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Invisible Women - something new and different for us!

Invisible Women
Invisible Women - something new and different for us!
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #30 • View online

Well, GFPs, I’m pissed off again, but it’s not housing related. It’s data-related – I know, I know…
Probably the best film ever made as all GFPs will agree
Probably the best film ever made as all GFPs will agree
I blame the government. No, really. See in the news yesterday I read this:
Companies collecting data for pubs and restaurants to help them fulfil their contact-tracing duties are harvesting confidential customer information to sell.
…and suddenly the massive uptick in fraud calls and texts made sense. I never give out my mobile number to companies precisely for this reason. But like an idiot, I believed the privacy policy on the track and trace system of the one pub (Prince of Wales, Highgate) and one restaurant (Pastaio, Soho) I have visited, which said that my data would be deleted after 21 days and only used for track and trace. You know, and I also have certain feelings about doing my bit during a pandemic. But that bit is meant to be met halfway by a halfway competent government that anticipates that OBVIOUS and prepares for it.
The “quick response” mobile codes have been widely adopted by the hospitality, leisure and beauty industries as an alternative to pen-and-paper visitor logs since the government ordered businesses to collect contact details to give to NHS Test and Trace if required.
Any data collected should be kept by the business for 21 days and must not be used “for any purposes other than for NHS Test and Trace”, according to government guidelines.
Guidelines. But not, you will notice, law. Which means the inevitable has happened.
But some firms used by businesses to meet the new requirements have clauses in their terms and conditions stating they can use the information for reasons other than contact tracing, including sharing it with third parties. The privacy policy of one company used by a restaurant chain in London says it stores users’ data for 25 years.
It may also “collect, use, store and transfer” records of access to certain premises including “time, ID number and CCTV images”.
Which is not creepy at all, is it.
One company quoted in the piece had the gall to say that users “agreed” to have their details shared. Which is a bit rich given it’s hidden away in their privacy policy which a user has no choice but to accept.
On hearing the news, some people advocated using the pen and paper system instead, but as GFPs will remember from a few newsletters ago, that is hardly a safe alternative for women. In fact it was these QR code versions that were meant to be the safer alternative, as your data entirely bypassed the pub or restaurant staff; in my naivety this made me feel more secure about handing over my details. Several attempts to scam me out of money in the past week have made me feel quite different about the whole thing.
Basically for women the options seem to be:
  1. have your details passed on to scammers
  2. have your details available to creeps
In short: what an absolute and entirely avoidable shambles.
Unrelated PS: someone got in touch after last week’s email to complain that I called the stick figures in the Education Policy Institutes’ graphic “men”. Was it because of the trousers, he pondered.
Yet most women in my schools EYFS Dept wore trousers. Constant kneeling and bending. Comfort, decency, convenience, POCKETS.
“Keep up the (otherwise) good work ):” he concluded, not at all patronisingly.
Now listen up, matey. First up, I said default male not men. Remedial reading of, oh probably the entire of Invisible Women for you. Here’s a link for you to buy a copy.
Second, thanks for alerting me to the fact that women can and do wear trousers (had no idea) and also to the existence of pockets!! I didn’t realise such mythical constructs existed IRL.
And sticking with that subject, the results of the YouGov pockets survey are in! The good news is that we can definitely put to bed the idea that women actively don’t want pockets in their clothes as was claimed by some pyjama w*nker. For every item of clothing surveyed (jacket, trousers, dress, skirt, shorts, pyjamas), more women wanted pockets than didn’t – although the preference was greatest for jackets and trousers.
However I can definitely clarify that any retailer currently selling women’s trousers without pockets can get to f*ck: EIGHTY PER CENT of women surveyed said they wanted pockets in their trousers. Same goes for jackets where 95% of women want pockets (versus only 92% for men! Who always get pockets!). The figures were more underwhelming for dresses and skirts (although WITH pockets won in both instances), however I do wonder how much of that is to do the many different styles of dresses and skirts and women not wanting pockets on a dress if it’s form-fitting, which was a level of detail we couldn’t easily capture. I mean, personally I would rather have pockets than a form-fitting dress, but then I am an unbearable radical feminist killjoy.
Interestingly, there was a bit of an age split over pocket prefs. For dresses and skirts, where in general the attitude was a bit 🤷‍♀️ women under 39 were more likely to want pockets than women 40 and above (by 13pts and 8pts respectively).
