Do you know who Caroline Criado Perez is?
You should. I first came across her when she had a run in over the ten pound note with the Bank of England. something about the failure to replace a woman – Elizabeth Fry – with another, rather than the proposed Charles Dickens.
She made a compelling argument about the male bias. I saw her point, if I thought it a little overdone.
But then she wrote a book. Eye opening. In clear careful argument it laid bare how all of us, how all aspects of our lives use the male as the default. It’s many years since language battles over gender have been fought – chair rather than chairman, batter rather than batsmen.
It’s a fair point, it’s only polite.
But it’s more than that. Worse than that. In so many ways, our instinctive referencing the male of the species as a default doesn’t just demean and lessened women’s impact, it can curtail their lives, make their health outcomes worse.
In Invisible Women, Criado Perez dissects, the home, the workplace, the doctor’s surgery, education, sport… the whole cat and caboodle.
It’s stunning, humbling and, frankly, shaming. I’ve sought to bring up my children equally but the numerous examples of my own, maybe unconscious, maybe innocent biases mean that I’ve failed with those I care for most.
And I will continue to fail, so ingrained are many of them.
Read Invisible Women, even if, like the author you already know the truth of the way insidious data pollutes any attempts to level the playing field. Arm yourself with the many examples and call it out, call yourself out. It matters not what sex or gender you ascribe to. If the world is going to work for we need sex disaggregated data. I’m certain you need to fight your way through the indoctrination we’ve all experienced and are continuing to perpetuate.
The blurby stuff…
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.
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 excluded from the very building blocks of the world we live in, and the impact this has on their health and wellbeing. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media – Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.
Sorry if this little polemic annoys or grates but… sorry not sorry. It’s too important to be left as it is.