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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% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you're a woman. Invisible Women shows us how, in 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% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If 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 are 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 lives. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. Award-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 anew


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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% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you're a woman. Invisible Women shows us how, in 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% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If 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 are 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 lives. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. Award-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 anew

30 review for Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    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 quiet about it. Conspiracy theories also tend to involve improbable leaps of faith along the way, you know, like the one that the US government 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 quiet about it. Conspiracy theories also tend to involve improbable leaps of faith along the way, you know, like the one that the US government was involved in bringing down the Twin Towers at 9/11. These theories become so convoluted and improbable that eventually it would be easier to just blame aliens. But the real reason I hate conspiracy theories is that a conspiracy implies that the bad shit that happens in our world is hidden from us by powerful elites – and the fact is that the really, really bad shit in our world isn’t hidden from us at all. I think conspiracy theories have an appeal to us because they basically pardon us for our inaction. How were we supposed to do something about stuff we didn’t even know was happening? – Damn you, you evil conspirators! But really, whether it be climate change, third world debt, HIV/AIDS, American gun laws, the Iraq war, the slaughter and man-made famine in Yemen, the pollution of our oceans, referring to fossil fuels as ‘freedom fuels’ (no, I didn’t make that one up, even though I wish I had https://www.sbs.com.au/news/us-rebran...) – none of this is hidden from us. None of this needs a conspiracy to explain it. All of the murder, all of the destruction, all of the ‘let’s end all life on the planet for a bit more money’ is done in broad daylight with our noses pushed right up into it. And all of this is a million times more terrifying than the idea that the US government blew up a couple of buildings. Yet we watch our nightly news, yawn, roll over and fall back to sleep. This book is about one of those non-conspiracies we sort of know about but do stuff all to fix. The way we treat women is so breathtakingly appalling it would be nice if there was some sort of conspiracy theory involved here to relieve us of our complicity. This book argues that how women are treated isn’t really due to the evil patriarchy, a bit like the Elders of Zion plotting the overthrow of the Tzar, but that how our society ignores women makes how they are treated inevitable. It says that many of the reasons that women are so badly treated in our society is because most of the people with power, most of the people who get to make the decisions that make a difference in the world, are men – and it isn’t that men consciously go out of their way to make life shit for women (even though you would have to wonder sometimes) but rather, they do this because they are men, and as such they design the world to work for them. And when that world simply doesn’t work for women, these men don’t even notice because they simply don’t inhabit the same world that women inhabit. There is no conspiracy theory required – just neglect, self-interest, and perhaps a little dose of wilful blindness based on those with power focused solely on their own needs. The author blames a lot of the problems here on gaps in the data. There were lots of things I didn’t know. I didn’t know that car crash dummies are mostly ‘male’ – particularly driver dummies – and that they are based on what you could call ‘middle man’, about the average in terms of weight and height and everything else. I didn’t know that many drugs that are often almost exclusively given to women (think antidepressants say) are often almost exclusively trialled on men. I didn’t know that Viagra could potentially help cure PMT, but that the drug companies don’t want to put it through the clinical trials to do this since it is such a profitable drug that if they find out it causes problems in women it might cause problems that would kill the goose that laid the golden egg. There are lots of examples here of instances of things like men getting free condoms and women not having access to sanitary products that just make your blood boil. When it is pointed out it is hard to not come to the conclusion that we men really are arseholes. This book gets depressing very quickly. There is just case after case of things that made me say, ‘Oh, for god’s sake – who makes this shit up?’ Like how women are often excluded from drug trails altogether because they have hormones that change over the month and so that might make testing the drug a bit more difficult. Which is a bit like designing trousers for men assuming they don’t have penises because, well, it just makes it easier. And before you laugh, the author gives at least half a dozen examples where things are poorly designed to fit women because women have the audacity to grow breasts. This is an infuriating book. We are effectively murdering women – in fact, often we are actually murdering women and too often we do this by paying no attention at all to the physiological, social, cultural and power differences that exist between the sexes. There was a bit early on in this book where I got a bit worried. She started to discuss the problems associated with women in academia – what has become my world – and while all of these problems are very, very real, I was worried that this book might end up a kind of ‘glass ceiling’ book. And after reading Feminism for the 99% A Manifesto – I’m going to have to get around to reviewing that eventually – I’m worried about ‘feminist’ books that only notice the issues that impact rich, white women. But this book brought intersectionality into its analysis too – you know, if you are black and female, you might want to travel out of the US to give birth, I’m just saying. This book ought to make you angry. Not least because the answer to many of the problems identified would simply involve listening to women. I knew many of the things discussed here. For instance, that many more women than men died in the tsunami in 2004. The reason? Women look after children and old people, women are often in locations where they can’t hear the warnings signals, women are less likely to learn to swim, women are less likely to learn to climb trees, women are constrained by ‘modesty’ in clothes that make escaping rising water almost impossible – and if they do escape they are likely to be raped and possibly bashed by men. If you are not made angry by this book you have no humanity left. But the solution is often also painfully simple. We need to listen to women. We need to place them in positions of power. We need to involve them in decision making processes that impact them. I know, radical ideas, but we might as well start big and work down from there. The instance that will stay with me from this book was about public transport – it had just never occurred to me. Most public transport users are women. Men drive cars, women catch the bus. But public transport systems are designed by men. So, they are designed to radiate out from the centre of cities – much like fingers splayed out from the palm of a hand. Which is great for men going to work and then back home again – but not so great for women who might need to get the kids off to school, check on their aging parents, and then work in three part-time jobs that are close enough to home to collect the kids again from school, all of which might not be in a direct line into the centre of the city. Public transport systems are designed by men to suit the needs of men, but are mostly used by women, and so often don’t meet the needs of the majority of its users. Shit like that has really got to stop. Thanks Avolyn for recommending this to me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    Incredibly enlightening... and frustrating.