Gender Bias in Healthcare Design?

I don’t run into it much, but there are still gender-bias and stereotypes in architecture. Sometimes it’s from an employer (mine is not like that at all), sometimes it’s from the guys on a construction site and sometimes, it’s from the client.

I didn’t expect to find gender-bias in the design of a high-tech fertility clinic in Greece.

The design Is super clean and high-tech, reflecting the values of the company providing these specific genetic services. The lobby and waiting area is white and sterile; with a modern couch looking moderately comfortable. The exam rooms, presumably for meeting with clients and performing examinations on the women about to receive treatment, are equally cold and sterile.

Photo comparison of gender-biased spaces within the fertility clinic. For image details refer to

Photo comparison of gender-biased spaces within the fertility clinic

The recovery rooms offer a touch of wood, but are still bright white, and offer limited privacy. I understand that lighting accuracy is important in recovery to make sure there are no problems or infections, but it is still pretty cold.

The specimen area, for men to produce their sperm is the opposite. Dark and masculine, the room offers warmth and privacy the women’s rooms are lacking.

I understand the necessity of making men feel comfortable as they prepare their donations to the process, but why are the rooms where women prepare to undergo such invasive procedures so cold and intimidating? While the sterile environment indicates the cleanliness of the procedures about to take place, it is hardly a comforting place for women nervous about the procedures ahead of them.

What do you think?

Cold and harsh? Is there a gender-bias in the design of this clinic? Let me know in a comment below, or find me on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn. Plus, sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.


Writing 101

This post is inspired by images I saw on Pinterest and as I’m participating in WordPress’ Writing 101 challenge I let the words fly in Day 1.


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