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Summary Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body where in a car accident you are 47% likely to be seriously injured where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valuedIf any of this sounds familiar chances are that you're a woman Invisible Women shows us how in a world largely built for and by men we ar Incredibly enlightening and frustrating

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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

That excludes womenAward winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten and the impact this has on their health and well being In making the case for change this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world an Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity It is an expos of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds or less as normal In urban planning politics the workplace It is also about what happens to women living in a world built on male data when things go wrong When they get sick When they lose their home in a flood When they have to flee that home because of warMy husband is not a knuckle dragging caveman but he is a middle aged white Canadian male totally oblivious to the privileges afforded to him by our society admittedly many of those privileges are granted to me as well We were in the car listening to the radio over the summer and It s a Man s World began to play Dave chuckled and said Boy things have changed eh And I replied And boy have they stayed the same And this stunned him You can t believe that he said Here s a story for you then A young girl at work I cut him off Young girl What is she eight or nine And then he was flustered You know what I mean I m just trying to tell you a nice story He paused like he was going to punish me by not telling me the story after all but soon continued Rebecca who is probably twenty five and on my team was asked by HR to assemble some slides for a presentation on the industry and she asked me if she could present it to me first She reads off the first slide which is about the gender pay gap and before she went to the next slide she frowned looked at her notes and said This is probably American data Because she knows that there s no gender pay gap in our office and if anything there are women than men in senior positions and women on a management track He looked proud of himself and he should I know that this non caveman the father of my daughters is not a sexist or a chauvinist but still I pushed my point If this had been a twenty five year old male in your story would you have started off with This young boy at work Because that s what hasn t changed and no matter what you consciously do to promote the careers and the welfare of the women you know it s the subconscious biases that are harder for us to navigate because you don t even know what you re doing that s holding us back Dave shocked to discover I felt this way wanted details about these subconscious biases of which I accused him And while women know that the systems are rigged against us it s hard to be specific until now Caroline Criado Perez has assembled a collection of shocking and eye opening stories in Invisible Women very clearly making the point that men for the most part aren t consciously trying to hold women back for the most part men don t think about women and the fact that our needs might differ from their own at all From medicine to safety devices to public transit everything is designed and tested to suit the typical male s body and needs with women s very different bodies and needs considered niche or secondary or the same but smaller It is mostly about the gender data gap the fact that nearly all studies and research even medical testing isn t disaggregated by sex so there is next to no data about how anything in our societies which tend to be designed by men for men affects women differently than men And where this is no data a thing in this case women is in effect invisible to those who do the planning in most cases men Informative shocking and usefully prescriptive Invisible Women is a must read for men and women everywhereThe specifics are fascinating dysmenorrhea extremely painful periods was found to be completely alleviated without side effects in the early stages of Viagra testing but its manufacturer stopped that direction of testing when it found the drug s profitable application women in police forces and armies around the world are forced to wear male body armour that doesn t account for breasts and hips and therefore leaves them vulnerable to attack and prone to workplace injury a female police officer in Spain was disciplined for acuiring her own made for women bulletproof vest NGOs tend to ask the male heads of household what is reuired in the aftermath of a disaster which has than once led to the construction of homes without kitchens in them but it would take a book length review to list everything fascinating in this book I ll just add some of Criado Perez s conclusions regarding the invisibility of women in public planning When planners fail to account for gender public spaces become male spaces by default The reality is that half the global population has a female body Half the global population has to deal with the sexualised menace that is visited on that body The entire global population needs the care that currently is mainly carried out unpaid by women These are not niche concerns and if public spaces are truly to be for everyone we have to start accounting for the lives of the other half of the world And as we ve seen this isn t just a matter of justice it s also a matter of simple economics The invisibility of women in the workplace Women have always worked They have worked unpaid underpaid underappreciated and invisibly but they have always worked But the modern workplace does not work for women From its location to its hours to its regulatory standards it has been designed around the lives of men and is no longer fit for purpose The world of work needs a wholesale redesign of its regulations of its euipment of its culture and this redesign must be led by data on female bodies and female lives And the invisibility of women in the political sphere The data we already have makes it abundantly clear that female politicians are not operating on a level playing field The system is skewed towards electing men which means that the system is skewed towards perpetuating the gender gap in global leadership with all the attendant negative repercussions for half the world s population We have to stop willfully closing our eyes to the positive discrimination that currently works in favour of men We have to stop acting as if theoretical legal euality of opportunity is the same as true euality of opportunity And we have to implement an evidence based electoral system that is designed to ensure that a diverse group of people is in the room when it comes to deciding on the laws that govern us all The first step to true euality of opportunity and outcome would be to close this gender data gap wherever there is evidence of ineuality decent people do tend to advocate for change but this will take women in decision making roles it s disheartening to read of the many researchers who can t get grants to study issues that affect only women as they are too niche and that takes time I remember back in the 80s my mother complaining that the medical world tended to treat women like small men instead of maybe just maybe something not the same as men So yeah that was a long time ago and it s still a man s world

