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Invisible Women

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Caroline Criado Perez’s book should be required reading for *everyone*. It explores the myriad ways in which women are ignored or sidelined in society, given a widespread (and often not consciously recognised) tendency to default to the thinking that male = everyone, and the consequences and damage of this. The scope covers a wide range of concerns, including medical research, employment, product design and the economy. In the reviews and discussion of the book, one of the most commonly raised examples is the issue of car crash testing. The EU crash tests do use a female crash test dummy, but only in the passenger seat – so there is no data on how women would be affected in a crash as the driver. That the ‘female’ crash test dummy is merely a scaled-down male dummy is another issue. Moreover, as cars are typically ill-designed for women’s proportions, many women drivers will be ‘out of position’ when driving, often having to move seats far forward to reach the pedals. The consequence of this is that in car accidents, a woman is “47% more likely to be seriously injured than a man… She is also 17% more likely to die” (p186). This is a compelling book and often one that leaves one infuriated at the state of society. Recognising the issues is the first step to fixing things and Invisible Women is an excellent pointer to where we need to start. I also like the hardcover edition’s design, where under the slipcover, the Invisible Women are made visible. Listen to Criado Perez interviewed on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.

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