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Invisible Women

Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
Narrated by: Caroline Criado Perez
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Gender Issues
5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Invisible Women, by Caroline Criado Perez.

You've heard all about the gender pay gap.... Welcome to the gender data gap.

Our world is largely built for and by men, in a system that can ignore half the population. This audiobook will tell you how and why this matters.

In her new audiobook, Invisible Women, award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. She 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.

Caroline brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrates the hidden ways in which women are excluded from the very building blocks of the world we live in and the impact this has on their health and well-being. From government policy and medical research to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women exposes the biased data that excludes women. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative audiobook will make you see the world anew.

©2019 Caroline Criado Perez (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Invisible Women takes on the neglected topic of what we don't know - and why. The result is a powerful, important and eye-opening analysis of the gender politics of knowledge and ignorance. With examples from technology to natural disasters, this is an original and timely reminder of why we need women in the leadership of the institutions that shape every aspect of our lives." (Cordelia Fine) 

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The most dangerous blind spots are the ones you don’t even know you have.

As a male, an architect and someone who regularly challenges assumptions as part of my job (or thinks he does), this book has kicked me in the ass. Hard.

This will make me a better designer by prompting me to ask better questions and reduce gender bias in my work . Also by allowing me to develop an awareness of when I am defaulting to design for males. It’s a start.

I can’t thank Caroline Criado Perez enough.

(And thanks to Roman Mars for the tip)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy
  • 01-10-2019

Phenomenal- should be mandatory reading for everyone!

This book was equal parts validating and infuriating. A wonderfully well researched book with very astute observations about the male biased world we live in. I’ll be recommending to EVERYONE!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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everyone needs to read this!

especially anyone who cares about public policy design and it's treatment of women , relevant to multiple policy fields and to academics and laypeople alike

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Everyone should read this book

Illuminating and infuriating in equal measure, this book made me want to quit my job and become a data scientist. While every example illustrating how women are written out of the world rang with my experiences, it still made me so mad!!

Companies like Google should take note - you are forgetting about half the damn world! And small businesses should think of the opportunities in catering to so many under-served customers. We should all be thinking about how we can make the world fairer, safer and easier for women and girls everywhere.

Caroline Criado Perez is a writer full of urgency and conviction and hearing her read her own work was very powerful. Download this book today. It will change how you see the world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must read

This book is a must read(listen) for all women and men. it will open your eyes to how the world really views half it’s population.

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Packed with juicy stats that have changed the way I look at the world.

Highly recommended. While it's heavy on data (it's about data), it's presented clearly and based on relatable examples.

Male bias is everywhere and this book helps you see it where previously you might have just sort of perceived it.

The narrator is also excellent which is why I recommend the audio version especially unless you're using it for research & need to make notes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well worth the listen

This is a very important book to listen to, facts have been well researched. The author read the book well, it was interesting and held my attention.

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A must-read for every person!

What an absolutely incredible book! I have always prided myself on endeavouring not to be ignorant and viewing the world as a place in which I had just as much opportunity as the next (male) person. However after reading this book I feel like my eyes have been opened for the first time. How could I have been so blind? By no means is this a man-hating tome. Rather, Caroline has objectively, carefully and succinctly reveales many of the ways that 50% of the world's population have been and are simply ignored and disregarded. She supports each of her assertions with research and academic studies where it is available. She also discusses the impact of the lack of considering women in research - the gender data gap. She demonstrates how women are hurt and disadvantaged by this view and how deeply entrenched this perspective is across so many nations/cultures/people that it is virtually invisible. This truly is an important book. This book is a must-read for anyone who has any care or regard for women (i.e. themselves, mother, partner, spouse, sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend... any woman and all women).

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fantastic, measured, and inspiring

I appreciate Perez's ability to create a holistic picture of the data bias and gaps that exist.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-2019

Great book!

Great job! The book that opened my eyes! I recommend to all women and men. There is a lot of topics and facts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-2019

loved it

loved the book, an easy read. must read for feminists practicing evidence based activism.
the book is well researched.

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  • Ubaaah
  • 09-10-2019

A remarkable book

This is a highly interesting book that has left traces in my daily life. I am now more aware of the gender gap and do my small share in paying attention. I wish governments did more, but this is a first step.
An extremely insightful and revealing book.