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Do not read this if you are suffering from high blood pressure, because it is absolutely rage inducing. However EVERYONE should read this at some point, it looks at things that I had never even considered, genuinely brilliant. Second Read- so.... my Feminist bookclub have this on the list, so gave it a reread- just as goddamn rage inducing on the second read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    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 he wants to build. This can be done in a direct, evil way by treating minorities, women, atheists, etc. with repression until imprisonment, torture and death if they misbehave and in these cases, it is an obvious crime. It gets more subtle when bigotry and indoctrination kick in and lead to both politicians and managers that are not all direct, misogynic sexist 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 he wants to build. This can be done in a direct, evil way by treating minorities, women, atheists, etc. with repression until imprisonment, torture and death if they misbehave and in these cases, it is an obvious crime. It gets more subtle when bigotry and indoctrination kick in and lead to both politicians and managers that are not all direct, misogynic sexists. That would either fit the requirements their spin doctors taught them for winning the next election nor the code of conduct, corporate responsibility or whatever ethic mumbo jumbo the PR department has in planning. Those white, rich man's minds have been poisoned by influences of faith, elitist thinking and inhumanity and many of them simply had no chance to get out of this vicious cycle, because it makes no difference if it is a cult, an extremist group or a billionaires club, they are all pretty misguided and pitiful. The worst case, both for women and for the possibility to real change, are those who believe that they are doing the right thing and would call themselves emancipated but keep on pushing laws and employment contracts that discriminate against women indirectly and perfidiously. They don´t give any kind of appreciation, allowance or financial help to mothers without whose immense pain and effort each nation would die out because no kids would be born anymore. They don´t give a dollar for all the unpaid work, the caring for toddlers and especially care-dependent elders and without this, the health system would simply collapse. There are medicinal research areas that are taught, shaped and mainly tested on man. It is a simple economic reason why men are preferred in all kinds of long going and very expensive admission procedures for drugs because they don´t get pregnant and have no staggering hormone levels. The result is that many side effects may cause much more harm in women because they haven´t been tested in such large numbers or anyway. The same questions plops up with the harmfulness of, well, anything, like any kind of food additive, environmental toxins and the regulatory limits. Tested and found harmless for men with an official quality seal. Tested with younger and older women with different hormone levels, muscle mass and probably pregnancy? "Nope, would have been too difficult and expensive, sorry, nobody does that, probably in Amazon wonderland, but not here." There are no numbers available regarding the side effects of all drugs, environmental destruction and food risks, but let's say that there may be an unknown number of women that would have profited from clean 50 male/ 50 female test series instead of dying. I find it really difficult to decide if the simple, logical, economic greed is more disgusting than the reminiscences and aftermaths of all those very old, sexist writings by weird old men. Those two axes of evil certainly exponentiate each other, learn from each other and produce the right social and consumer products for him who unofficially still deems women inferior. In design, the number of toilets is a prime example of male domination. This is not deadly, in contrast to using crash test dummies that are normed as male or giving free condoms and restricting female contraception, but an instance of simply forgetting that there is another gender out there. Or designing public transport in a way that makes it impossible to do more than just manly things like driving from home to work and back and not caring about things like groceries, kids and stuff. It would also be more expensive to tailor clothes that fit better at hips and breasts, so it simply isn´t done. As much talk as there is about gendering, sexual harassment, eating disorders, etc. so less is heard about those topics in mainstream media. Those would probably bash the religious groups as long as the broadcast corporation doesn´t belong to the Kraken. But they wouldn´t even touch the economic problems with pincers and gloves, cause they all are very dependent on the companies advertising their products. There are no men in general to blame, but a society and upbringing that makes them so blind to the different necessities of half of the population that their work, publications and statistics get highly subconscious biased, onesided, dangerous and often even deadly, as seen in medicine, especially pharmacy, one of the sickest examples of misleading science I have ever seen, especially because it is so obvious and could be easily prevented. "This is a men biased world", one could sing and yes, the so-called strong gender built the whole world with a focus on efficiency, profit or prestige and didn´t listen, care or even think of the needs of all their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. And they inherited this behavior to their sons instead who live in a world of big data with algorithms, AI and immense potential to use all those tools to improve life for all people, but instead, as daddy taught them, they simply ignore, forget or, the easiest way, don´t even evaluate the data about women to jump in their money storage instead and let gold coins softly recoil from their bald head (from daddy too) producing a hollow sound from a skull just filled with .... By empowering women, making a strict law to make half of each government and management leadership ranks half female, make all research transparent with tools like blockchain and dumping direct and indirect sexism in the trash can of history right next to all the other sick ideas out of white men's heads. This is another great book about the topic: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... I like to talk about WEIRD and the topic is a prime example of it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychol... A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real-life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%2... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emancip... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violenc... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminiz... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employm... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereot... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intra-h... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unpaid_... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valuati... Categories https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    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 review. This is essentially a collection of statistics which entail how systems made by men and for men are minimizing and marginalizing the other 50% of the population. It does this by breaking the statistics down into chapter-spanning categories and creating a cohesive narrative to explain how all of these events are related and come back to the same basic problem. I would r 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 review. This is essentially a collection of statistics which entail how systems made by men and for men are minimizing and marginalizing the other 50% of the population. It does this by breaking the statistics down into chapter-spanning categories and creating a cohesive narrative to explain how all of these events are related and come back to the same basic problem. I would recommend this book to any man who identifies as "not sexist." Because this makes it clear that even treatment that men believe is fair, un-sexist, and in the best interest of women, is still entirely subjective to their inherently male worldview. This book really shook up my views on what equal consideration for both men and women should look like. To anyone who thinks, "Why can't women be more like men," or that women should follow the exact same rules and be given the exact same treatment, read this book. You will develop a very thorough understanding of how, both now and historically, one-size-fits-all rules generally conflate what favors society as a whole with what favors the men who write them. Consequently, equal consideration to both men and women often requires unequal treatment, because, surprising as this may be to many men, women don't necessarily have the same needs. I listened to the audiobook, which happens to be narrated by the author. This, I think, was a huge benefit, as the tones and inflections of the author convey the feeling and intended meaning of every word. This does, of course, mean that the author's (understandably) frustrated bias often comes through in the subtext, but I think that's important in order to glean not only the data and statistics, but an actual woman's perspective on them. It doesn't blur the actual data being presented, so I think the book is better for it. My one complaint is that the information in this book was borderline overwhelming. A majority of the content entails half-hour cascades of one statistic after another, and I found that my proverbial eyes would glaze over occasionally and I would have to back up and try again. This is unfortunately inevitable, as there are only so many ways to convey this information to the reader. It also draws to light the sheer volume of the unconscious and invisible discriminations that happen every day, and I commend the author's ability to gather and present them so entirely. Another side effect of the volume of information is that I don't feel particularly empowered to personally incite a change. I often found myself nodding along with most of the book, but I'm left feeling very unclear as to what to do next. I do, however, believe that I am armed with facts that I didn't have before, and I can use this knowledge to call out the injustices that occur within my sphere of influence. As a whole, most of this book felt like a persuasive essay along the lines of, "You want proof that male privilege exists, that most systems of governance are biased toward men, and that women are literally dying because of it? Well here's your proof." And the proof is appalling. Point taken.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

