing-human landscape.' - Anne Litwin & Associates

In my most glorious of realizations, it came to me that by actively removing (or there being a void of) women from this particular industry, it was almost in itself encouraging the concept that the role was inaccessible to the female gender and that women would not be capable of, or belong in such an environment. But through the simple introduction of these women in roadwork situations over time, i have now come to see it almost as ludicrous that they were so absent in the past and that, at any point, i could have even considered it an unsafe or unsuitable situation for them.

All this, simply by 'seeing' a woman where i had not seen a woman before.

It is my revelation, my eyes being opened to this particular method of breaking the stereotype for myself - that has made me realize this could be a very valid contribution to the devastating position that women hold in developing countries.

These societies are like the roadwork industry - they are tough and rough and a male-dominated landscape, where consciously or subconsciously (probably both) women are being pushed into the dark corners and are being considered only as weak and incapable.

We need to bring women into the workforce!
Bring them into the male workplace and re-develop the bias mentality that these societies have developed over such long periods of time.
Simply through the introduction of women and through illuminating their strength and their capabilities and showcasing that in so many different conditions, women CAN posses the same skills and abilities, and they CAN provide and sustain the same qualities and possibilities that men can.