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  • Danielle
  • 13-09-2019

Shed your ignorance, whether you’re male or female

If you are male or female and can’t wrap your mind around why women fight for more rights or attention, or why equal representation of the sexes is important to achieve and not just allow, this book will fill the gaps. The data, and the lack of data, that it points to leaves me overwhelmed at the lack of progress and systemic unconscious bias that has shaped my life and continues to shape all of our lives (yes even in progressive Sweden or Denmark). Read and shed your ignorance. Start to understand he role you can play in achieving equality, not just neutrality.

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  • Mukesh, Author of Your Startup Mentor
  • 06-09-2019

Book Review on Musings of a Salesman

Overview:

I bought this book on Audible after listening to the author talk to Roman Mars on his podcast – 99% Invisible (https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/invisible-women/) and listened to the audio book, which the author has read herself.

The book is primarily about three things:
- Design
- Data and
- Women

The entire book is about how designers have ignored the role that gender plays in designing their products or services and how by not collecting data about how the design interacts with half the world’s population, we are blindsighted of the huge implications of ignoring this demographic from our design research.

Ease of reading:

The book is a slightly difficult read, not because the language used is not simple but because the book is full of data from various research reports and is like one side of a debate on the importance of not just collecting data about how our designs interact with women but also how we design products, services itself.

What I loved about the book:

This book is about a topic that is most relevant in today’s world we live in. This book is a social critique of how we treat women in the society as such and how that creeps into the design of every aspect of the social fabric (architecture, government, toilets, refugee camps, urban town planning, music halls, cars, medical schools teaching about critical care, traffic management, public transportation and many many more).

The book clearly lays out what is wrong about the current world that we inhabit. Reading this book (listening in my case) opens your eyes and you then see the gender bias that the book espouses everywhere you look. Its like something that once seen that cant be unseen. Once you read and understand the argument that the author makes, you can see the proof of her diagnosis all around us and cant unsee it anymore.

The question then is what are we going to do about it. As designers and creators, it is each and everyone of our responsibility to address this gender bias in everything that we create.

I’ve decided that every design that I am going to get involved going forward, I will work hard to make sure that this gender bias is addressed in as effective manner as the team can address. I do hope that all the designers that I know and work with will do the same.

What would I have done differently:

The only thing that I would have done differently is to find some proof of areas where the system does work better and addresses the gender gap and show the contrast between two systems (one that has the gender bias inherent in the design of the system and one that addresses that) and showcase the difference in the effectiveness.

That said, I can also understand why that might not have been possible as there are very little areas where gender bias is not prevalent and credit where it is due, the author does talk about the contrast (for example when she talks about the design of cooking stoves and how one team that actually spoke and watched the women cook in their natural habitat, before designing the stove and the success of the stove).

My personal preference also would have been not to quote so many research papers but to show examples wherever possible.
This is due to the fact that there are a host of readers who gloss over results from the research papers as most of the research papers are also biased in themselves and it makes for a very boring & a difficult read. Instead stories from her experience or from the experience of women would have been more interesting to read while at the same time the research could have been quoted in the appendix. But again, this is my bias and each author has their own style and each book requires a certain style to be adopted to make the case strong and effective.

I must say that the author has indeed made her case very effectively and many readers will be compelled to act (which is what I think defines the success of any book).

In Conclusion:

— Reading this book has brought to light the inherent gender bias in almost every design that I can see around me. This has also moved me enough to make a decision to ensure that the bias doesn’t infiltrate in anything that I create or design. This I think is a big success for the author. Also, I will never forget her rant – “Why can’t women be/act more like men?”.
— This is a 5 star book for me.

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  • Jessica McGrath
  • 26-08-2019

Fascinating and shocking

I was hooked on this book. Highly recommended to everyone, but particularly if you have an interest in science or data. I especially think it was read so brilliantly as the author narrates so her passion really drives the message home. Worth the purchase!

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  • Joonas Pihlajamaa
  • 02-05-2019

Bridging the gender data gap with too much data

The idea of the book is great. Many of the examples are very interesting, and many even surprise you "huh that is true!". However, the exhausting listing of examples drowns the line of thought, or then there's just too little thought to begin with. Out of the 8725 examples covered in this book, I'd keep maybe 2500 of the most interesting ones and replace the leftover space with reflection.

I started the book with high hopes to educate myself (and as a man with less personal experience) to realize the subtle ways the society still puts genders on different standing, but many chapters (especially the 45 minutes about toilets) left me wishing the reader would stop with anecdotes already and either offer some synthesis or move forward to another topic. I'm sure the point could've been driven home with fewer well chosen anecdotes.

