WOMEN AND MEN ARE NOT THE SAME – ERGONOMICS
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When it comes to ergonomics, it will never be a one size fits all approach. In this blog, we are narrowing our focus to the specific demographic of ergonomics for women workers.
Women aren’t small men, they have a different center of gravity, different sports history, think about cheerleaders or ballerinas. How they sit is different which has to do about muscle memory which comes from early sports activities. Therefore, women can have other causes of discomfort or pain injuries when they are working from home or the office.
What are the differences?
Different center of gravity - The new hype going on on social media, Tiktok, or Instagram where you can see the center of gravity challenge between men vs women. The challenge isn't that hard, they sit next to each other on their knees to have their forearms resting on the floor, followed by their elbows with their faces resting in their hands. Then, they quickly move their arms from the ground to behind their back. Most of the time the women can sit up straight where the men will fall forward. Studies show that a man's center of gravity is located near the chest while a women's center of gravity is around her pelvis.
Due to the difference of gravity, the positions of the hips and lower back are different than with men. This means women sit differently which must be taken into account when setting up a chair or workplace.
Different sports history - When most men are going to play soccer or basketball, ladies chose hockey, cheerleading/gymnastics, or ballet. Muscles may develop genetic markers during exercise that help the muscle growth in life. Due to this memory, your brain will automatically return to a posture whenever you thinking about it. Especially in sports where hypermobility is more normal, women are more likely to stand or sit in these positions when working.
Weight up top - Sometimes women could have more weight on the top, more breast tissue causes neck or shoulder pain. Breast tissue pulls a women's upper body forward, which can cause continuous tension on the neck, shoulders, and back muscles.
Most of the time women are the primary caregivers - Which means that they are rounding their shoulders when breastfeeding, or carrying a toddler on the hip. Most women have a dominant hip side to carry their children. Which can cause an asymmetry in the spine, which will carry over how women sit or stand.
"Skinny up" the waistline - Women are often taught to “Skinny up” the waistline. As they suk in the belly and wear a tight dress or something form-fitting. This is evicting how they stabilize their core and change how they are sitting every day.
All these differences can be causes to experience pain or discomfort for a woman, which not only can come from the (home)office set up. This needs to be taken into account from an ergonomic view.
How can Fit for Work help?
To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports women and men working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, contact us.