I’m a researcher. I want to see the facts, the data. Often there is rhetoric that doesn’t match reality once we dig a little deeper and so it’s very important to ensure that when we say ‘standards are not gender responsive’ that we really examine that. That we understand the ways in which standards are not responsive, the antecedents and the consequences.
Through our research we’ve measured the participation rates of men and women in our ISO/IEC mirror committees. We’ve seen the degree to which women are under-represented. We’ve done preliminary work to identify which National Standards of Canada contribute to SDG 5 – the UN’s gender equality goal –– and found it’s not a lot. And now we have done a cross-country study showing the relationship between standardization and unintentional fatalities. Our research supports anecdotal evidence and sector specific research showing that standardization is protective for men but not women.
By gathering data, we can track progress. And by measuring the impact we can begin to quantify the magnitude of the problem. While anecdotes and case studies can be more readily dismissed, our research, combined with other research, makes a compelling case that is much more difficult to dismiss. And we have seen that other national standards bodies have used our research to support their gender initiatives. Clearly, this has helped to fill a need and a void.