Caroline Criado Perez Ì 2 Review

E systematically ignoring half the population It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual systemic discrimination against women and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s livesFrom government policy and medical research to technology workplaces urban planning and the media Invisible Women reveals the biased data This is a book about unconscious bias It s not about men deliberately excluding women when considering things like uniforms city travel or treatments for medical conditions although it s true that once the bias is pointed out it s not always top of the list to make safety adjustments And that s really one of the most important points of the book it endangers women if you design and build the world without considering women s needs and habits Women are built in a particular way and they are socially conditioned in a particular way and they re treated in a particular way comparing all this to men s situation is useful only to a certain extent because it is so easy for everyone to slip into the mindset that men are the default human and women are as the author notes niche We design things for people but really only think of men and their needs because and companies and designers are open about this women are harder with our non linear bodies and hormones meaning that sophisticated and expensive research needs to be doneWe also design things for men because men are the designers for the most part They have no experience being women of course and don t really look into it because for the most part it doesn t occur to them If you re a woman just think about all the books you ve read through the years about male experience with a male protagonist and presented or even taught to you as human experience We do it all the time and I read books regularly with male protagonists sorting out their stuff if you follow me here you ll see plenty of ex Navy SEALS running around But women s experience in novels and poems That s women s experience only My point here is that while women are trained to identify with both men and women and indeed possibly favor the male experience men aren t trained to look at or think about women s experience Criado Perez has really done her research but what could have been a very statistic heavy book is in fact very readable engaging and so enlightening The Introduction should really be published on its own it s magnificent This is a book to buy and keep and get some of those sticky notes because you ll want to mark pages for future reference


10 thoughts on “Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

  1. says:

    I really dislike conspiracy theories – in fact few things make me angrier The reason is that a conspiracy generally involves people plotting and planning and those people who are assumed to have the power to bring the conspiracy into effect generally have been shown in history to be pretty stupid – in fact far too stupid to do the conspiracy and keep uiet about it Conspiracy theories also tend to involve improbable leaps of faith alo

  2. says:

    Incredibly enlightening and frustrating

  3. says:

    Do not read this if you are suffering from high blood pressure because it is absolutely rage inducing However EVERYONE shoul

  4. says:

    Simply said if someone is in power he tries to make a policy that meets his wishes and reflects the image of the society company etc h

  5. says:

    I don't know who would possibly want a man's opinion on a book about the problems with male default bias but here's my reviewThis is essentia

  6. says:

    This is a book about unconscious bias It's not about men deliberately excluding women when considering things like uniforms city travel or treatments for medical conditions although it's true that once the bias is pointed out it's not always top of the list to make safety adjustments And that's really one of the most important points of the book it endangers women if you design and build the world without considering w

  7. says:

    This is a really good comprehensive investigation of how a failure to account for gender based needs and reuirements results in a bia

  8. says:

    This is a long delayed hugely important book which people of ALL genders should be reading Sadly people seem to

  9. says:

    Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity It is an exposé of how the ge

  10. says:

    Most of recorded human history is one big data gap Starting with the theory of Man the Hunter the chroniclers of the past have left l