Lens 3

Tool 4.

Empathy map

The next phase of the creation and development process is focused on the identification of problems whose solutions will be crucial to obtain an innovative product or service with a gender perspective. The birth of insights will occur when processing and synthesizing the information that has been previously collected and with which the design problem will be faced. The following tool helps to synthesize the observations and discover those unexpected insights.

Many tangible product and service industries, despite good intentions, continue to neglect women and other discriminatory groups. In many cases it has been shown that it is not about creating different products but about how they target their clientele and what needs they are seeking to satisfy. Having one person in mind when creating product strategies or trying to solve a problem is a strong reminder that everything is finally done for consumers.

This tool seeks to increase empathy with the target clientele or clientele to facilitate the creation of products that meet those needs and alleviate pain points that are not being addressed. 


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Tool 4.

Empathy map

In the creation and development of products, there is a tendency to think that women are complicated and that is why the development of any solution aimed at this group seems to be tinged with a certain complexity. This tool helps to elucidate the true needs of people and to understand that the misnamed “complexity” depends on the lens with which it is viewed.

The challenge of creating and developing gender-sensitive products might seem like embarking on a journey with an elusive goal, but it is worth remembering that early in the history of product design, in the late 19th century, improvements or Changes in a product were made based on satisfying the needs of the user or to generate efficiencies in its manufacture and marketing. Nowadays, with the evolution of marketing strategies, faster consumption and more aggressive markets, products seek the desired differentiation at the cost of everything, and with that, unnecessarily differentiated products by gender arise, based on preconceptions that, Instead of generating efficiencies and better costs for the consumer society, together they deepen the gaps by generating more expensive products for a particular sex.

Companies, by taking up existing ideas in society about the behaviors and attitudes that are considered appropriate for women and men, can transfer stereotypes and gender roles to the design of their products, thus helping to promote them. Faced with social changes and the need to make equal opportunities for everyone a reality, there are new business opportunities in the design of products that are free from stereotypes and that meet the real needs of women and girls.

“Companies that make sex-differentiated products will no doubt argue that they are giving people what they demand. If the public demanded undifferentiated products, then the companies would surely be offering them that “

This statement can be interpreted as a reflection of a business force that has no intention of taking responsibility for the messages it sends to society through its products, but with these tools it is intended to create that social responsibility in companies and demonstrate that having a Gender perspective is beneficial both for her and for society.

Although it seems that it is proposing to forget about the market demands collected by conventional research methodologies, what is sought is to feed the data with a closer look and a deeper understanding to contribute to closing the inequality gap between men and women.

Steps for implementation

1) Divide the space into four quadrants and place: Say, Do, Think and Feel in each quadrant.

2) Place a drawing or photograph of the user in the middle. Give him a name and a short description of who he is and what he does. At this point it is suggested to pay attention to how the person is described so as not to reproduce gender stereotypes.

3) Everyone writes down what they know about the user on a sticky note. A note for observation, placing them in the corresponding quadrant.

4) Group the observations within the same quadrant that can be seen to be related by trying to find patterns.

 5) Imagine that you are in the shoes of that user and how different aspects of your life can influence what you need.

What do you mean by Say, Do, Think, and Feel?


A good source of information to carry out this tool is in-depth interviews. To find out how to carry them out, visit tool 2. In-depth interview, in this same lens

Example of tool application


Bianca is a master’s student who is busy all the time. She drinks coffee in the morning and sometimes at lunch. She is usually at school from 10am to 8pm and orders take out for lunch and sometimes for dinner. If she doesn’t order takeout for lunch, she cooks something when she gets home. She is always looking for ways to save time throughout the day.


Jorge is a young engineer who works for a transnational packaging manufacturing company. He has a wide variety of day-to-day responsibilities and many future travel and study plans. He is looking to buy his first television.

The products and services that least reflect the values, preferences and lifestyles of women and girls are products with a certain technological complexity, since this field has been dominated by men for years, and they inadvertently carry their “blindness” on the needs. from the other half of the population to product development.

In a study carried out by designers of products and interaction, promoted by the Danish government , the preferences of each sex regarding the use of advanced technology products were examined. The project sought to show the commercial and business potential by directing these types of products also to satisfy the needs of women.

An important finding –which illustrates quite well the economic benefits of not continuing to reproduce gender roles– was that the skills and inclinations for the use and consumption of technology and financial solutions are related to the motivation that the person has and that, in their turn, Again, it depends on whether or not it fits with the gender role assigned by society. As a strategy to eliminate gender stereotypes in the products developed in this project, different profiles of women were included, as stated in the tools of this toolkit.

Having different representations of women and men helps to break with the preconceptions that one has about the sexes, so it will be essential to look for a wide diversity of profiles of one and the other.

The empathy map collects information, ensures and provides visibility into people’s true needs and pain points that need to be resolved by products and services, free of stereotypes and with a gender focus.

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This toolbox is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Contract No. AID OAA-C-17-00090. The contents of this toolkit are the sole responsibility of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.