It’s those little things you go through, but you’re so used to them that you don’t even notice them.  The way you exist is completely different, but it has become a way of life for you.

I’ve always accepted that this is how things should be. I have always been afraid of my safety, especially at night.  I have been afraid of speaking up because I did not want to come across as “too pushy and aggressive”. I feel that speaking with conviction as a woman has consequences.

"We cannot succeed when half of us are held back."

This famous quote was spoken by Malala Yousfzai, who fought for the right for young girls to be educated in a male-dominated society.

However, inequality is everywhere, even in our own backyards. 65% of women and girls in the US have an eating disorder. 78% of women are not okay with their bodies. Rates of depression among girls and women have doubled between 2000 and 2010. 41% of women working in tech eventually end up leaving the field (compared to just 17% of men). Since 2009, 60% of sexual assaults have gone unreported.

I imagine a world where these struggles are minimized.  I imagine a world where there aren’t social norms guiding the way women do things. I imagine a world where I know I can be who I want to be without concern that it isn’t who others expect me to be. 52 weeks of Design for Women is an attempt at creating that world.

“As a woman I am always afraid of my safety.”

How might we lower the stress and fear women feel when walking alone at night? How can we help women feel safer?

Ensuring that women feel safe at night is extremely important. I designed a concept for Safe Streets, an application that tells you which streets are safer than others to walk on. This information is based on multiple sources of data: 1) The history of traffic-pedestrian incidents on this area of the street/intersection. 2) Crime history on specific streets and times of day 3) Neighborhood watch data.

Safe Streets also allows you to notify someone when you are walking home, so they can see your location at all times and call 911 in case of an emergency. You can choose a person to share your location with, and they receive a notification and can see you walking. They can also call you throughout the journey.

To see the entire design process, read the full case study here.

"As a woman I feel depressed and anxious."

Women are twice as likely to experience major depression than men. They are also three times as likely to suffer from anxiety or attempt suicide.

The one therapy tactic that really stuck with me was CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT is simple: it’s based on the premise that our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are all connected. If we change our thinking, we can change our emotions.

For this project I focused on a CBT application that can help you get your thoughts down and deal with distressing moments that feel out of your control. The design principles are as follows:

1) Create mindfulness 2) Allow for clarity of thought 3) Create structure in an otherwise chaotic environment. 4) Build lasting positive thinking habits.

This application helps you go through the CBT process, identifying cognitive distortions and helping you get past the negative emotions, the process is:

Activating Event: What happened that is stressing me out?

Belief: What is my negative self-talk? What negative interpretations am I making?

Consequences: What am I feeling? What is happening in my body? What is my behavior as a result of my beliefs?

Dispute: What is a counter thought? Is there another way of thinking here?

To see the entire design process, read the full case study here.

“As a woman I want to be offerred the same opportunities in math and science.”

According to a Gallup poll, 90% of parents of seventh to 12th graders say that computer science is a good use of resources in their child’s school. So we see that parents value computer science. But how do we get them involved? How can we give them resources to empower their daughters if they don’t know where to start or if schools do not have any computer science courses?

This project called Dottie, focused on creating a fun, relatable environment for young girls (ages 10–13) to learn computer science and enable child-parent interaction when learning to create a conversation.

Dottie is a little dot who goes on many adventures. Sometimes she tries to save her friends, other times she is trying to save the world. Basically, she’s pretty cool. Dottie has several levels, and through the use of blocks that represent programming language, girls can piece together Dottie’s path so she can get to her final destination. The app has bright, vivid colors, to bring the game and experience to life. In some levels of the game, girls will play and learn independently. However in other levels, girls can play a multi-player game with their parent. 

Parents can also see their child’s progress. Dottie Family, is a separate, parent specific application The most important feature Dottie Family has is the ability to learn how to code with a child. Dottie Family also lets parents see their child’s progress. They can see how much of a particular course their child has completed, where the child ranks on the bell curve, and other courses/supplementary material she can use to grow her learning from her current level.

To see the entire design process, read the full case study here.

"As a woman I want to find role models who look like me."

A lot of people attribute the gender gap to the fact that there aren’t enough female role models, and this is a vicious cycle.

“The reason there aren’t more women computer scientists is because there aren’t more women computer scientists.” — Jocelyn Goldfein

I believe that there are female role models. They are everywhere, in every field, dominating. It’s just a matter of making their stories known.

 I’ve seen a few groups such as Women of Silicon Valley and wogrammer in the tech sphere and legendarywomen, which is a collection of stories about positive women role models. But how can we combine all of this together so that the young girls who wants to learn more about their field can find role models?

In this project, called Women In, you can find several women role models. You can browse stories of women in your field of interest, categorized by subfields (for example, subfields of tech would be design, engineering, growth etc.). You can also find women role models in fields other than tech including politics, law, media, medicine, humanities, and sports. By switching categories, you can find articles about multiple women leaders.

As a woman, I want to find a community of other women who I can look up to and learn from. I wish I had this as a young girl, when I didn’t know where to find role models in my life.

I finally learned that there are female role models, after attending Grace Hopper community events. This inspired me and showed me that I am not alone in my struggles.

To see the entire design process, read the full case study here.

There are several projects in the series. Read them all here.