Invisible Women | Caroline Criado Pérez

Summary of: Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
By: Caroline Criado Pérez


Welcome to the summary of ‘Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men’ by Caroline Criado Pérez. This book explores the gender bias that pervades various aspects of our lives, from history and education to public transportation and workplace policies. It demonstrates how women have been systematically overlooked and undervalued when it comes to data collection and representation. Dive into the summary to learn more about the impact of this bias on women’s everyday lives, as well as how it can put their safety and well-being at risk.

Overlooking Women

Women have long been overlooked and undervalued due to society’s conditioning to view males as the default gender. This bias has persisted throughout history, from the Greek philosopher Aristotle to modern-day representation in emojis, statues, and education. Even contemporary language and technology still privilege masculinity. The skewed representation affects every aspect of our lives, from the design of our cars and smartphones to local neighborhood authorities’ procedures for snow shoveling.

Overlooking Women’s Needs

The gender data gap is a phenomenon that occurs when policies and decisions fail to take into account the needs of women. This leads to underserving female transport users, who end up paying more for travel than men. One of the reasons for this gap is the fact that many policies are created by men. As a result, women’s needs are frequently overlooked, causing a system that privileges men. This is exemplified by the case of Karlskoga, Sweden, where snow clearing prioritized full-time male commuters, leading to more pedestrian injuries among women. Similarly, the transport sector favors full-time employment mobility, penalizing female users who make short trips throughout the day. The gender data gap not only inconveniences women but can also result in serious consequences when left unaddressed.

The Gender Data Gap

Public planning regulations frequently stipulate that venues allocate equal bathroom space for men and women, but this planning decision is based on data that ignores women’s needs. With a mix of urinals and cubicles, male bathrooms can offer more facilities than female bathrooms in the same allocated space, even though women do more in the bathroom. What’s inconvenient in the developed world can have far more serious consequences in the developing world. Without access to a private toilet, women in the developing world rely on public bathrooms, which are rarely female-friendly. They’re often in unsafe locations and not segregated by gender. These women are disadvantaged by bathroom designs that neglect their physical needs and safety.

Design Bias Against Women

Everyday objects are designed based on average male measurements, which can limit women’s potential and lead to health issues. The bias is evident in the design of pianos, smartphones, and other devices, which are not suited to the smaller handspans of most women. This one-size-fits-all approach can result in musculoskeletal disorders among female users of smartphones and other gadgets, leading to a gender data gap. The biased design is affecting women’s health and safety, and it is time for designers to address the issue.

The Overlooked Female Body

Despite progress in gender equality, the female body is still being overshadowed and neglected in various fields, including health and safety. From office temperatures to crash test dummies to scientific studies, the standard male body is considered the norm. This has led to harmful practices and recommendations for women, such as being exposed to chemicals at levels that may lead to breast cancer. It is time to acknowledge and prioritize the anatomical and physiological differences between male and female bodies to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals.

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