Invisible Women

By Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women: probably alien life forms

#60・

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Invisible Women
Invisible Women: probably alien life forms
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #60 • View online
Hello! This newsletter is free to read and it will remain free – but it isn’t free to produce. If you want to support the work that goes into this newsletter please consider becoming a member. Thank you!

Well hello there my dear GFPs! Let us begin proceedings with the traditional CCP apology: I am SO SORRY to those of you who weren’t able to make Tuesday’s GFP LIVE thanks to my apparent inability to post correct zoom links 😬😭😱 < these were the exact emotions I went through on realising I had in fact f*ck*d that right up.
I did try to email out the correct link to all of you but it turns out Revue does not let me send out more than one email a day (presumably for server/spam purposes which is fair enough) so it didn’t send. Thankfully my trusty AB was on hand and I think managed to herd a few lost GFPs back into the fold via twitter.
In conclusion: 😬
Anyway, to those who DID make it, thank you for joining and being such a fantastic and enthusiastic audience! And weren’t Imogen and Susannah great! If you’d like to catch up I have uploaded the event onto Youtube (see below) and I really do recommend you watch this one. Not only was it great fun (who could forget DERRICK), it was also informative and inspiring. What’s not to like!
GFP LIVE! Episode 2
GFP LIVE! Episode 2
Aren’t they brilliant? If you’ve been inspired by the event to join this movement and hold your own council to account, Make Space for Girls have some brilliant resources they’ve made freely available on their website.
If you’d like to support the VERY EXCITING pilot project they’re running to design a space that is welcoming to girls BASED ON ACTUAL DATA THAT THEY WILL BE COLLECTING, you can do so here.
And if you like the idea of being able to join the next GFP LIVE and ask questions of your own, you can! All you have to do is become a member, which you can do here.
Hurrah!
In other news, *I* am the one being interviewed next week, by Hope Edelman, an author from the US who writes mainly about bereavement and who…credits Invisible Women with saving her life.
This is what she had to say about it:
Holy and indeed sh*t
Holy and indeed sh*t
Following that post, Hope and I were put in touch and in an email to me Hope explained that many of her readers have “lost parents, typically mothers, to health issues that could have been prevented or caught earlier.” She told me that she was struck by how many women had replied to her Facebook post saying that “the same thing had happened to their mothers, whose concerns had been dismissed or who hadn’t gotten medical attention in time.” This reminded me of the first flurry of emails from readers I got in response to Invisible Women: there were a fair few from people, men and women, who had lost their mother to a heart attack that had been dismissed by a doctor.
Anyway, Hope hosts a weekly event for these “motherless daughters” and I am going to be her guest for the next one, THIS TUESDAY August 17th at 6pm BST. If you’d like to join us, please head here to register and you will be sent the zoom link. and rest assured it will be the correct zoom link because I will not be the one sending it!
Right, let’s see what data gaps the default malers have prepared for us this week….
Gender data gap of the week
Back in the misty days of 2013, I got a bit cross. I know, unprecedented. Anyway, the reason I got cross was because for two days in a row, the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 hosted a discussion in which an all male panel discussed women’s bodies.
The first day, the men discussed women’s experiences of breast cancer tests.
And the second day, the men discussed teenage girls and contraception
ANYWAY, the BBC issued your standard blah blah we were unable to find female experts and yadayadayada after some furious ranting considered discussion online a few of us got together and The Women’s Room was born. Yes I know the website needs a redesign 😬
Anyway this is a long preamble to saying that nearly ten years on, not much seems to have changed. In 2020, the Global Media Monitoring Project reported that just 25% of news sources and subjects were women. That’s up 1% from 2010. A decade to increase women’s representation by 1%.
In fact, in some areas, female representation actually decreased. While the number of science and health news articles enjoyed a dramatic increase this year (thanks Covid!), this rise in prominence was accompanied by a 5 point fall in women’s presence in the stories. It’s almost as if when something comes to be seen as more important, women are crowded out of the field [cough computer science cough]??? 🤔🤔🤔
So I was, let’s say, unsurprised to see an analysis of Nature‘s journalism over the past 15 years, which found that men were quoted more than twice as often as women, which, I don’t need to remind GFPs, is “not consistent with what we know about the sex ratios of extant human populations [🤪] ” (IW, p.4)
Nature’s publishing is also not consistent with what we know about the sex ratios of extant academic researchers:
The global science report by UNESCO, the United Nations science and education organization, was published earlier this month and puts this at 33% in 2018. By comparison, Davidson and Greene [the authors of this paper] found that women made up around 20% of last-author and 25% of first-author positions on Nature papers; the ratios are about 25% and 37% in a wider selection of papers in Springer Nature journals.
Still, it’s not all bad news. First of all, this analysis was itself reported in Nature, and good on them for that. They also pointed out that while the stats (69% of direct quotes from men) are bad, they are improving: that figure was 80% before 2017.
They are also proactively collecting their own diversity data, which as readers of Invisible Women will know, is one of the best ways to ensure change actually happens, (from shame if nothing else), and there has been progress here too:
last year, women comprised 58% of authors in Nature’s World View column — up from 35% in 2017, and from 18% in 2016. And, in 2020, women accounted for 34% of authors of News and Views articles — which explain and analyse new research — compared with 26% in 2017 and 12% in 2012
I’ll just end with a hilarious caveat to all this: the algorithm used to determine whether the authors were men or women IS ITSELF MALE BIASED BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS.
in a sample of articles from 2005 to 2015, it assigned 78% of quoted speakers as male, but the true number, when the authors checked, was 75%.
