Posted in Book review, Reading Challenge

Book review – Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

Before summer I had an idea of forming a book club and I was happy to get some friends from work to join me in this newly formed group. We set out to decide the first book to read for the book club and after a lottery of many suggestions, my pick won and it was the Invisible Women. Yay!

There is no such thing as a woman who doesn’t work. There is only a woman who isn’t paid for her work.

Audio book cover of Invisible Women.

This was by far one of the most interesting and thought provoking books I’ve read this year.

Author Caroline Criado Perez has done an amazing amount of research to write this book. Huge respect for that! Her chapters are full of interesting details and quite honestly shocking findings about the data bias around women from all around the world. I can’t imagine the amount of time and effort she spent to research her sources thoroughly, or what kind of negativeness she might have experienced to provide pointers about what’s wrong with the world and it’s default (male) data. I hope all the feedback she’s gotten has been positive, but unfortunately it’s not difficult to imagine the anonymous trolls going against this book and the author herself.

I loved listening to the audio version of the book. It really felt like a learning experience that tickles your brain in the best way. I had many lightbulb moments e.g. when reading how the most common phone sizes are designed based on an average male hand (I’m always cursing how I can’t reach all the letters when texting one-handed with the smaller iPhone 8). There were many moments like this where things just clicked and I could almost say aloud “ohhh, that’s why!” or just “oh crap, really?”.

I also got something concrete from the book that I can be more aware of. It’s to be more mindful of how I address people when speaking in English at work. My native language is Finnish which has an easier approach to many gender neutral words, but I have noticed that when I speak casually to a group of people in English, I unconsciously say “guys” even when there are also women present. And then I notice it right after I’ve said it and feel bad about it. It’s a weird thing and actually quite annoying to use such a male word so automatically.
If I would translate myself directly to Finnish I would never say “pojat(boys)” or “miehet (men)” when speaking to people. We don’t even have word for “he” or “she”, but in stead we have one gender neutral word to address anyone: “hän”. So why does my brain automatically translate a mixed group of people to “guys” in English? Interesting. Male-focused words are addressed in Invisible Women and it really made me think about how I might be using words in an inconsiderate way.

I’m really looking forward to our first book club meeting next week and to hear how others felt about Invisible Women. I bet there are some pretty interesting discussions and insights.

Invisible Women gets a spot in my Reading Challenge and it fills the prompt of:

35. There is an entrepreneur or company in the book

I wholeheartedly recommend anyone to read this book. Invisible Women is an inspiration to all of us to think how we can make the world around us more equal with correct data that does not exclude half of the population as exceptions. Loved this book.

Author:

I love books, games and the coziness of our house (currently it's the kingdom of me and my husband). My work in a game studio as a Senior HR Specialist keeps me busy and social, but I am an introvert in my core. Navigating life between my very social work and my introvert, less social personality can be tricky and it goes hand in hand with my interest in overall personal well-being.

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