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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

av Caroline Criado Perez

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,0053715,441 (4.25)64
Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives. Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates shocking root cause of gender inequality and research in Invisible Women+‹, diving into women's lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor's office, and more. Built on hundreds of studies in the US, the UK, and around the world, and written with energy, wit, and sparkling intelligence, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world.… (mer)
Senast inlagd avprivat bibliotek, lbhall, mindbat, sharvani, ejmw, lucyburns72, Chyse
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People make decisions based on data. We assume that the data we have is reliable, or that professionals making decisions have adequate data on which to base their decisions.

What if it isn't, and they don't?

This book looks at the concept of the "default male" and how this plays out in the data we use to make decisions across a wide range of domains. In short: Many of these data sets omit women, and that has huge ramifications. From public transport that doesn't account for differing travel patterns, to not accounting for or even tracking time spent on unpaid care (a theme that keeps arising in other contexts), to using only male models in safety and medicine, data is often just not there. We dont' know how safe cars are for women, what optimal care is for women having heart attacks or with diabetes. When we do have some knowledge--for example, that women take longer in the toilet for various reasons--we don't utilize that knowledge.

There are a couple of minor flaws. For example, sometimes, presenting things as the needs of men vs. those of women can obscure other angles. One example was a housing project in Vienna that eliminated parking spaces in favor of community rooms, because women are less likely to drive. However, making access more difficult for private cars, especially without a total rethink of the surrounding transport system and city layout, can also cause problems for the disabled, and indeed for women in general.

There is so much ground to cover that out of necessity, Criado Perez has to be somewhat selective. For example, the chapter on medicine can only hit a few examples. Maya Dusenbery's Doing Harm was an entire book on the topic, and she still had to leave out routine gynecology and obstetrics. This also means that the feel of the book (though well written and witty) is a constant slam of citations, without the space for in depth analysis. There's enough, but the problems are so pervasive that each could get more space.

The author is British, but the examples are international. Some countries are worse on particular measures (the US on maternity leave; the UK on inclusion of women in clinical trials) but the trend is pervasive and not limited to any one country.

I finished the book feeling enraged, but glad I had read it. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
I'm a man, so any person of the womanly persuasion is entirely welcome to question, even criticize what I'm about to write about this book. And yet, I have to say, seriously, women are and have been getting the short end of the stick. (You are welcome to substitute a more intensely graphic phrase.)

Frankly, I don't think the author always presents her material quite as succinctly or directly as I have sometimes seen from other writers -- Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow is the gold standard in my eyes -- but she really heaps it on, relentlessly, comprehensively. There is plenty here that any woman will find obvious from their own life experiences, at least if they think about it very long. But, I also think there are multiple examples of data bias impacting women negatively that will surprise even some women. The many issues the author brings up on healthcare, for instance, will make some women readers wonder if their overall healthcare has been perhaps more comparable to being treated by a veterinarian than to the care their male counterparts receive. The sections on that are worth the price of admission all by themselves, in my eyes. Even my wife, the now retired healthcare provider was unaware of many discrepancies the author unearths.

I guess the bad news is that I, a guy, eventually fell into a certain level of depression and anger at the inequity. I can only imagine how a woman would feel by the time she's done reading it. But forewarned is forearmed. Or so they say, right? Then again, that might have come from just asking men, so maybe not. ( )
  larryerick | Jun 30, 2021 |
Invisible Women takes on the assumption that men are the default human beings, elaborating at length on how women are indeed different, and equally human, and generally forgotten or ignored, to the detriment of their lives, success, and health. Criado Perez covers wide-ranging examples: spoke-and-hub transit planning that doesn't accommodate caretaking and chores, stress being an inhibitor of work success and women consistently having more background stress, medical trials deliberately not including women because of the complications of hormonal fluctuations and risk of pregnancy, and a cornucopia of other dimensions.

This book will hit you over the head with its message, and then hit you 1000 more times for good measure. It was good, and I'm glad I read it, but egads was it repetitious. Despite my antipathy, I have to admit that Criado Perez was darn effective. It would be hard for someone to walk away from this book without being converted and sent on their way with a salient handful of facts.

Overall, an excellent book for someone hyper-rational who doesn't quite see the point of feminism today, or for someone who wants to be able to argue for women rationally rather than morally or emotively. ( )
  pammab | Feb 14, 2021 |
If you're a woman, you probably won't be surprised by this book, but it will nonetheless probably induce rage in you. If you're a man, then this should be required reading. ( )
  lemontwist | Dec 28, 2020 |
This is a fascinating, frightening, appalling look at the way women are under-represented, at best, in many studies, ranging from design of homes and public spaces to medical research. This bias literally results in a world that is less safe for women, leading to increased injury and death in addition to many minor inconveniences such as long line-ups for washrooms at the theatre and cell phones designed to fit men's hands. When I saw this book, my first thought was that it was written 40-odd years ago, but no...it's current and the data biases live on. ( )
  LynnB | Dec 18, 2020 |
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Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth.

Simone de Beauvoir
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For the women who persist: keep on being blood difficult
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Preface

Most of recorded human history is one big data gap.
Introduction: The default male

Seeing men as the human default is fundamental to the structure of human society.
Chapter 1.
Can snow-clearing be sexist?


It all started with a joke.
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The truth is that around the world, women continue to be disadvantaged by a working culture that is based on the ideological belief that male needs are universal, (Ch3 - The Long Friday, p86 hardback edition)
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Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives. Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates shocking root cause of gender inequality and research in Invisible Women+‹, diving into women's lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor's office, and more. Built on hundreds of studies in the US, the UK, and around the world, and written with energy, wit, and sparkling intelligence, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world.

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