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.
Invisible Women is one of those books that simultaneously super interesting but also super frustrating. I love how with all its stats from countries around the world and its in-depth look at different industries and situations, it puts words to the ideas or feelings I had about life as a woman in the world. There’s the stock phrases like “representation matters” but Invisible Women goes more in-depth than just the idea of “seeing is believing”.
I liked how it goes into the biological differences between men and women and how things like mobile phones getting increasingly larger is fine for men to use one-handed but it’s more difficult for women as the phones are designed with men’s hands in mind and they are usually larger than women’s hands. It’s easy to think that anything men can do, women can do but that’s not the case when the equipment they need to use to do X thing aren’t designed for a woman’s body. I know I’m guilty of thinking that I “can be just as good as a man” when it comes to different things if we have the same time or training, but Invisible Women showed how so much “standard” equipment like PPE, high-vis jackets, and stab vests are designed for a man’s physique aka someone without breasts and perhaps narrower hips and a larger face, which means they are more uncomfortable for women or even don’t work as they should as they’re not designed for their body shape. It’s really enlightening and though as Invisible Women shows there’s still a lot of data missing, it’s ridiculous that what data there is has yet to cause any changes in various industries. Though as the book progresses and shows how the majority of decision makers, whether in government or industry, are men it’s maybe not a such a surprise that women’s needs aren’t seen as such a priority. (more…)