When I went into engineering, I dove in knowing that gender bias and bad design had a contemptuous marriage. Everyone knows there is no such thing as a representative male that can account for all of the populations of product users, yet the average dude is used to decide an item’s shape, safety level, relevance, and features. Armed with this book, I am now able to show WHY – backed by science and international success stories – and HOW we can overcome this indifferent and often fatal practice.
When we exclude half of humanity from the production of knowledge we lose out on potentially transformative insights.Invisible Women
Unsafe public transportation and spaces, icy streets, ill-fitting body armor, larger tool grips, inadequate bathroom facilities, and badly designed boots, are just the tip of the patriarchal ice-berg of the systemic discrimination imposed on women who want the same considerations as men. Did you know that female dummies test data is misrepresented when conducting crash safety analysis? The survival rate of women and short men in head on collisions is 2x less than the average white man for which it was designed and deemed safe! About 50% of the world’s population is carelessly exposed to injury and trauma because they are considered an inconsequential minority because they don’t fit the traditional standard when existing ergonomic, medical and anthropomorphic data prove otherwise.
The result of this deeply male-dominated culture is that the male experience, the male perspective, has come to be seen as universal, while the female experience–that of half the global population, after all–is seen as, well, niche.Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women
Caroline Criado Pérez does an exceptional job of putting the puzzle pieces together, creating a picture that exposes both the solutions and the problems to rid the world of the invisible women; to bring to light the fact that women are not only the most prolific consumers and buyers of services and products but also the client you should be catering to, as they hold much more power than advertised. The examples – an amalgam of cultural experiences, intersectionality and historical events – drive the point home eloquently and poignantly, making each chapter a discussion rather than a heated entrenched debate.
“There is no such thing as a woman who doesn’t work. There is only a woman who isn’t paid for her work.”Inviaible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
The last 50 pages full of notes, research citations, and published data should be enough to force detractors to think twice about negating gender inequality, cementing the case for [more] female representation in leadership, politics, business and disaster relief. Don’t get me started about unpaid work; the often forgotten efforts and needs of caregivers and of those staying at home raising children. With this arsenal of knowledge, and new perspective, it’s hard not to feel empowered to ask for change, to destroy the societal notions that teach women they are not good enough because they are trapped in a world that caters to men’s needs before any others.
This book is a must read for parents raising daughters; for spouses, bosses, anti-feminist, and even for skeptics alike. I was surprised by the praise it has received from male reviewers on Goodreads who declared that this thesis wasn’t another hyper feminist leftist conspiracy theory or badly argued guilt trip. The team behind Invisible Women went above and beyond to ensure their plight didn’t fall on deaf ears. I hope that in a few years this book’s follow up documents historical progress towards equality and visibility of the incorrectly viewed weaker and atypical sex.
Who knows? We might even see a female Vice President! He he he.
Note that the cover was designed to make the women figures difficult to see, which is not fully appreciated in the post’s header: