Gender equality for dummies!

ScienceNordic reports this research — but this seems to me to be more related to weight rather than to gender.

 Crash tests by Swedish traffic researchers show today’s car seats are too firm to protect women against whiplash injuries caused by rear-end collisions. And there’s a good reason for this: the crash test dummies used by car manufacturers to develop safety features are all male.

The Swedes have now created the world’s first female crash test dummy to help manufacturers make vehicles that protect both sexes from whiplash injuries, not just men. ….. “Women are generally lighter than men, so they are catapulted forward more quickly, and subject to greater acceleration. A woman is also thrown forward hard against the seatbelt,” said Anna Carlsson from Chalmers University of Technology in an interview with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK).

But what should car manufacturers do differently? “The seats should be less stiff, more pliant. When a car is hit from behind, the seat back acts like a trampoline and catapults us forward. I’d like to see seat backs that are better cushioned, made a little softer,” Carlsson said.

Male crash test dummies have dominated long enough. Now a female variety is entering the fray. Photo: (Chalmers Technical University)

The female crash test dummy was the brainchild of Astrid Linder of the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). She is head of the EU project ADSEAT, which has as its goal to provide guidance on the best ways to evaluate seat designs so that they reduce whiplash injuries.

Linder found that new cars with whiplash protection were primarily constructed with men in mind. It’s not surprising, when you think of it, though, since crash test dummies are designed to mimic a male driver’s relative weight and anatomy.  …..

The female test dummy BioRID 50 F, developed at Chalmers University of Technology in cooperation with VTI and Volvo, is still just a rough prototype. The researchers hope to develop it into a full-fledged crash test dummy. ….

Of course funding is rather easier to obtain if a “politically correct” spin can be put on a research project and in Sweden anything even remotely connected to eliminating gender difference is generally seen as a “good thing”. If Junior ever becomes reality I’m sure it will happen first in Sweden. I can’t help feeling sometimes that the fight for the elimination of gender prejudice and discrimination has morphed – especially in Sweden – into trying to eliminate gender by legislation!!

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