    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 th 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 more sophisticated (and more expensive) research needs to be done. We 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!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Harris

    This is a long-delayed, hugely important book, which people of ALL genders should be reading. Sadly, more people seem to be discussing it than have actually read it. It's not just about crash test dummies, or voice recognition software, or airline seats, or toilet queues, or medical research. It's about the systematic way in which data on women has been ignored, neglected and downright erased, whereas data on men is not only abundant, but recognized as the universal norm. The needs of the "avera This is a long-delayed, hugely important book, which people of ALL genders should be reading. Sadly, more people seem to be discussing it than have actually read it. It's not just about crash test dummies, or voice recognition software, or airline seats, or toilet queues, or medical research. It's about the systematic way in which data on women has been ignored, neglected and downright erased, whereas data on men is not only abundant, but recognized as the universal norm. The needs of the "average person" boil down to the needs of the *average man*, and though not all men *are* average, there's still an enduring attitude that male is a default position and female, an aberration. I found myself recognizing so many situations depicted in this book - things I thought that only I had experienced, but which turn out to be common to pretty much all women, whether they're aware of it or not. Read this, and you'll start noticing inequalities you never even considered before. And you'll notice them everywhere.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lior

    This is a really good comprehensive investigation of how a failure to account for gender based needs and requirements results in a bias towards cis men. This is exactly why the casual cissexism embedded in it is so unfortunate and harmful. Perez critics the continuous overlooking of women and women's needs, but is herself continuously overlooking trans and nonbinary people. She also keeps switching between sex and gender as interchangeable. The most problematic claim is that a lack of sex-segregate This is a really good comprehensive investigation of how a failure to account for gender based needs and requirements results in a bias towards cis men. This is exactly why the casual cissexism embedded in it is so unfortunate and harmful. Perez critics the continuous overlooking of women and women's needs, but is herself continuously overlooking trans and nonbinary people. She also keeps switching between sex and gender as interchangeable. The most problematic claim is that a lack of sex-segregated bathrooms in some places increases rape and sexual assault. This is clearly focusing on the wrong aspect of a problem, while creating new problems for people who don't fit the norm. It is extremely disappointing in the context of shedding light on how women are seen as a deviation of the cis male norm, who is seen as default. A critical book published in 2019 which deals with gender cannot ignore trans folks. It is simply not good enough to address cis people exclusively in such a comprehensive book. Hope there will be a better, more inclusive edition soon, as it is highly important this kind of information be accessible for all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposé of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more 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 war. My husband is not a knuckle-dragging caveman, but he is a mi Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposé of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more 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 war. My 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 more women than men in senior positions, and more 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 more 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 everywhere. The 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 more 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 more prone to workplace injury (a female police officer in Spain was disciplined for acquiring her own made-for-women bulletproof vest); NGOs tend to ask the male heads of household what is required in the aftermath of a disaster, which has, more 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 equipment, 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 equality of opportunity is the same as true equality 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 equality of opportunity and outcome would be to close this gender data gap – wherever there is evidence of inequality, decent people do tend to advocate for change – but this will take more 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Incredibly interesting!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I decided to read ‘Invisible Women’ after coming across an extract from it in the Guardian and associated discussion on twitter. Both focused on how practically everything is designed for the mythical ‘average man’. I'm very aware of this due to being only 5ft tall. I cannot reach any overhead racks in trains, hanging straps in buses, or top shelves in supermarkets. I’ve given up on backpacks because they’re never comfortable and find smart phones incredibly unwieldy to use, one of many reasons I decided to read ‘Invisible Women’ after coming across an extract from it in the Guardian and associated discussion on twitter. Both focused on how practically everything is designed for the mythical ‘average man’. I'm very aware of this due to being only 5ft tall. I cannot reach any overhead racks in trains, hanging straps in buses, or top shelves in supermarkets. I’ve given up on backpacks because they’re never comfortable and find smart phones incredibly unwieldy to use, one of many reasons I hate them. The desk and chair I work in are too high for me to sit comfortably, so I have to adjust my posture all the time. Constant minor inconveniences of this kind are something I’ve just learned to live with. Such relatively trivial examples are useful to highlight a much more serious point: the world is still largely designed by and for men. Perez considers the impact of this in a variety of specific areas including politics and healthcare, repeatedly highlighting the lack of data on women’s experiences and need for this to understand and improve them. While I found the book very readable, after a while this started to feel slightly more like a weakness than a virtue. By this I mean that any given section could be lifted out and published as a high quality thinkpiece. Perez cites more supporting evidence than most, however I felt that the book had rather a loose thesis and didn't make very strong suggestions for solutions. Perhaps I am merely quicker to blame capitalism than she is? (I tend to blame capitalism for practically everything - probably because practically everything is capitalism’s fault.) For example, one chapter criticises GDP as an inaccurate measure of economic activity, which it is, then suggests economic growth could be achieved by encouraging more women into paid work through better childcare and tax policy. This felt like a rather simplistic summary of the many flaws in GDP, notably its disregard of environmental costs, and of women in work, as underpaid bullshit jobs aren't necessarily liberating. That said, I share her incredulity that big pharma has no interest in researching period pain and PMS. So many women, including myself, would pay good money on a regular basis for some over-the-counter solution to the nightmare of periods. Nurofen just doesn’t cut it and GPs have little to offer. Come on, markets, supply a good to meet our needs! To put my griping in context: I found the book well-argued and written, however it is definitely a piece of longform journalism rather than a work of feminist economics, politics, or theory. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more depth over breadth. That is just my preference, though, and it would be very unfair to criticise the book for not being something it never claimed to be. The topic is vast and Perez has chosen a good range of examples to illustrate key areas. Thus it’s very depressing to read if you regularly experience what it describes. This hit me particularly hard, as it summarises my first year as a junior lecturer: But their unpaid work inside the workplace doesn’t help either. When students have an emotional problem, it is their female professors, not their male professors, they turn to. Students are also more likely to request extensions, grade boosts, and rule-bending of female academics. In isolation, a request of this kind isn’t likely to take up much time or mental energy - but they add up, and they constitute a cost on female academics’ time that male academics mostly aren’t even aware of, and that universities don’t account for. [...] The inequity of women being loaded with less valued work is compounded by the system for evaluating this work, which is itself systematically biased against women. [...] Less effective male professors routinely receive higher student evaluations than more effective female teachers. Students believe that male professors hand marking back more quickly - even when that is impossible because it’s an online course delivered by a single lecturer, but where half the students are led to believe that the professor is male and half female. Female professors are penalised if they aren’t deemed sufficiently warm and accessible. But if they are warm and accessible they can be penalised for not appearing authoritative or professional. On the other hand, appearing authoritative and knowledgeable as a woman can result in student disapproval, because this violates gendered expectations. Meanwhile men are rewarded if they are accessible at a level that is simply expected in women and therefore only noticed if its absent. You really can’t win in academia. Anecdotally, I’ve observed a pattern of senior male professors taking on postgraduate supervisees, then being so inaccessible that these orphan students turn to more junior female professors for guidance. Rather than tell such students to send their supervisor another email I try to help them, effectively taking on work that’s being shirked by men paid twice as much as me. The book didn’t just cover sexism that I was already aware of on a daily basis. The chapter on international development and disaster response was eye-opening and, inevitably, deeply depressing. Perez recognises the important racial as well as gendered elements there and at other points, which is helpful. I found her introductory definitions of sex and gender rather unsatisfactory, though. They are unnecessarily biologically essentialist, and thus surprisingly old-fashioned in tone. This doesn’t undermine Perez’s arguments as such, but it’s a bit disappointing as with only slight editing they could have been much more inclusive. Regarding exciting new manifestations of sexism, I really liked the discussion of how automation via algorithms amplifies bias in training datasets. It’s interesting to compare Perez’s suggestion of more granular data-gathering and rigorous testing of algorithms with the fundamental critique of Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. There’s a lot more to be said about how crude and reductive data mining can be; sexism is by no means the only form of inequality that can be reproduced through automation. By looking for correlations in big data without any interest in causation, analytics will find gendered behaviour patterns without providing any explanation for why they might differ, let alone whether these differences are fair. I’d highly recommend ‘Invisible Women’ to men as a readable evidence base for 21st century gender inequality. I’d recommend it to women with the caveat that it’s a reminder of the many ways that being female sucks (albeit to different degrees depending on ethnicity, wealth, nationality, etc). The Guardian extract is an accurate representation of the book as a whole - it has the readability and passion of high quality journalism, without the systematic insight of more academic work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Candie

