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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  6,519 ratings  ·  1,141 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 411 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams (first published March 7th 2019)
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Ludo I have just finished. It is illuminating and terrifying. It raised my blood but also my desire to speak up and be heard and make a change even if just…moreI have just finished. It is illuminating and terrifying. It raised my blood but also my desire to speak up and be heard and make a change even if just in my own small world. So I guess, whilst it sound naff, it’s life changing, perspective swivelling and an important read for everyone. One of the most important books I’ve ever read along with Uninhabitable Earth.(less)
Tarrah Did you find any? We are considering this title for our book club next year and keen to have prepared questions.…moreDid you find any? We are considering this title for our book club next year and keen to have prepared questions. (less)

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Trevor
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really dislike conspiracy theories – in fact, few things make me angrier. The reason is that a conspiracy generally involves people plotting and planning and those people who are assumed to have the power to bring the conspiracy into effect generally have been shown in history to be pretty stupid – in fact, far too stupid to do the conspiracy and keep quiet about it. Conspiracy theories also tend to involve improbable leaps of faith along the way, you know, like the one that the US government ...more
Science (Fiction) Comedy Horror and Fantasy Geek/Nerd a.k.a Mario
Simply said, if someone is in power, he tries to make a policy that meets his wishes and reflects the image of the society, company, etc he wants to build. This can be done in a direct, evil way by treating minorities, women, atheists, etc. with repression until imprisonment, torture and death if they misbehave and in these cases, it is an obvious crime.

It gets more subtle when bigotry and indoctrination kick in and lead to both politicians and managers that are not all direct, misogynic
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Becky
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Do not read this if you are suffering from high blood pressure, because it is absolutely rage inducing. However EVERYONE should read this at some point, it looks at things that I had never even considered, genuinely brilliant.
Gwen
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about unconscious bias. It's not about men deliberately excluding women when considering things like uniforms, city travel, or treatments for medical conditions ... although it's true that once the bias is pointed out, it's not always top of the list to make safety adjustments. And that's really one of the most important points of the book: it endangers women if you design and build the world without considering women's needs and habits. Women are built in a particular way, and ...more
Joanne Harris
This is a long-delayed, hugely important book, which people of ALL genders should be reading. Sadly, more people seem to be discussing it than have actually read it. It's not just about crash test dummies, or voice recognition software, or airline seats, or toilet queues, or medical research. It's about the systematic way in which data on women has been ignored, neglected and downright erased, whereas data on men is not only abundant, but recognized as the universal norm. The needs of the ...more
Anna
I decided to read ‘Invisible Women’ after coming across an extract from it in the Guardian and associated discussion on twitter. Both focused on how practically everything is designed for the mythical ‘average man’. I'm very aware of this due to being only 5ft tall. I cannot reach any overhead racks in trains, hanging straps in buses, or top shelves in supermarkets. I’ve given up on backpacks because they’re never comfortable and find smart phones incredibly unwieldy to use, one of many reasons ...more
Kelly
Read this if you're ready to get mad about how basically every research study done and used to create solutions to problems for "all people" are based on the average white male. Not surprising, but infuriating to see it laid out so plainly. I've always been so angered about technology being not useful for my tiny hands, and it's relieving -- and again, angering and frustrating -- this is just a norm of being female when research completely excludes the fact your body isn't the average white ...more
Krista
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposé of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more or less as normal. In urban planning, politics, the workplace. It is also about what happens to women living in a world built on male data when things go wrong. When they get sick. When they lose their home in a flood. When they have to flee that home because of war.

My husband is not a knuckle-dragging caveman, but he is a
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Olivia
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favourites
Since I've picked up this book, I've recommended it to everyone I've talked to, and now I'm recommending it to you. This is an extremely well-researched and comprehensive look at the gender data gap in all aspects of life, ranging from the utterly absurd to the life-threatening. The sub-subtitle of this book could be "but wait, there's more" as Criado Perez delves deep into the social construction of the gender data gap with both conscious humour and appropriate outrage. I cannot recommend this ...more
Zoe Obstkuchen
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could make everyone read this book in the hope that every man could actually see how insignificant women are in a male-oriented world. Quite simply, we do not exist.
When I was 13 I adored reading Sherlock Holmes stories but I soon worked out that when a man refers to ‘people’ what he actually means is ‘other men’. Every single thing that impacts on the lives of women has actually been designed by men for the benefit of men. From cars to taxes, from medication to disaster relief time and
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K.H. Leigh
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Everybody needs to read this book. Everybody. Female, male, nonbinary, everybody.

The introduction perfectly articulated and validated many of my own anecdotal observations - the pervasive idea that female is somehow a deviation of human, rather than the base model. The first few chapters, which deal largely with social impacts - community planning, workplace dynamics, etc. - were fascinating, insightful, and compelling.

But then as the book progresses, Criado-Perez slowly ups the ante. By the
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Katie Lumsden
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really strong and interesting read. It's a very powerful, somewhat depressing but entirely eye-opening look at how women and data surrounding women is left out of the system we live it. I would highly, highly recommend.
Rob
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't know who would possibly want a man's opinion on a book about the problems with male default bias, but... here's my review.

This is essentially a collection of statistics which entail how systems made by men and for men are minimizing and marginalizing the other 50% of the population. It does this by breaking the statistics down into chapter-spanning categories and creating a cohesive narrative to explain how all of these events are related and come back to the same basic problem.

I would
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Sarah
Solid. Informative. More evidence that I should resist doing the dishes.
Lior
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: research
This is a really good comprehensive investigation of how a failure to account for gender based needs and requirements results in a bias towards cis men.
This is exactly why the casual cissexism embedded in it is so unfortunate and harmful.
Perez critics the continuous overlooking of women and women's needs, but is herself continuously overlooking trans and nonbinary people. She also keeps switching between sex and gender as interchangeable.
The most problematic claim is that a lack of
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Pooja
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want this book to be a sensation.

If it is the only one non fiction book you will read this year, then it has to be Invisible Women.

Many important lessons are here to learn for everyone, for humanity itself. Facts after facts are brought into light, a well researched work and I'm sure that no matter what your profession or interest is, you will find at least one new thing from this book.

I thank the internet and my own curiosity that I came across this book. It was a huge learning experience
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Zoë
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like so many of the decisions to exclude women in the interests of 'simplicity', from architecture to medical research, this conclusion could only be reached in a culture that conceives of men as the default human, and women as a niche aberration.

To distort a reality you are supposedly trying to measure makes sense only if you don't see women as essential. It doesn't make sense if you're talking about half the human race. And it doesn't make sense if you care about accurate data.

And there you
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Becky
You'd think that by this point, having read as much on this and similar topics as I have, that I wouldn't be shocked anymore at how little women are considered or valued in society... but apparently not. This book was eye opening and yet, completely unsurprising.

This is a book about how the Default Human is man. Throughout history, men have been the form around which everything was based. Men were and are the arbiter of value, and as such, designed society and infrastructure around their own,
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David Dinaburg
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men overflows with facts and examples of how women are discounted or completely ignored in modern social, academic, and commercial applications. The two or three times I noticed it dip into the speculative feels unwieldy: why include weak studies whose findings are still in dispute when you have so much good data that proves your thesis? Why include, “[M]ale-default thinking may also be behind the finding that research perceived to have been ...more
Claire
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2019, audio
I’m a big old nerd, and I really like data. You know what’s interesting? Most of the data sets used globally to inform technological and scientific development, urban planning, and social, economic, and politically policy is inherently biased. Against women. We live in a world where we collect data on assumed averages and commonalities which almost consistently exclude women. The impacts of this are disturbingly far-teaching and ultimately contribute to the naturalisation of gender bias in all ...more
Laura Noggle
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, women-fiction
Every woman needs to read this book. Full stop.

*The consequences of living in a world built around male data can be deadly.*

From safety features in cars, to medicinal doses and typical signs of a heart attack—all data is by default based on men and the average male physique.

Criado Perez does an excellent job addressing the male cultural bias, delineating the data gap in our male centric world, and tackling the myth of meritocracy.

Urban
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book, well researched and supported by lots of facts and statistics. I’m very sad to see that so few men have read it, at least judging by reviews here. I had to scroll down 40 reviews to find a single male reviewer.
Jenn
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
This book is infuriating as it is fascinating.
Avolyn Fisher
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, favorites, data
The popular feminist phrase, 'the future is female,' may make me cringe, but this book makes it abundantly clear that the past and arguably the present, are still very much male.

This book is one of the few books I've come across whose description doesn't even scratch the surface of what's to come. I can't think of a book that I've read that was so well researched and written as this, and I'm someone who loves this type of nonfiction work, and has read every one of Malcolm Gladwell's books,
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Sippy
Had a hard time reading this, skipped, scanned, got bored with the ranting and the constant portaying women as victims and mothers. They are many times, but especially in western countries they have and can do more than is suggested in this book. Underwhelming. And yes: I am a feminist. ...more
Ann R
The author makes some compelling points concerning how the majority of data collected on a global scale is based on men and women are not even considered as a separate entity. There is evidence to support a plethora of hidden biases against women ranging from dismissive healthcare treatment to ill fitting unisex uniforms. However the author also heavily relies on the use of statistics to support her positions but I feel some of those statistics are too limited in scope or generalized to make a ...more
Anita
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
2 4 6 8 Why won't you disaggregate. . . the data*

So you thought it was just an aberration that they couldn't have two women space walk at the same time since there weren't two small suits. Did you know that the army has boots for the arctic, the desert, the jungle, etc., but doesn't have boots in women's sizes (narrower and smaller) because, well, why? This book heightened my awareness and my blood pressure over the usually invisible bias in the world around us. We all have complained, but to
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Marcela
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, feminism
My major critique is that I would've liked to see more intersectionality. The author explains that there's very little data out there about women of color, which is part of the problem, but I also would've liked to hear information about the ways the gender data gap also works against queer women, trans women, disabled women, etc. Basically, this book could likely have been three times this size.

The most frustrating thing overall is that I suspect it's mostly the choir reading this book:
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Charlene
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book definitely deserves to win Book of the Year for science and technology (nonfiction would have been a better fit but whatever).

I wish I could give this 6 stars, and I wish every human around the world would read this book and make themselves aware of the inequalities women around the globe face simply because the world at large has been built for men. This is not necessarily out of malice. Active oppression -- refusing females an education, not allowing them to drive, or confining them
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Michayla
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for every human being. Seriously, every single high school and college curriculum should require it. Professional associations in every profession need to recommend it. Work places need to give it to everyone from the janitor to the CEO. I will be purchasing a number of copies and distributing to as many of my friends and family as I can. People need to get enraged about the contents of this book, and we need to start doing something about it.
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