Hey NASA: Can we help?

March 26, 2019

Hey NASA: Can we help?

You've probably heard: NASA's plans for an all-female space walk fell through this week. The reason? A lack of suitable space suits that had been designed for the women. No joke. There were only "Large" space suits available and one of the planned space-walkers, Anne McClain, needed a Medium.

That's right: a lack of proper kit standing in the way for women, again. What should have been a very, very big step for womankind, was in fact another small step for man. (As Anne was replaced by a male colleague for whom the Large spacesuit was a good fit).

When we hear news like this at D&B HQ we feel a renewed conviction about why we do what we do. As many of you will know, Rosie founded Deakin and Blue after learning that 500,000 women have given up swimming and 1 in 2 mums have stopped taking their children to learn to swim because of body image concerns - because the right kit that helps women to feel good in their own skin wasn't available to them.

Ironically, Rosie often compares designing a beautiful, well-fitting swimsuit to space-walking. In fact she's been quoted more than once as saying "we've put a man on the moon, so how hard can it be to design proper swimwear that does what we need it to". (She's noted, for future interviews, that we've successfully put men on the moon but do, in-fact, still apparently struggle to put more than one woman into space at a time. Nice one NASA.)

Sadly, the NASA data is not an anomaly. Earlier this year the BBC reported that the world really is designed for men, most of the time. Everything from car crash dummies to stab vests to the size of smartphones is user tested on male profiles, meaning these items are often not quite up to the job or, at least not optimised, for women. 

But it's not all doom and gloom (we promise). We've sent a rallying cry to NASA to see if they need a hand. We'll let them stick to the technical space stuff, and if they need a hand thinking about product design for women, intelligent sizing and functional fit, they can get in touch.