About the Book
Lady Business: self-service health care in the women’s restroom
MDes, Communication Planning & Information Design
School of Design
Carnegie Mellon University
Women work very hard to take care of their female health. Perhaps a little too hard.
To help women better meet their everyday health needs without skipping a beat, the Lady Business project asked if ordinary restroom vending machines could be developed to offer a wider range of products, including some that don’t yet exist. I researched the current experiences of women accessing contraception, seeking treatment for common infections, receiving care at clinics and pharmacies and spent a fair amount of time poking around women’s public restrooms.
Women I interviewed expressed frustrations with the way they currently obtain female health care. Long waits, feelings of shame and lack of access to needed products are common complaints.
The Lady Business self-service female health care concept I designed was created with a do‑it‑yourself (DIY) attitude in mind. By making products such as self-diagnostic kits and contraceptions more available, the self-service could empower women to take responsibility for their health by giving them tools to monitor and care for themselves. Surprisingly, much of the medical technology desired in these products already exists, but women either didn’t know about it or it simply isn’t offered.
To bring the Lady Business idea to life, I conducted workshops with women to develop aspects of the self-service. Then I designed prototypes of the vending machine and products to be sold inside, based on their needs and suggestions.