Clarissa
Martins

Clarissa was born and raised in Canada with Portuguese roots. She has always had a creative eye, especially when it comes to problem-solving. Using an unconventional problem-solving mindset when designing solutions allows her to improve products making them better for the end-user. Clarissa learned about Product Design by taking part in the Applied Interdisciplinary Design course at Burnaby South Secondary. Since then, she has completed her undergrad in Product Design at the Wilson School of Design at KPU.

"To me, design is the backbone of how things work. Being a product designer allows me to help people in many design to make stuff. I design products with a purpose." - CM

Enhancing Body Armour for Female Police Officers

ADIRA is a Type 1 Classified Body Armour for female police officers. Providing optimal protective coverage, maximizes mobility and fits female officers comfortably. Allowing officers to complete their tasks and not have to worry that they are wearing an ill fitted personal protection equipment (PPE).

ADIRA’s Sizing Chart considers 3 different measurement categories including the body, upper torso, and bra size. Including this in-depth sizing chart in my design was important to me because one size does not fit all, we must design for all shapes and sizes. It is crucial that when working in a high-risk environment these primary users are able to purchase body armour that fits their body properly. These 3 different measurement categories ensure that there is more variation in sizing and female officers can receive a garment that is custom to their body.

Background

As designers, we have the capability to influence how the world is shaped. Gender equality is important to consider when designing products and systems.

Our widely adopted, unisex design approach, that uses the standard (western) male, to design our spaces, cars, and algorithms around is letting women down. It has led Google Translate to believe “doctor” is male. It makes women 47% more likely to get seriously injured in a car crash, and it enables voice recognition software to 70% more accurately recognize male speech than female speech

– Caroline Criado-Pérez, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Male bias is strongly ingrained in our society; however, it is the twenty-first century, and it is time to recognize that women do drive cars now, and they are doctors, police officers, and firefighters. Let us change the design process accordingly, and design for all. To design better products, diversity in design teams is important to have. Having people of different genders and ethnicities on a design team allows us to uncover hidden biases and break social norms. The more diversity on a team, the fewer gaps we have.

As a designer, I wanted to explore and investigate male-dominated occupations to see how they provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for their female workers. There are many female officers on active duty working at the frontlines to protect our society and are put in great danger on the daily. The body armour they wear is designed for ‘standard’ male bodies. Wearing these vests can be uncomfortable for women and can raise significant safety and health issues. It can leave larger areas of the body unprotected, hindering movement, and putting strain on organs in the female bodies.

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