First female CPR dummy created to help save women’s lives

The WoManikin aims to tackle gender equality surrounding cardiac arrest. [Photo: JOAN Creative]
The WoManikin aims to tackle gender equality surrounding cardiac arrest. [Photo: JOAN Creative]

An advertising agency has created a first-of-its-kind attachment to turn a standard CPR dummy into a female version.

The product, called the ‘WoManikin’, was created in response to a recent study by Duke University, which found women suffering from a cardiac arrest in public are 27% less likely to receive CPR.

This is believed to be related to women’s breasts, which are not represented on a standard dummy model.

Factor in research from the British Heart Foundation, which found only 34% of women are likely to survive from the time of cardiac arrest to hospital admission, compared to 36% for men, and the need for such an initiative is clear.

The problem is a multi-faceted one. Not only are people unused to practising CPR on dummies which resemble woman’s bodies, but there is also a question of societal attitudes in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

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Last year, a University of Colorado survey found men are twice as likely to cite a fear of accusations of inappropriate touching or sexual assault as a reason for not administering CPR.

JOAN, the advertising agency that produced the WoManikin in partnership with the United State of Women, aims to tackle both sides of the problem.

The dummy attachment is designed to represent a woman’s torso – most importantly, with foam breasts.

Those using the attachment to train in CPR will be better placed to perform resuscitation on a woman’s body.

At the same time, a linked campaign aims to tackle the societal unease surrounding the potentially life-saving act.

JOAN aims to have its product distributed at CPR training courses across the United States.

"At the core of JOAN’s ethos is a deep-rooted commitment to gender equality," said JOAN co-founder and chief creative officer Jaime Robinson.

"When we read about [the Duke University] study and this long-standing problem in the world of CPR, we saw a relatively simple way to help change things.

"CPR manikins are designed to look like human bodies, but they actually represent less than half of our society,” she added.

“The absence of women’s bodies in CPR training results in hesitation from bystanders, which in turn results in women being more likely to die in cardiac arrest. Our hope is that the WoManikin will bridge this gap in education and, ultimately, save many lives."

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JOAN are launching their campaign for National CPR Awareness Week, which falls 1 to 7 June. It will include a social media challenge over Instagram Stories where women are asked to share video clips of themselves with two hand emojis over their heart, including the hashtag #GiveMeCPR.

Women being overlooked by the healthcare system is sadly nothing new. Last year, women shared all the times their medical problems were ignored by doctors in a viral thread.

Factor into this the increasing difficulty around women getting access to contraception and the old-fashioned speculum design which harks back to the 1840s, and it’s clear there is work to be done to move towards gender equality in healthcare.

For more information, visit the Womanikin website.