Particularly interesting, however, was the pyjamas. For women aged 18-29, 51% said they preferred having pockets (15% didn’t want pockets; 28% were 🤷‍♀️), which was barely different to men of the same age at 55% (in conclusion, given men always have pockets, give us fecking pockets because there’s barely any difference in preferences). But for women over 60 only 18% wanted pockets in their jammies?? What gives, women over 60?! (to be fair, only 22% of men over 60 wanted pockets so I guess…
…nope I still have no idea). Anyway, still, give us bloody pockets.
The question we asked over whether someone had ever NOT bought an item of clothing they liked because it either did or didn’t have pockets was where it got really interesting though. For both men and women of all ages, the percentage of those who had NOT bought an item of clothing they liked because it DID have pockets came in at 16% and 19% respectively. BUT. For both men and women of all ages, the number of those who had NOT bought an item of clothing they liked because it did NOT have pockets was 38%! THE SAME! SO WHY DO MEN ALWAYS GET BL**DY POCKETS IN THEIR CLOTHES AND WE DON’T?!?!?!?!?!?
Final word to Dame Leslie
Final word to Dame Leslie
Default Male of the Week
Pretty staggering graph from Nesta’s report on the representation of women in every UK feature-length film released in cinemas between 1911 and 2015. That’s over 10,000 films.
I always think representation in films is a really good indicator of the state of the default male, because these are literally just stories we tell ourselves, so it’s not like there’s some major structural issue that’s preventing us telling stories about women as there is for, say, increasing representation in parliament.
Other interesting nuggets included
  • the finding that the unnamed characters “most likely to have been played by female, rather than male, actors are prostitute, housekeeper, nurse, secretary and receptionist,” a result which held when they only considered films released from 1985 onwards.
  • Up to 1985 only 3% of doctors were played by women. From 1985 that goes up to 15%, even reaching the dizzying heights of a staggering 16% from 2005. Just FYI the majority of doctors in the UK are female.
  • And then there was this:
This graph shows the impact that female writers and directors have on the percentage of female actors in films. You could choose to be depressed by this, or alternatively, you could choose to view this as an opportunity. Because it makes the solution to a film industry that still all too often insists on treating women like bit-parts pretty clear: hire more female writers and directors. And that’s something the industry can push for pretty easily. Make having a certain level of diversity behind the cameras a non-negotiable for winning the big prizes. You’ll soon see a shift.
Gender Data Gap of the Week
Data Shows Fewer Afghan Women Than Men Get Covid. That’s Bad News.
In May, in a small village in Herat Province in Afghanistan, Sediqa’s husband came down with symptoms of Covid-19 and was taken to a hospital in Herat City for treatment. When he came home, 10 days later, Sediqa looked after him.
Within a week, she fell ill, too.
“I had the same symptoms and day by day, it got worse,” said Sediqa, whose last name has been omitted for fear of repercussions. “I was feeling so weak, I didn’t feel like eating or drinking.”
But when she asked to go to a hospital, her husband refused. “He said ‘no way.’ He told me to sunbathe and drink more tea.”
Sharifa, who lives in Kabul, faced a similar situation. Her husband tested positive for the coronavirus and, in caring for him, she eventually fell sick, too. But her husband stopped her from getting a test or seeing a doctor.
“My husband said that I wasn’t even sick, and that I was just seeking his attention,” Sharifa said. “He was even laughing at me.”
In Afghanistan, the number of women reported to have tested positive for the virus or to have died of Covid-19 is far below the numbers reported for men. Globally, men account for 53 percent of confirmed cases and 58 percent of deaths, according to the independent research group Global Health 50/50. But the same organization’s country tracker shows that in Afghanistan, men account for 70 percent of cases and 74 percent of deaths — a peculiarly wide discrepancy that experts say is most likely the result of gender inequalities that shut women like Sediqa and Sharifa out of the health care system and the public sphere.
I don’t have much to say about this report, partly because, I admit, I’m slightly running out of steam here, but also because this article is so enraging and upsetting. BUT, it’s so good to see this being written about in such a high profile newspaper. The dedicated gender reporting at the New York Times alone makes my sub worth it, and if you haven’t signed up to their newsletter In Her Words, now’s the time to do so. And follow @alisha__g, who writes most of them, on twitter.
Event of the Week
Another event I’m doing! Follow along here if you fancy it. Apologies for messing up the IMF link last week – I’m hopeful I haven’t repeated the mistake this week, but check my twitter if I have as I’ll post there too. 
Toilet of the week
Submission from an excellent GFP, as indeed you all are
Hopefully the suits will follow, er, suit.
Poppy pic of the week
Poppy just off for a spot of pillaging
Poppy just off for a spot of pillaging
Phew what a bloody marathon! Until next time, sweet GFPs 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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