    Eye opening!!! So interesting to see how deep inequality really goes systemically. I mean you know it does, but I've never looked at it through the eyes of all of this data before, or lack there of. It discusses a lot of topics that are not generally talked about when people are talking about gender inequality. Areas that you have never even thought about; for example things like snow removal, public transportation, how public bathrooms are designed. Some of the things discussed are life threate Eye opening!!! So interesting to see how deep inequality really goes systemically. I mean you know it does, but I've never looked at it through the eyes of all of this data before, or lack there of. It discusses a lot of topics that are not generally talked about when people are talking about gender inequality. Areas that you have never even thought about; for example things like snow removal, public transportation, how public bathrooms are designed. Some of the things discussed are life threatening, like the symptoms for a heart attack or the use of crash test dummies, but some are less so. However, when all of this data to all of these situations are added up, it can become very life threatening as it leads to a very large gap between genders. Very interesting. Also, keep in mind that although this book has many stories added in to make it quite readable, it is still a book based around data. I do think it is a very important read though as it discusses data and solutions that otherwise would likely not be discussed as they are so ingrained into our society we usually don't even notice. There is no one person making these rules that we can just blame and fight against; there are so many subconscious biases in all areas of our lives, and this book really points out so many. Definitely recommend as it is a great starting place to identifying the areas that need improvement.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Read this if you're ready to get mad about how basically every research study done and used to create solutions to problems for "all people" are based on the average white male. Not surprising, but infuriating to see it laid out so plainly. I've always been so angered about technology being not useful for my tiny hands, and it's relieving -- and again, angering and frustrating -- this is just a norm of being female when research completely excludes the fact your body isn't the average white dude Read this if you're ready to get mad about how basically every research study done and used to create solutions to problems for "all people" are based on the average white male. Not surprising, but infuriating to see it laid out so plainly. I've always been so angered about technology being not useful for my tiny hands, and it's relieving -- and again, angering and frustrating -- this is just a norm of being female when research completely excludes the fact your body isn't the average white dude. And don't get me started on the viagra research. Crucial reading for feminists and for anyone who does product research. There is so much work to be done.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)

    You know the feeling when you have known something all your life but everyone else thinks your mental when you talk about it. How often I have been told to be exaggerating when I pointed out bias against women. I mean most people will agree that it exists, but when I go on about how systematic it is, stacked against us in a way that it feels impossible to win or even pull a draw... then eyes start to glaze over. In comes @ccriadoperez excellent book that I recommend everyone to read especially a You know the feeling when you have known something all your life but everyone else thinks your mental when you talk about it. How often I have been told to be exaggerating when I pointed out bias against women. I mean most people will agree that it exists, but when I go on about how systematic it is, stacked against us in a way that it feels impossible to win or even pull a draw... then eyes start to glaze over. In comes @ccriadoperez excellent book that I recommend everyone to read especially all of you engaged in designing and creating spaces within society to check your understanding of your own bias. We are all biased, but if you start to consider your bias as the truth then that’s an issue. Absolutely fantastic book and thanks to my husband for getting this for me for Christmas knowing that he would have to endure me reading out entire passages and ranting about the world, I appreciate it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Popsugar challenge 2020 - A Book Recommended by your favourite Vlog / A Book that won an Award in 2019 This is my least favourite non fiction format as its pretty data heavy but such a fascinating read that it was quite enjoyable wading through it. This books focuses on us, females. 50% of the world population and we rarely feature in any statistics or data. Language, emojis, transport, snow clearing, door weight, car design and pandemics are a few of the many data gaps that are analysed in this b Popsugar challenge 2020 - A Book Recommended by your favourite Vlog / A Book that won an Award in 2019 This is my least favourite non fiction format as its pretty data heavy but such a fascinating read that it was quite enjoyable wading through it. This books focuses on us, females. 50% of the world population and we rarely feature in any statistics or data. Language, emojis, transport, snow clearing, door weight, car design and pandemics are a few of the many data gaps that are analysed in this book and while some topics I didn't care for, the majority I found really interesting. I can't say this book made me angry but I can understand why some women have boiling blood when reading this. This book does underline the fact that if men had periods our sanitary wear would be much more advanced than it currently is, instead we remain reliant on the blob of cotton wool attached to a piece of string. As someone who doesn't particularly enjoy non fiction, i'm glad I read this. Its definitely eye opening.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sippy

    Had a hard time reading this, skipped, scanned, got bored with the ranting and the constant portaying women as victims and mothers. They are many times, but especially in western countries they have and can do more than is suggested in this book. Underwhelming. And yes: I am a feminist. ♀️

  17. 4 out of 5

    julieta

    This book!! It took me a long time to read, since it´s a lot about (very frustrating) numbers. It´s pretty great, and terrifying at the same time. We have a lot of work to do, if we want things to truly change, but the first thing to maybe read this book and try to understand all the different things that are still separating women from really being equals in a default male world.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Since I've picked up this book, I've recommended it to everyone I've talked to, and now I'm recommending it to you. This is an extremely well-researched and comprehensive look at the gender data gap in all aspects of life, ranging from the utterly absurd to the life-threatening. The sub-subtitle of this book could be "but wait, there's more" as Criado Perez delves deep into the social construction of the gender data gap with both conscious humour and appropriate outrage. I cannot recommend this Since I've picked up this book, I've recommended it to everyone I've talked to, and now I'm recommending it to you. This is an extremely well-researched and comprehensive look at the gender data gap in all aspects of life, ranging from the utterly absurd to the life-threatening. The sub-subtitle of this book could be "but wait, there's more" as Criado Perez delves deep into the social construction of the gender data gap with both conscious humour and appropriate outrage. I cannot recommend this enough.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    I read this hoping to do a presentation at work for our Women's Development forum, but holy crap, how in the world do you boil down such a densely filled book into 10-15 slides and a clean summary? IT CAN'T BE DONE. Well, it can, but it wouldn't come close to doing justice to this vastly important book. "Gender data gap" would sound too much like a buzz word, and the message could never penetrate as it should. Instead I am submitting this as a book club choice at work, but hoping we can read it i I read this hoping to do a presentation at work for our Women's Development forum, but holy crap, how in the world do you boil down such a densely filled book into 10-15 slides and a clean summary? IT CAN'T BE DONE. Well, it can, but it wouldn't come close to doing justice to this vastly important book. "Gender data gap" would sound too much like a buzz word, and the message could never penetrate as it should. Instead I am submitting this as a book club choice at work, but hoping we can read it in the background, over the course of a quarter, not a month. Each woman will wish to sip, not chug, this book as we may for many of our less weighty novels and business books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review 👱‍♀️ Incredibly interesting and insightful, 'Invisible Women' explores the often forgotten yet rife data bias in gender. Throughout culture, male biased opinions and ideas form the basis of societal thought and influence - leading to a disadvantage for women in all aspects of their life. It's a disadvantage you may not even be aware of or tend to brush off as a daily inconvenience. It's the shelves in the supermarket that are too high because they've ARC received in exchange for an honest review 👱‍♀️ Incredibly interesting and insightful, 'Invisible Women' explores the often forgotten yet rife data bias in gender. Throughout culture, male biased opinions and ideas form the basis of societal thought and influence - leading to a disadvantage for women in all aspects of their life. It's a disadvantage you may not even be aware of or tend to brush off as a daily inconvenience. It's the shelves in the supermarket that are too high because they've been designed by a male, around average male heights. It's the long queues at the female toilets because they're the same size as the men's - even though they require less stalls. And its also the hidden, deadlier costs. The higher car deaths for women because of the use of male ergonomically configured cars and crash test dummies. The higher rate of death from heart attacks because women do not show the 'typical' male symptoms and end up being misdiagnosed. The drug trials that exclude women entirely because their hormones make results less reliable, resulting in drugs only being used that have been tested and designed for the male anatomy. This really opened my eyes to the numerous amount of bias that women are besieged by every single day, in every aspect of their lives. Women still aren't prioritised. We're still the 'lesser sex' and unjustly represented as a result. We're erased from history, we're pushed out of politics, and we're literally dying because of our gender. I felt such injustice reading this. I feel in this day and age we can all be quite blasé about women's rights. We think that we're getting a better deal than our predecessors - but this book just proves how little progress we've actually made. We need to be heard. To be listened to. Because we are women. We're complicated and messy and different from men, and we should never have to compromise for our gender. I will say that at times the writing does get a little 'dry' and bogged down in statistics, however the passion in the writing along with the astounding amount of research that has gone into the text is enough for me to highly recommend this to everyone. It will truly open your eyes and make you question all aspects of your life for gender bias.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Britta Böhler

    Everybody should read this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is a wide-ranging and thoroughly enraging study of how the world is explicitly designed around men. I think it's very easy to understand, at a high level, that societies are patriarchal and that sexism exists. It's another thing to look at each of the assumptions that undergird specific examples of men as the default, and to look at the (frankly) terrible outcomes that industries and areas provide for women as a result. Did you know that EU car manufacturers do not have to pass any crash te This is a wide-ranging and thoroughly enraging study of how the world is explicitly designed around men. I think it's very easy to understand, at a high level, that societies are patriarchal and that sexism exists. It's another thing to look at each of the assumptions that undergird specific examples of men as the default, and to look at the (frankly) terrible outcomes that industries and areas provide for women as a result. Did you know that EU car manufacturers do not have to pass any crash tests with female crash-dummies before their products are put on the market? Coincidentally, women are 17% more likely to die in a car crash. You can decide for yourself if the two are connected. Criado Perez divides the book into three sections or themes: the female body, the unpaid care burden that women provide, and male violence against women. She argues that these three areas are not experienced by men and are thus the most likely to be overlooked or underappreciated. Some examples: - Women are more likely to "trip-chain," or combine many stops into one journey. Much of public transportation is built for point A to point B travel: men go to work and go back. There's an implicit assumption that work and home life are separate. Businesses are in one place, and homes in another. Women have to work around this reality when planning a route - how to get children to daycare, pick up groceries, and so on. The infrastructure is simply not built for this and adds an inordinate amount of time to these trips, if the routes even exist. - 75% of unpaid work is performed by women, who spend between three to six hours per day on activities such as childcare, elder care, and housework, while men average between 30 minutes and 2 hours. This is an astonishing statistic when you recognize that most of those women also work full-time jobs. Criado Perez makes a credible argument for including domestic work in GDP. For instance, we see creation and sales of ready-made meals or laundry services as adding production to the economy, but that productivity hasn't appeared from nowhere - the work is simply being accounted for, as it's no longer on the shoulders of unpaid women. - Maternity leave, everyone's favorite issue to argue about, is also represented. I can't even count the number of men (and women!) in my life who have said that it's unfair for businesses to have to cover for women who go on leave, that it's a simple reality that work must go on. I think this is always a question of the larger society that we want to live in. Maternity leave has a positive impact on women's participation in the paid labor market; if women could engage in the paid labor force at the same rate as men, a 2015 McKinsey study estimates that global GDP would grow by $12 trillion. And when men take paternity leave, women's future earnings increase. - Medical studies are typically performed when women are in the earliest phase of the menstrual cycle, when hormone levels are low and the effects of estrogen and progesterone may be minimized. In other words, good luck getting antihistamines, antipsychotics, or antibiotics to work for you when you're in a different part of the menstrual cycle. Pretty tough, since women ingest 80% of pharmaceuticals in the US. And still, men who report pain are more likely to receive pain medication, while women are more likely to receive sedatives or antidepressants. Because the book is so wide-ranging, it at times reads like a laundry list of statistics and is quite dense. You may have also already read some of the content online - the car test section was excerpted quite widely. But this is still worth reading, and is important as a starting point for any discussion about how to begin to account for the lopsided representation of women. Criado Perez takes the time to note that, in many cases, these assumptions and outcomes are borne out of millenia of treating white men as the standard. They aren't malicious, but they are pernicious. She also mentions that we are beginning to encode these assumptions into the algorithms and programs that increasingly run our lives (Apple's Siri is a woman, and in 2016 Google's speech-recognition software was 70% more likely to recognize male speech). Too often, we think about software development and algorithms as neutral endeavors that produce the "right" outcomes - but that can't be true when the algorithms are based on a long-standing set of biases (see Weapons of Math Destruction for more). In essence, we are not only starting from a deficit in terms of equity for women, but we are continuing to entrench existing biases into the products that we are creating right now. And what's the way to begin to correct this? Well, quite simply, you could put women in the discussion. Even if you don't buy every single statistic in this book, it certainly could not do any harm. And it would likely improve the lives of the millions of people who just happen to be women. But why should we accept that the way men do things, the way men see themselves, is the correct way? Recent research has emerged showing that while women tend to assess their intelligence accurately, men of average intelligence think they are more intelligent than two-thirds of people.

  23. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    Utterly brilliant. What an infuriating, thought-provoking, well-researched, well-presented investigation into the gender data gap and the problems this causes with respect to women being represented in all parts of life. The breadth and level of detail that the author covers is fantastic. The referencing to research alone makes this book stand out for me as it does back up what often is communicated as anecdotal evidence - i.e. is usually disputable - with something far more concrete. The statist Utterly brilliant. What an infuriating, thought-provoking, well-researched, well-presented investigation into the gender data gap and the problems this causes with respect to women being represented in all parts of life. The breadth and level of detail that the author covers is fantastic. The referencing to research alone makes this book stand out for me as it does back up what often is communicated as anecdotal evidence - i.e. is usually disputable - with something far more concrete. The statistics are staggering and infuriating. Not as maddening, tho, as the apparent apathy towards the gender data gap - i.e. the lack of data based on women. For example, medical research is mostly done using men. The results are then applied to all people as if there were no biological differences in how treatments and medications work, which is mad because there are differences. Criado-Perez covers too many aspects of life to list, but her argument - and it is a strong argument - boils down to this: There is a lack of data that not only includes women (of which there seems to be a severe lack) but there is an equal and related lack of data that actively differentiates results to data collected based on men. And this lack of data and the lack of even acknowledgement that this data is important is one of the main reasons that we still cannot speak of gender equality, even in what people refer to as the developed world. I'm so glad my colleague lent this to me. I have also just ordered my very own copy so I can lend it to other people. Failing to collect data on women and their lives means that we continue to naturalise sex and gender discrimination – while at the same time somehow not seeing any of this discrimination. Or really, we don’t see it because we naturalise it – it is too obvious, too commonplace, too much just the way things are to bother commenting on. It’s the irony of being a woman: at once hyper-visible when it comes to being treated as the subservient sex class, and invisible when it counts – when it comes to being counted. There is one more trend I kept coming across while writing this book: the excuses. Chief amongst these is that women are just too complicated to measure. Everyone was saying this, from transport planners, to medical researchers, to tech developers: they were all knocking their heads up against Freud’s riddle of femininity and coming away baffled and defeated. Female bodies are too unharmonious, too menstrual and too hormonal. Women’s travel patterns are too messy, their work schedules are too aberrant, their voices are too high. Even when, in the early twentieth century, influential Swiss architect Le Corbusier was devising a standard human model for use in architecture, the female body was ‘only belatedly considered and rejected as a source of proportional harmony’, with humanity instead represented by a six-foot man with his arm raised (to reach that top shelf I can never reach). The consensus is clear: women are abnormal, atypical, just plain wrong. Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Well, apologies on behalf of the female sex for being so mysterious, but no, we aren’t and no we can’t. And that is a reality that scientists, politicians and tech bros just need to face up to. Yes, simple is easier. Simple is cheaper. But simple doesn’t reflect reality.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily B

