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The Invisible Women book by Caroline Criado Perez. Questions for the book club

Even if you are very far from feminist views, this book will surprise you a lot. UK author and a scientist Caroline Criado Perez has collected a huge amount of sociological data from all over the world, which proves that our world was designed to fit the "Reference Man".

Invisivle women

"The Reference Person" is a hypothetical person meant to represent the average person. He is a white male, about 40 years old, weighing about 70kg"

However, given that women make up half of the world's population, that the median age on most continents is below 40, and that the most populous continents on Earth are Asia and Africa, it is clear that the "Reference Male" is actually doing a poor job of representing the average person. "Invisible Women" explores how our reliance on the "Reference Male" has led to a gender data gap and thus created a world that is inherently biased against women.

Caroline emphasises that the aim of her work is not to blame anyone, but to show this outdated topic through the lens of data, revealing the hidden places where inequality still exists. Criado Perez has compiled a wealth of statistics, from how blind auditions have increased the proportion of female performers hired by orchestras to almost 50 per cent, to the compelling reasons why women take 2.3 times longer than men to go to the toilet. We learn that it's a man's world because those who built it didn't take gender differences into account. As we learn, most offices are five degrees colder for women because the formula for determining their temperature was developed in the 1960s based on the resting metabolic rate of a 40-year-old man weighing 70kg; women's metabolism is slower. Women in Britain are 50 per cent more likely to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack: Heart failure research tends to involve men. Cars are designed around a 'reference male' body, so although men are more likely to have accidents, women involved in accidents are almost 50 per cent more likely to be seriously injured.

The author states: "A major contributing factor to the gender gap is that most people do not realise it exists at all. Therefore, we believe that the first step in solving this problem is to address these issues openly.

Book club Invisible women

If you decide to select the book "The invisible women" by Caroline Criado Perezfor discussion in your book club, I suggest the following discussion questions:

1. How do you personally feel about gender bias? Perhaps you are comfortable with the current order and are not interested in women's rights.

2. The author of the book said that she did not experience gender inequality for the first time until she was 20 years old. Before that she was quite anti-feminist and thought that there was no problem with equality between men and women in the modern world and that feminism was a fiction. When have you encountered manifestations of overt or covert sexism? Or maybe you don't encounter them.

3. Also, the writer says, "The situation around feminism is the fault of the system, not the people. And you are not bad if you have an opposing opinion. It's society that teaches these prejudices." Do you agree with this statement? How can this be corrected?

4. The book deals with different industries that do not take into account women's physical and social characteristics. Give examples of those chapters that resonated more within you, maybe surprised or angered you. Or maybe ones that you don't agree with and think are artificial and contrived.

5. Let's talk about the benefits of such research: for women themselves, for men, for the economy of the state, for employers, for the development of humanity, progress, after all.

6. Caroline herself says that there is no shortage of research on women in general. But the problem is that, at a political and technological level, this data is simply not being implemented. Is this always the case? Are there positive examples? In your daily life or work, what can you do to shift the current bias in a male-centred world? In order to remain constructive and, preferably, happy :)


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