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How Product Developers Can Please a Woman (CES 2009)

By: Katie Cordrey - Published: Jan 10, 2009 • References: blog.ce.org
Erica Eden and Agnete Enga of Smart Designs’ Femme Den joined Linda Tischler from Fast Company to present a session titled Design and Gender: Thinking About Sex, at the 2009 CES in Las Vegas Friday. The session explored gender-based physical and psychological differences and the effects those differences have on the way that the genders interact with and value products. Information was from Eden and Enga’s groundbreaking research on gender and design.

In the low-tech hunter-gatherer world, men were the hunters and women the gatherers. It should come as no surprise then that women buy or influence 80% of all purchases made for goods and services in today’s world. The fact that women represent the planet’s third largest economy has been largely overlooked by electronics product and design developers.

The Femme Den was founded by four women at Smart Design. They are Erica Eden (American), Agnete Enga (Norwegian), Yvonne Lin (Chinese-American), and Gina Reimann (British). Their goal is to draw connections between social, cultural and economic changes in design to satisfy the unmet needs of female consumers. The femmes want to see a more comprehensive approach than the “shrink it and pink it” that most manufacturers use, saying that women want more than color and finish--in fact, women generally find this ‘special group’ treatment offensive.

While that may be generally true, some women might take another approach and capitalize on cultural rhetoric as shown in the video above. It makes me think that feminist marketing may be forever doomed.