    This was definitely an interesting and informative read. I learnt so much from reading this book, which I hope I can retain. But yes this book is very statistic heavy, as a result there is a lot to take in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Obstkuchen

    I wish I could make everyone read this book in the hope that every man could actually see how insignificant women are in a male-oriented world. Quite simply, we do not exist. When I was 13 I adored reading Sherlock Holmes stories but I soon worked out that when a man refers to ‘people’ what he actually means is ‘other men’. Every single thing that impacts on the lives of women has actually been designed by men for the benefit of men. From cars to taxes, from medication to disaster relief time and I wish I could make everyone read this book in the hope that every man could actually see how insignificant women are in a male-oriented world. Quite simply, we do not exist. When I was 13 I adored reading Sherlock Holmes stories but I soon worked out that when a man refers to ‘people’ what he actually means is ‘other men’. Every single thing that impacts on the lives of women has actually been designed by men for the benefit of men. From cars to taxes, from medication to disaster relief time and time again women suffer, die and are sidelined because instead of being seen at 50% of the population we are simply seen as non-standard men.

  26. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    'Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men" by Carolyn Criado-Pérez spectacularly describes factually and scientifically every problem all women have in navigating every society in the world using scientific Big Data, and small data. Criado-Pérez goes deep describing the issues of Men thinking about Women and the results of that thinking: from physical safety to using tools/machines/weapons to difficulties in networking to harmful stereotypes to body-shaming. I was reminded of the p 'Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men" by Carolyn Criado-Pérez spectacularly describes factually and scientifically every problem all women have in navigating every society in the world using scientific Big Data, and small data. Criado-Pérez goes deep describing the issues of Men thinking about Women and the results of that thinking: from physical safety to using tools/machines/weapons to difficulties in networking to harmful stereotypes to body-shaming. I was reminded of the problems people who are left-handed have in maneuvering in the world - social, religious, physical, legal and other built-in prejudices. Of course, the huge glaring difference between left-handers and women is that statistically women occupy 55% of the world's population and yet whose strengths and contributions STILL are ignored by societies, businesses, spouses and politicians. Statistically, men would rather destroy a society rather than allow women to participate as equals, or allow women to help themselves and solve the problems of women. The way men around the world seem to feel deep down (just saying as a figurative example and not at all as a real thing, of my impression of the Male Gaze upon Women from this book's real Big Data's serious Big Picture scientific analysis) as just my personal derived mental picture/illustration: Men would rather starve to death before asking a woman to tell them how to cook a meal or cook it himself. (I remind you this is just a mental-thought nightmare, gentle reader, to demonstrate the overall Big Picture of how generally Men see their relationship towards Women. I know many men cook.) The idea of a Man cooking for his family every day for all of his life span, three times a day, and to do it without compensation or reward or recognition - this idea of a man cooking food is more than simply an 'unnatural order of things' for Men - it might be a line which can never be crossed for men to be a Man - a line which has to be maintained to the point of death of ALL involved, since Male dictatorship over women must be maintained even if it means the utter and complete destruction of country, tribe, scientific advancement, and economic gain. If this 'fantasy' of how Men might feel they should be towards Women happened to exist - they might rather destroy all Mankind in the world by radiation from a nuclear war than allow a single woman any equality of rights or life freedoms to live as she chooses. Just saying, in extrapolating from actual history. Men have in real life all over the world, in every country, within every religion, in every community (much of what I point out below is my extrapolations from the more rigorously researched and academically accurate book): -have refused women health care because they are women, while providing themselves with easily available health care. Men make sure they can achieve tumescence, and their pride in making male babies is foremost over whatever state women are in medically, psychologically or financially. Men give themselves more and more women for sex, the younger the better, primary as long as she is menstruating - replacing female womb parts as if women were parts in a manufacturing process. Or, the opposite - insurance-paid condoms while refusing women insurance-paid birth control. Btw, Viagra is often an insurance-paid benefit, while menstrual pads, childcare and birth-control pills are not. For real. -Additionally, scientific studies and experiments use male mice, or male monkeys, or male whatever - or male cells in cultures. Male dummies are used in car accidents. There is a "Universal Man" definition, used by labs, scientists and governments all over the world, because of it being the "custom". What it is is really male-oriented group think. This "universal man" standard used as an experimental model all over the world is used despite that women are fundamentally and biologically different on the cellular level from Men. Whenever women have been taken into account, stereotypes rule the hypotheses and the experiments rather than factual observations. Plus: women are 55% of the world population, but there is no "universal woman" standard. -Men have refused women any secondary education and above, or ANY education, often by LAW, gentle reader, but more often custom, while giving themselves either free education or low-interest loans, (Men helping Men - relatives, bank/finance and old-boy networking) towards all the educational opportunities they want. -Men give each other jobs and apprenticeships while refusing to hire women because they are women, even if those women are academically brilliant, and mathematically-, computer- or scientifically-savvy, or even if she is a just a serviceable body-in-place. If a woman invented a new economical energy drive for space ships to travel to Mars, it is very probable: a Man will take credit for it or bury it, rather than acknowledge a Woman invented it. If Men must give the Women credit for inventions, discoveries or engineering achievements, they will see to it she gets no money or award from it or any historical notice of it. Especially Men will forbid any statues, or picture representation on money or coins celebrating the achievement as a moment of national pride. Instead, if a male co-worker assisted the Woman inventor or engineer, Men will acclaim him, the assistant, publically in every type of social media and history book, asking him to give speeches or interviews. Men will give the male assistant promotions and wage increases, and better job opportunities. Historically, women are pushed out of whatever organizations she was part of into obscurity and unemployability. -Men engineer tools/machines/work clothes/protective gear to specifically fit men's hands and weight distribution and body sizes, refusing to manufacture tools/machines/work clothes/protective gear to specifically fit women's bodies, i.e., breasts and hips, smaller bones, less muscle mass and more body fat. Remember, women are 55% of the population. -Laws protect Men, but not women. Police enforce laws to protect Men, but not Women. Wink, wink. -Appropriate Wages are for Men; women are to be financially exploited, enslaved, or made to work for free - and this eliminates all measures of women's contribution to national economies and measures of well-being (unpaid childcare, elderly care, housework, secretarial and nursing work, farming labor). Women are not given priority attention as a result by politicians. -Politics is for Men only by customary malecentric groupthink. If women happen to be elected or appointed, don't inform them of meetings. Don't give them positions on committees. Don't permit them to speak, or to be quoted in print, television or social media. If they speak, humiliate them with name-calling (most common Twitter word in addressing women politicians or female national figures - Bitch: as in aggressive Bitch, loud Bitch, unladylike Bitch, shrill Bitch, hysterical Bitch, especially if she acted or sounded just like a Man. Worst epithet of all: ambitious Bitch. See 'Hilary Clinton'). Interrupt her every other word, do not allow her to finish a sentence, but let Men talk without interruption even if you don't like what he is saying. If the woman capitulates under the social peer pressure and begins wearing pink, smiling a lot, and brings cookies, pat her on the head and send her out for coffee, saying, "she knows her place, fellas!" and give her a place on the committee for children's health. Figuratively speaking, gentle reader - Death seems more preferable than recognizing women as having equal rights for many men, deep down, or in practice in daily life. Even more important, the physical concerns of women to be comfortable and casual and as carefree in the world (as men can be in their bodies and desires) such as going to the toilet, handling menstruation, caring for children, wearing bras, using breast pumps or breast feeding, public swimming, sports, using public transportation, wearing comfortable men's pants (with enough largepockets) or goth tats, being hairy, having a libido, without the Male Gaze approving or disapproving seems a shocking concept for most men in the real world everywhere. Men, even men who support the equality of women, seem to have to overcome their own nature to allow themselves to see women as people with body aches and pains and emissions, some of which are particular to women's bodies! Stupid. It is cutting one's own throat, sinking one's own boat, in order to feel manly, to refuse any woman any legitimate, real, participation in solving any problem, or of thinking of her primarily as someone who's entire purpose is to please your eye or libido or bodily comforts. The book's chapters: Daily Life The Workplace Design Going to the Doctor Public Life When it Goes Wrong There are extensive Endnotes and an Index. As you can imagine, gentle reader, Criado-Pérez has gone to the mat on research, facts, figures and on meticulous fact-checking. I am also sure Fox News and right-wing conservatives and the religious-right and misogynists have already prepared Twitter blasts with the words "fill in the blank Bitch" about Criado-Pérez, and anyone who loves her book. Like me. I highly recommend buying, loaning and reading this book, gentle reader. Unlike me, she gives just the facts, mostly without bitter and acid commentary. It is hard for almost any woman of a certain age today to not have a heart hardened by bitter remembrances and experiences, reader. At least, #metoo.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Thoughts soon.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    A really strong and interesting read. It's a very powerful, somewhat depressing but entirely eye-opening look at how women and data surrounding women is left out of the system we live it. I would highly, highly recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    K.H. Leigh