Default male of the week
GFPs, I regret to inform you that the scientists are at it again.
Frontiers | Metabolic and Fatigue Profiles Are Comparable Between Prepubertal Children and Well-Trained Adult Endurance Athletes | Physiology
Yes, this time it turns out that girls are not children – who knew! I’m not sure what they are instead, but I guess alien life forms? I can also confirm that women are not adults and nor are they endurance athletes, which will be news to this woman:
Woman Wins 50K Ultra Outright, Trophy Snafu for Male Winner Follows - Female Ultrarunners
Despite the study’s exclusive focus on male humans, they deliver their conclusions in entirely gender neutral language:
The results of the present study showed a comparable net contribution of energy derived from aerobic metabolism during the Wingate test between prepubertal children and well-trained adult endurance athletes. Furthermore, the post-exercise recovery kinetics of oxygen uptake and HR were respectively similar and faster in prepubertal children than well-trained adult endurance athletes. The removal ability of lactate out of the blood compartment was also higher in children than well-trained adult endurance athletes. These results could explain why the rate and magnitude of fatigue in prepubertal children are similar to well-trained adult endurance athletes and why they recover faster from high-intensity exercise than untrained adults.
On a more practical level, the results of the present study suggest that prepubertal children may not have to perform specific training to develop their aerobic metabolic competence. Other strategies might be considered before puberty to improve exercise performance, including entrainment of anaerobic systems and movement technique training to improve mechanical efficiency. In contrast, as the maturational and growth processes have an adverse effect on oxidative energy production in exercising muscle, aerobic training may be a high priority in pubertal and post-pubertal children to maintain their aerobic potential and delay the development of exercise-induced fatigue.
Of course none of this is at all relevant for female children, who have no call for exercise at all.
What’s that? Oh does page 65 of Invisible Women point to research suggesting that it is especially important for young girls to begin exercising before puberty because physical exercise increases young people’s bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life?
On the other hand, girls aren’t children apparently so 🤷‍♀️
Would it be churlish of me to point out the severely male dominated line up of the paper’s authors, which i’m sure had nothing to do with their forgetting that female humans are a thing?
Oopsie!
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GFPs fixing it
GFPs, this week we’re talking purchasing power. And the fact that women have quite a lot of it.
According to Catalyst, on average 89% of women across the world reported controlling or sharing daily shopping needs, compared to only 41% of men. In the US, women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing. In the UK, women “make the decision or influence the purchase of 92% of holidays, 65% of cars, 93% of food, 91% of homes and 61% of PCs.”
BUT. Under  3% of venture capital funding in the US goes to women-led start-ups. In the UK that figure drops below 1%. The global figure is 2.3%.
The technical term for this disparity is bull$h1t. And now I’m going to introduce you to some GFPs who are on a mission to change things.
Step forward Purse Power, the website with a very simple mission: to get women to use their purchasing power to get business power. To facilitate this, these women have set up an online, searchable directory of businesses that are led by women.
Purse Power is currently only US-based, but maybe if we ask very nicely they will expand? 😍 Either way, GFPs, I LOVE this idea! If women are going to get loaded with all the effing tedious shopping for our families, we might as well use that power to get ourselves MORE POWER
yes this is the future feminists want
yes this is the future feminists want
Product of the week
This week’s product of the week comes via GFP Catherine – and please do remember I welcome GFP submissions for all sections, but particularly this one! Wisdom of the crowd and all that.
Anyway, back to GFP Catherine, who works in robotics for marine science. And as readers of Invisible Women may remember, women like Catherine who work outdoors in cold, wet and windy places, sometimes have a bit of an issue when it comes to their foul-weather clothing.
The peeing issue is a recurring one for women who have to spend any length of time outdoors. In the UK all coastguards are issued with a set of one-piece overalls which they are meant to put on underneath various other pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as foul-weather clothing, life jackets and climbing harnesses. The double zip at the front of the overalls is great if you are a man, but, explained one woman in a 2017 Trades Union Congress (TUC) report, peeing becomes a ‘major operation’ for women as all the PPE must be stripped off, followed by the overalls them- selves. ‘As the type of incidents which we are called to regularly involve long searches which can last for many hours,’ she explains, ‘you can imagine the discomfort which female coastguards end up having to experience as a result. 
Step forward, Gill and their offshore women’s trousers:
😍😍😍 check out that drop seat!!!
And that’s not all. According to Catherine, these offshore trousers also come with hand warmers, and, last, but imho by no means least: “giant pockets”! No wonder that by her own admission, Catherine “nearly wept with joy” when she found these.
Hurrah for Gill and hurrah for the growing number of brands that remember that not everyone has a penis! Hurrahs all round!
Homework
Very easy homework this week: if you can, do spare a few quid to help Make Space for Girls run their pilot. And if you can’t, share the fundraiser far and wide! Actually just share it anyway, whether or not you can donate yourself. They’re over halfway to their target: let’s see if GFPs can get them over the finish line! 😎
Fundraiser by Susannah Walker : Make Space for Girls - pilot fundraiser
Poppy pic of the week
TOO ADORABLE!!!
TOO ADORABLE!!!
That’s it! Until next time my dear GFPs, when I expect to be making a VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT about the long-awaited members area…😱😱😱😱
In the meantime I’m going to leave you with this Dad-from-ten-things meme which didn’t end up fitting in where I thought I’d use it but is too good not to share
Amen sister. Byeeee!!! xoxoxo
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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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