When we talk about empathy, our immediate assumption is that we are talking about people who share different experiences than ourselves. Empathy draws on people’s real-world experiences. My question that follows is how do we begin to collect and learn about others’ experiences? Those who work in the field of human-centered and empathy design know that field research is a crucial part of collecting data to help generate innovative responses to modern problems. But what does this field research truly look like? What kind of data is being collected? Obviously the answers to these questions vary depending on the problem at hand, but who is ensuring the diversity of the field?
In Caroline Criado-Perez’s research, she has statistically found that the largest and most persistent data gap is collecting data on women. How does a car crash affect the driver? We know how it affects a male driver because the crash dummy is based off the anatomy of a 50th percentile male. As a result, women are 47% more likely to be seriously injured and 17% more likely to die in a car crash. How do these statistics show empathy? They don’t. Data like this persists across research. This gap is detrimental to 50% of the world’s population. Criado-Perez describes the language used in data puts women at fault and not as the default. 
So how can we expect to be empathetic to all in design if our research is not accurately reflecting the population? Why hasn’t this changed? Why aren’t we, as women AND men, more angry that this gap in data is so widespread? Empathy is fundamental when it comes to research and human-centered design according to Empathy on the Edge. But how are meaningful connections made with the people we’re researching when they are statistically represented by majority male? Why are females forced to relate to men but not the other way around? 
As a female designer and researcher, I see the issue with these findings by Criado-Perez, but do others? Where is the fight for women in data? Throughout this post, I have uncovered many unanswered questions. As I continue to explore research for various projects, I hope to not only answer these questions, but find solutions. Gaps in data are never good, so let’s make it a goal to close this one.