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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World…
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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (udgave 2019)

af Caroline Criado Perez (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,0634014,529 (4.25)67
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.… (mere)
Medlem:nawrocs
Titel:Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
Forfattere:Caroline Criado Perez (Forfatter)
Info:Abrams Press (2019), 272 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men af Caroline Criado Perez

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When I read this book a month ago I first gave it a four-star rating, and meant to fill in a review later. Now, having read more about Criado Perez, I don't know how to rate it. It seems undeniable, from her previous statements and unwillingness to retract them (though she has deleted many a controversial tweet) that Criado Perez is a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. This, to put it mildly, really sucks.

The topic Criado Perez is writing about desperately needs to be addressed, and she has many startling and powerful examples. She's obviously a competent statistician, and lays her points out well. But now I realize there is a huge gap in her analysis. Maybe not a central one, but one that calls into question the rest of the whole.

While reading the book I had noticed her brief and confused attempt to address "sex vs gender" and the absence of any discussion of the struggles of trans people, but I vaguely assumed that this came from a place of abridgment or mild ignorance, and not outright dismissal. I admit that, as a cis woman, I have the privilege to "vaguely assume" and move on relatively unperturbed. But now that I've heard that Criado Perez has shown consistent disregard for any lens other than that of a binary gender model, her use of a certain trans-exclusive, or trans-occlusive, vocabulary and framework is clearly not incidental, but purposeful.

With fiction, it is hard to know how to react when you find out that the author has a point of view you find incredibly wrong and damaging-- how does that affect the book you've read? But here the case is more clear-cut. To me, finding out that Criado Perez fails to recognize the importance of intersectionality undermines her entire book. Undoubtedly it would be a difficult task to write a truly intersectional book on this topic. And I don't know what conclusions could be drawn from such a book. But those conclusions must be valuable! When her entire point is about the peril of the gender data gap, and she spends an entire book shocking you with the profound effects of the world failing to account for the experiences and lived reality of women, she has set herself up to be questioned about her own undeniable gap in analysis. Now that I know how dramatic an effect is created in design, policy-making, architecture, and medicine by ignoring women, it makes it obvious how much of a damaging effect is created, including in areas we might not assume, by ignoring trans people.

Criado Perez has faced intense misogynistic online abuse for her feminist activism. She is clearly trying to expose a vital topic. But unfortunately, she does it at the cost of suppressing another.

Now, I am by no means an expert on this. I'm just some person with a goodreads account. But it makes me think, and it makes me mad. I wish there was a better version of this book. I hope somebody has the chance to write it.

Invisible women, indeed.
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
I have been very interested to read this book since the first time I read the author’s article in the Guardian about the kind of gender data gap that exists in our world and how it affects daily life of women. But I kept putting it off because I knew it would only make me mad and sad. But I finally got my copy from the library and it made me feel everything I expected it to.

To start off with the kind of book this is, it’s possible a casual reader will find it dry. It’s very scientific and research oriented, chock full of information about studies and loads of statistics that are important to understand the gravity of the issues that the author is trying to discuss. This can also come across as a little repetitive because ultimately, whatever the topic the author is talking about in a chapter, the conclusion is kinda inevitable.

But it’s the overall impact of these statistics and how it feels to read it as a woman that’s impactful even though I’m not a very numbers oriented person. From something as small as the average setting of the air conditioning in a workplace to highly dangerous like misdiagnosis of life threatening heart attacks, the idea that everything is designed and researched keeping an average man in mind is appalling but also not surprising. Right from how we grew up referring to our species as “mankind”, a man has always been the default and we the women, the aberration. And with men at the helm of every power structure since centuries, it’s no wonder that the whole world is designed in a way to make them safe and comfortable, and any noise made by women or institutions asking for more gender specific research and policy are dismissed because women, their bodies, their unpaid labor - everything about them is too different, too atypical. And it just boils my blood that the differences of half of the population are considered atypical and too complicated to be factored into making life impacting decisions, as if only one half of the world deserves to be represented.

The author covers a wide range of topics like how the massive amount of unpaid labor by women goes unnoticed and isn’t considered when making any policy decisions regarding social service budgets or infrastructure planning that would benefit their myriad tasks; how much of the industrial or agricultural equipment is made in a way that exacerbates the chance of injury and long term issues for women; how most of the drugs and treatments that we use have never even been tested properly to see how differently they would affect a woman or are they even effective on a female body; how every field of employment including tech and academia is structured in a way that benefits men who can work along hours but never takes into account the massive amounts of additional responsibilities women have to fulfill; how cars are never crash tested with female dummies, particularly drivers which leads to a much higher risk of injury and death. And the list just goes on.

But what scares me the most is the rise of using big data and algorithms for making any important decisions in the current day and age. And as men are still the ones in power and the majority in development of these projects, and data actually pertaining to women doesn’t exist - any algorithms developed only exacerbate their existing biases and will harm women in even more substantial ways as the usage of technology keeps increasing. It’s hardly surprising that even algorithms and AI seem to associate the terms doctor, genius and scientist with men while women are confined to nurse, nanny and secretary.

To conclude, this is a very informative book and I think everyone who is interested to know how our world works and on what basis decisions are made everyday, should give this a try. It’s not a binge reading kinda book, so it maybe easy to handle in smaller doses. And if you are a woman reading it, I promise it’ll make you very very angry and exasperated and maybe even scared. And while the author keeps mentioning that many of the issues discussed can be mitigated by gathering more gender specific data, none of what is actually happening gave me hope that it’s possible in the near future. So many of the problems could really be solved if the decision makers just listen to women, but are they really ready to? ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Powerful and well-researched, highlighting the risk and damage of male defaults across design, policy and healthcare and more. Perez does a good job of pointing out where more disaggregated data collection and research is needed. ( )
  paulusm | Aug 12, 2021 |
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 |
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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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