Islamabad, ICT (January 16, 2023): Ideate Innovation continued its long-standing partnership with Netherlands-based Bopinc with an event focused on women-centred design. Hosted at public policy think tank Tabadlab, the session featured a fireside chat between Bopinc Impact Manager Tessa Fij and Ideate Head of Service Design Sehel Khandwala on designing for women and its impact in Pakistan. The event was attended by a select group of impactful leadership in the sector, including officials from UNDP, GAIN, Easypaisa, Hystra, i2i, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
The conversation opened with an introduction to human-centred design, which served as a foundation for understanding women-centred design and its need. Ms. Fij shared the negative and often fatal consequences of not having a women-centred approach while designing products and services. She also cited the business value to manufacturers and service providers in ensuring their products and services are well-designed for women, who form half of the world’s population.
“It was great to have so many interested people join in this session and share their own thoughts on the matter,” Ms. Fij said while talking about the event. “It led to very insightful conversations on gender and what role all of us can play towards a more inclusive world. Something in which every step, however big or small, should be cherished.”
The speakers discussed the six non-negotiables in designing for women, including safety, trust, non-linearity, lifecycle, community and the role of men. These have been identified in Mansi Gupta’s work and have been reflected in Ideate and Bopinc’s research together. Each non-negotiable served as a lens to analyse the product or service’s utility for women. Ms. Fij explained the utility of these lenses as they can be embedded at any stage of a project: at project scoping, when identifying research gaps and questions, or when generating ideas for potential interventions.
Following this, the conversation focused on two specific projects being conducted by the two organisations in Pakistan. Ms. Fij first spoke of research on Balanced Energy Protein (BEP) supplements designed for pregnant and lactating women. This isa cost-effective supplement providing complete nutrition to women helping avoid postnatal illnesses. The second project is research on the critical menstrual health needs of low-income women in urban and semi-urban Pakistan. It investigates the demand for and usage of menstrual health products, as well as the willingness to pay. The research would enable manufacturers to produce affordable and suitable products for such communities.
Key takeaways from the talk included the need for awareness around human-centred and women-centred design. The moderator and guest were in agreement that stakeholders needed to audit their products and services to gauge their gender-inclusivity.
"At Tabadlab, we are proud to have shared our platform to raise awareness regarding women-centred design," said Tabadlab Policy Impact Director Samia Liaquat. "We realise that there is an immediate need to focus on women-centric (inclusive) and innovative approaches to design solutions, and make this the norm in Pakistan. It is through our work with Ideate and Bopinc, that we want to strengthen intersections between our work on public health, economic inclusion and gender. We hope such events will lead to fruitful collaborations with key stakeholders."
Ideate Innovation is motivated to play a part in making human-centred and inclusive design a regular practice in Pakistan. To learn more about Ideate’s work, visit www.ideateinnovation.com.