Gender Inclusive Design for our Built Environment

Architects generally want people to feel comfortable around their buildings or interior spaces; however, architects aren’t perfect and may overlook some simple design solutions that can put people at ease. The World Bank Group has released a handbook for urban planners, architects, and anybody shaping our physical environment to use when making (or renovating) spaces. The handbook is all about designing for all genders and ensuring that the built environment is useful and welcoming to all regardless of their gender.

Urban planning and design quite literally shape the environment around us — and that environment, in turn, shapes how we live, work, play, move, and rest. This handbook aims to illuminate the relationships between gender inequality, the built environment, and urban planning and design; and to lay out a menu of simple, practicable processes and best practices for urban planning and design projects that build more inclusive cities – for men and women, for those with disabilities, and for those who are marginalized and excluded.

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Men Shouldn’t Worry About Being Breadwinners

Gender stereotypes and expectations aren’t good for anybody, and there’s more and more evidence that men who worry about having to be the primary income earners hurts their health. The old way of thinking that a man had to earn more than his partner in a heterosexual relationship no longer makes sense. Thanks to the efforts of countless individuals there are fewer obstacles for women to make as much, if not more, than their male counterparts.

She attributes that to gender performances that cloud our judgment. Men are taught to see breadwinning as an obligation; women to see it more as an opportunity. Women are less likely to dwell on what other people will think of them if they aren’t the primary source of income, while men feel the need to take on higher-paying positions, even when the role might just be an anxiety-inducing, taxing, stressful experience.

Of course, generalizations like that reinforce the gender binary at the root of this, but in service of understanding the flaws in that conceptualization.

“I would encourage men to feel more free to ask, ‘Do I really need to do this? Do we need this extra money?’” she said. “I think women are more likely to ask themselves that.”

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Thanks to Delaney!

Cuddle or Kudos Stress Away

We all deal with stress in our own way, but new research has come out that suggests that men and women have different ways that they like to get support when dealing with stress. Women like affectionate human contact when they are under stress while men like to hear how good they think they are.

From Wired Berries:

In other words, women need cuddles and men need kudos. We may have instinctively guessed as much, but now we have some scientific proof. You’ll both be set if you have him hold you close while you whisper sweet words of encouragement in his ear.

Gender Bender in NYC

New York City is moving ahead with a proposed change in the rules of birth certificates. After much campaigning from activists who argue that gender is not merely physical, NYC will soon start letting people change their gender on their birth certificates (NYT link, to bypass registration try bugmenot). Reader mkb also points out this article .

Once it’s approved people will no longer have to have sex-change surgery to proclaim what gender they are.

“If approved, the new rule would put New York at the forefront of efforts to redefine gender. A handful of states do not require surgery for such birth certificate changes, but in some of those cases patients are still not allowed to make the change without showing a physiological shift to the opposite gender.”

Thanks, mkb!

Gay Animal Show

gay fun In Oslo there is a show on at the natural science museum that looks at homosexual behaviour in animals. Families and single people alike are enjoying the exhibit!

“But there has been strong interest in an aspect of animal behaviour the museum says is quite common.

It says homosexuality has been observed among 1,500 species, and that in 500 of those it is well documented.

The exhibition – entitled Against Nature? – includes photographs of one male giraffe mounting another, of apes stimulating others of the same sex, and two aroused male right whales rubbing against each other.”

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