    Everybody needs to read this book. Everybody. Female, male, nonbinary, everybody. The introduction perfectly articulated and validated many of my own anecdotal observations - the pervasive idea that female is somehow a deviation of human, rather than the base model. The first few chapters, which deal largely with social impacts - community planning, workplace dynamics, etc. - were fascinating, insightful, and compelling. But then as the book progresses, Criado-Perez slowly ups the ante. By the tim Everybody needs to read this book. Everybody. Female, male, nonbinary, everybody. The introduction perfectly articulated and validated many of my own anecdotal observations - the pervasive idea that female is somehow a deviation of human, rather than the base model. The first few chapters, which deal largely with social impacts - community planning, workplace dynamics, etc. - were fascinating, insightful, and compelling. But then as the book progresses, Criado-Perez slowly ups the ante. By the time she begins to dissect the utter disregard for women in medical studies and pharmaceutical trials, I was a white hot ball of righteous fury. And it only gets worse from there. And yet, despite how FUCKING LITERALLY INCREDIBLE it is that women remain unseen, despite comprising half of the population, Criado-Perez's impeccable research and dry wit give the reader something to feel optimistic about. No, it isn't hope. Hope is passive. What Criado-Perez provides is motivation. She cites numerous examples of individuals and organizations who are actively changing things for the better. Simply by writing the book, she joins their ranks. Simply by reading the book, I do, too. By passing it along, recommending it to every damn person on my friend list, I am helping make women visible. We are not niche. We are not aberrations. We are not a specialized subset of the human race. We are not to be ignored.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Avolyn Fisher

    The popular feminist phrase, 'the future is female,' may make me cringe, but this book makes it abundantly clear that the past and arguably the present, are still very much male. This book is one of the few books I've come across whose description doesn't even scratch the surface of what's to come. I can't think of a book that I've read that was so well researched and written as this, and I'm someone who loves this type of nonfiction work, and has read every one of Malcolm Gladwell's books, writ The popular feminist phrase, 'the future is female,' may make me cringe, but this book makes it abundantly clear that the past and arguably the present, are still very much male. This book is one of the few books I've come across whose description doesn't even scratch the surface of what's to come. I can't think of a book that I've read that was so well researched and written as this, and I'm someone who loves this type of nonfiction work, and has read every one of Malcolm Gladwell's books, written in a similar investigative style. I think this book goes far beyond what it even needed to cover, I'm impressed that at no point did Criado Perez decide 1/3 or 1/4 of the way, that she had written enough for a book, as many books have been published on far less. Victim mentality has always bothered me, and unfortunately, as this book points out, women are often made to feel like they're playing a victim role by simply observing a bias or injustice towards them. Or we are treated as either too sensitive or imagining our circumstance. I've been fortunate enough to have never faced what so many women on this earth face in simply attempting to escape as refugees, find a safe place to use the restroom, etc. But the pieces about being told to be 'more like a man' despite research showing that the behavioral benefits men enjoy from certain behaviors simply do not transfer when a woman tries them on for size. And times when I've been treated differently than my peers, and expected to do more work for equal recognition and praise, I was told I'm making excuses. And as this book highlights, when did we decide that women had to be more like men? Isn't that telling in itself. Whether you agree that women are treated differently or not, I encourage anyone to read this book as I doubt you'll find something written or produced with the same level of rigor and research. So at the very least, if you read this book and decide to disagree with its findings, or maintain any stance you have against equality and supporting women, you will at least be educated in your opinion.

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