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Invisible Women - NOW YOU SEE US

Invisible Women
Invisible Women - NOW YOU SEE US
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #20 • View online
Helloooooo GFPs and welcome to the latest edition of your favourite newsletter! This week, I have some very exciting news to announce: Yes, I’m working on a new book! Woohoo! Let the whining about how fucking impossible it is to write a book commence! Srsly tho, I’m terrified. Difficult second album fears are real (even though this is actually my third book but whatever it’s not like I write about data or anything is it).
Aaaanyway, the book is called NOW YOU SEE US: How to Close the Data Gap and Design a World for Everyone. As the title suggests, it will be a follow-up to Invisible Women, in which I try to answer the question I have been asked at every event I’ve done since IW came out: “ok, but what can we do?”.
ngl, I *love* that this has been the major response to IW. Partly, because it shows I did my job right: everyone gets that this is a huge problem that needs fixing, urgently. But also because of what it tells me about all of you: that you aren’t content to sit and passively wait for the “inevitable” path of progress (which btw is a dangerous myth. There is nothing inevitable about progress, and rights can be rolled back far, far more easily than they are ever gained, see: post-70s Afghanistan, and Poland, Hungary and the US right now to mention just a few. One of the biggest dangers to women’s rights – and to anyone else’s rights – is complacency. Always, always, be vigilant.)
So with that in mind, let’s get on with the show!

Gender Data Gap of the week
This week, we need to talk about beta blockers. Here is what the British Heart Foundation has to say about them:
They are inexpensive, well tolerated drugs and save many lives by lowering blood pressure, protecting against recurrent heart attacks and helping people with heart failure to live longer.
They are used to treat conditions including angina, heart failure and some heart rhythm disorders, and after a heart attack.
They sound great, don’t they? Sadly, however, this week a study threw doubt over just how “well-tolerated” they really are – at least if you’re female. You see, as the study authors noted, “prior trials and meta-analyses enrolled nearly 5 men for every woman.” And so, as a result, “any differences in the effect of beta blockers among women would have been concealed by the effect of beta blocker therapy among men.” And, it turns out, those effects are quite significant:
Beta blockers taken for hypertension may predispose women to worse outcomes, compared with men, when they later present with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), a registry study suggests.
In the analysis of more than 13,000 patients with ACS and no history of cardiovascular (CV) disease, the women who had taken beta blockers for hypertension showed about a one-third increased risk for heart failure (HF) at the time of their ACS presentation.
Ah. That, um…seems kind of…sub-optimal.
Bit of a downer tbh. Kind of makes you think it might have been better if we had, I dunno, historically tested drugs on women as well as men and, like, maybe, sex-disaggregated our data as standard?
I’m just throwing ideas out there.
The study authors concluded that there was “one main implication” of their findings for clinical practice: “Blood pressure in women may be regulated in a safer way, such as using other medications and, of course, through diet and exercise.”
That suggestion, “through diet and exercise,” particularly caught my attention, because it reminded me of something infuriating I remembered reading about in the course of my research for IW:
Even something as basic as advice on how to exercise to keep disease at bay is based on male-biased research. If you run a general search for whether resistance training is good for reducing heart disease, you’ll come across a series of papers warning against resistance training if you have high blood pressure. This is in large part because of the concerns that it doesn’t have as beneficial an effect on lowering blood pressure as aerobic exercise, and also because it causes an increase in artery stiffness.
Which is all true. In men. Who, as ever, form the majority of research participants. The research that has been done on women suggests that this advice is not gender-neutral. A 2008 paper, for example, found that not only does resistance training lower blood pressure to a greater extent in women, women don’t suffer from the same increase in artery stiffness. And this matters, because as women get older, their blood pressure gets higher compared to men of the same age, and elevated blood pressure is more directly linked to cardiovascular mortality in women than in men. In fact, the risk of death from coronary artery disease for women is twice that for men for every 20 mm Hg increase in blood pressure above normal levels. It also matters because commonly used antihypertensive drugs have been shown to be less beneficial in lowering blood pressure in women than in men.
So to sum up: for women, the blood-pressure drugs (developed using male subjects) don’t work as effectively, but resistance training just might do the trick. Except we haven’t known that because all the studies have been done on men. And this is before we account for the benefits to women in doing resistance training to counteract osteopenia and osteoporosis, both of which they are at high risk for post-menopause. (IW, pp.210-11)
PPE of the Week
@CCriadoPerez I am working with PPE which does not require fit testing prior to use and only comes in 1 universal size, one of the sisters in another department stood up and got her own fit testing equipment, she has self reported that around 45% of these masks are failing the fit tests
Just a reminder that this still isn’t sorted and we have a second outbreak around the corner 🤪
Default Male of the Week
Latest news in from the US: don’t be a woman and want to be a lawyer.
alexandra j. roberts
no 🤬🤬🤬 feminine products at the arizona bar exam
1. you have to trust they have the kind you need
2. & don't run out in ~8 hours
3. & take one from a communal bowl, covid19 worst practices


also, no tissues?!
Following the inevitable twitter outrage, Arizona reversed their policy, for which, hooray! But how did it take until a twitterstorm in – and I cannot stress this enough – *2020* for this to be addressed? Answers on the back of a tampon please.
Meanwhile, in the UK, we have our own default male problems in the legal profession:
This reminds me a bit of something I wrote about in IW about the reluctance in English & Welsh local government to use tech solutions in order to facilitate female participation: “Adding to the sense that this is a matter of priorities rather than resources, most local-government meetings take place in the evening (when childcare is most likely to be needed), and although it is standard practice in many countries from the US to Sweden for councillors to remotely attend or vote at meetings, current law does not allow for this cheaper alternative.”
Of course it’s not like we’re in the middle of a PANDEMIC that has forced us to reckon with remote working technology and shown that actually it works pretty much fine for the most part, is it.
Campaign of the Week
I love this idea! Petition to replace the removed statue of slaver Robert Milligan outside the Museum of London Docklands with a statue of Mary Price, the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to Parliament. It’s a no-brainer. Click, sign, share do your thing. Let’s get this one sorted!
Petition · Statue for Mary Prince ·
Poppy pic of the week
This is *my* measuring tape. I need it for very stuff.
This is *my* measuring tape. I need it for very stuff.
That’s it! Until next time, GFPs…be vigilant 💪 xoxox
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Caroline Criado Perez

Keeping up with the gender data gap (and whatever else takes my fancy). Like the Kardashians, but with more feminist rage. Plus, toilet queue of the week.

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