The author did excellent job collecting all these examples, but narrative took a hit under the sheer amount of them. I'd recommend listening to a sample to see if you think you can get through this, or split the listening over a longer time period.

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  • Lior
  • 02-05-2019

Invisible Trans People

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 sex-segregated bathrooms in some places increases rape and sexual assault. This is clearly focusing on the wrong aspect of a problem, while creating new problems for people who don't fit the norm. It is extremely disappointing in the context of shedding light on how women are seen as a deviation of the cis male norm, who is seen as default.
A critical book published in 2019 which deals with gender cannot ignore trans folks. It is simply not good enough to address cis people exclusively in such a comprehensive book.
Hope there will be a better, more inclusive edition soon, as it is highly important this kind of information be accessible for all.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 30-03-2019

Engaging and Memorable

I was reluctant to get this book as I don't subscribe to popular feminist views preferring to base my opinions on facts and figures rather than feelings. This book has all the facts and figures this mathematician could hope for. At points the figures provided (all sourced) were so shocking that it was difficult not to laugh in disbelief. As a mother who also works full time I appreciated having the audio book version to turn to as I was able to finish it within the week.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-03-2019

The best book I've read in ages

Read it, you won't regret it. The only point I took off was because, in some sections when the author was covering topics new to me, I would have liked her to speak slightly slower. Well researched, coherent and impactful. She put words and figures to many things I had been feeling but had been unable to explain satisfactorily to those who believe we live in an equal society. She points out lots of useful things we can do as a society about the problems raised.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Esther
  • 21-04-2019

Important book but dreadful audio

This is a book that everyone needs to read, but sadly I couldn’t listen to it. Even at 0.75 speed, the author and narrator rattled through it so fast a)I couldn’t keep up with the information which is wide ranging and jumps about a lot. and b) it sounded like a rant. I tried it on half speed but that gave too much distortion. Normally I like books to be read by the author but this just didn’t work for me so am returning the audiobook and buying the kindle version.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie
  • 20-03-2019

Best book of the year so far

I love none fiction books but 8 do struggle with non fiction feminist books, even as a feminist women, as they often talk in circles. However this book is perfect as it is focused entirely on the facts. Perez doesn't need to embellish or simplify because the facts speak for themselves. Completely changed my view of the world. A book every women and every man, especially men, should read this year. Already reccomeded it to everyone irl

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Hilary Clarke
  • 15-05-2019

Amazing!

This book is such an eyeopening book. I finished it and immediately felt motivated to try and make a difference. It is written in a way that is both informative and makes you want to keep reading. Such a brilliant book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • F. Short
  • 15-05-2019

Eye opening and hugely important.

As an adult woman I felt I was fully versed in the various and multiple little ways the world works against us. I now realise I had no idea of, not just how unfair life can be for some women around the world, but also how invisible we are. Listening to this book made me gasp out loud on several occasions with shock, frustration or exasperation and my long-suffering husband got a running commentary on the bits I was just gobsmacked by. Whoever builds a family house with no kitchen or other typically female spaces? Not just once but repeatedly. A man who has never given "women's things" a second thought, that's who. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the world and why it is like it is.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • nina white
  • 09-05-2019

eyes wide open.

this was beyond thought provoking. I am going to ensure that I play my part in ensuring the world I bring my daughter up in does not treat her as A typical. I am going to recommend this book to everyone, especially my male friends and family. there is no point in all us women violently agreeing with ourselves, men have to see this as a problem too. loved it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • shelley
  • 05-05-2019

A must read for everyone

This is an extremely well researched book that everyone should read. It starts with the less serious lack of considering the differences between men and women's bodies, daily existence and societal expectations and builds to some of the most alarming and dangerous examples.

The writer reads her own work and I think this adds to the performance.

I would really recommend this book and hope that maybe it will have some impact and encourage greater investigation into ways to improve some of these issues.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-05-2019

Excellent book

Excellently delivered message, thoroughly researched. Very good explanations with many examples of the many different statistical biases that affect society's understanding of women.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Catriona Ferris
  • 05-05-2019

Great thought piece but would have preferred professional reader

This is an amazing collection of well thought out manifesto on the importance of listening to women and collecting data on women. Very well written but think would have been even better with a professional female performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful