Equality in Design and Safety: Women and the Automotive Industry

How women’s safety can be better represented by designers in the automotive industry.

Sarah Saccomanno
8 min readMar 4, 2019


Source: Pexels

After coming across a retweet from Erika Hall of an article on The Guardian’s website, I began falling into a rabbit hole of curiosity. As a UX Design student, I follow many designers and continually work to broaden my horizons in all aspects of design. Design ethics and responsibilities is a topic I take very seriously, and naturally find myself drawn to these issues in an attempt to be a more responsible, inclusive designer.

Source: My Twitter Feed. #TeamDarkMode

The article, written by Caroline Criado-Perez, contained excerpts from her book, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men . The part of the article that caught my attention was the section on automobile safety regulations and the usage of Crash Test Dummies.

These Crash Test Dummies, originally created in 1949 to test aviation ejection seats, were based on the 95th percentile of the average adult male in the U.S. Although there have been revisions which have changed the standard dimensions to the 50th percentile average adult male, there aren’t too many people thinking about the other half of the equation: women. In fact, it took almost 60 years to create a pregnant test dummy, and about 40 years to create child and infant sized crash dummies with the appropriate proportions.

It’s 2019, I do not give a pass to anyone that attempts to eliminate the need to consider an entire gender that operates in today’s society. Even in 1949, a year after the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights, the US Army didn’t technically have a pass on creating male only dummies, but the 40s and 50s were a different time and I would have hoped that we could have progressed a little more since then.

“The goal is to make everyone in cars as well protected as possible,” Astrid Linder

The History of Women in Vehicles:



Sarah Saccomanno

UX & UI Designer. Musings about design and life. Twitter: @sarahsaccomanno