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Invisible Women: the default male athlete

Invisible Women
Invisible Women: the default male athlete
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #84 • View online
My dear GFPs, apologies for not getting out a newsletter last week – I’m sure I sound like a stuck record, but the difficult personal things I mentioned a few weeks ago are still ongoing and I just didn’t get any good writing time last week. Hopefully the BANGER that is this week’s newsletter will make up for it 😘

Gender data gap of the week
GFPs, this week we have good and bad news. The bad news is that women experience far more severe adverse events [AEs] than men when it comes to cancer treatment.
The good news is that we even know this.
A paper that came out this month noted that while we have known for some time that women have more AEs than men from chemo, “few studies have investigated sex differences in immune or targeted therapies.” This failure to include sex in the evaluation of risk is, they said, surprising, given “growing evidence identifying patient sex as a predictor of disease sequelae.”
Yes, it is surprising isn’t it. And yet, somehow not surprising at all.
Anyway, these researchers set out to close this particular data gap, and the findings are not pretty.
Women had a 34% increased risk of severe AEs compared with men, […]including a 49% increased risk among those receiving immunotherapy.
Women receiving immunotherapy also had
a 66% increased risk of symptomatic AEs compared with men. Moreover, women were more likely to experience severe hematologic AEs among those receiving chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
This, the paper authors wrote, suggests that “broad-based sex differences exist,” and that studying AEs from immunotherapy in particular “is a priority.”
Obviously GFPs agree, although as Jennifer Lopez so cogently noted* above, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this research will therefore happen
*my legal advisor aka Poppy The Benificent informs me that I must clarify that Jennifer Lopez has in fact never spoken to me at all, let alone let me in on her opinions on the failure to explore sex differences in response to medical treatments. Sorry, Jennifer.
*my legal advisor aka Poppy The Benificent informs me that I must clarify that Jennifer Lopez has in fact never spoken to me at all, let alone let me in on her opinions on the failure to explore sex differences in response to medical treatments. Sorry, Jennifer.
As for why these sex differences exist, that’s still all to play for.
It could be, for example, that women being on average smaller than then, a default male dosage is simply too much for them – although the paper authors wrote that they accounted for differences in body weight in the analysis so it seems unlikely. It could also be that there are differences in the “reporting or interpretation of AEs” although since the differences were in both symptomatic and objective (by which they mean, objectively measured and not dependent on patient reporting) AEs, that also seems somewhat unlikely.
Meanwhile, as the paper authors note, we know that there are sex differences in how male and female bodies metabolise certain drugs, and that the gut microbiome may also play a role “given its role in regulating metabolic and immune inflammatory pathways”
In conclusion, we don’t really know much. But this paper is an important step towards quantifying that data gap and evidencing why it matters – and in turn, is hopefully therefore an important step towards closing it.
Default male of the week
Dr Harriet Hunt
Neat example of the default sex from @TVsPointless - well corrected by @richardosman specifying ‘male’ for top and bottom categories when reading it out, but still - pfft. Paging @CCriadoPerez
Well done to Richard Osmon for spotting and correcting live on air, but as Dr Hunt says, absolutely PFFFFFFT to everyone else involved in this, the perpetuation of one of my LEAST FAVOURITE default male categories: the default male athlete.
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GFPs fixing it
GFPs who intend to be at festivals this year, this one’s for you!
Founders of UK’s first urinal for women raise £250,000 in initial funding round
Peequal say their product are six times faster to use and produce 98 per cent less carbon than traditional portable toilets.
They are also working with social enterprise Peepower to turn the urine collected into electricity and have plans to convert the urine into fertiliser in the future.
Ms McShane said: “We’re really proud to be changing the way women pee, and doing it in a safe way which reduces time spent in queues. Because our urinals are modular and flat packed, just one of our festival orders this summer will take 70 lorries – or 140 lorry trips – off the roads.”
Longtime GFPs may remember PEEQUAL from their appearance in this very newsletter all the way back in June 2021 – never accuse a GFP of being behind the curve 💪
At the time, the urinal was still at the prototype stage, and Hazel and Amber were testing it out at a select few events, refining the design as they went. Now, they’re going to be popping up at festivals all over the UK this summer, with “250 units currently under construction and several deals being signed with large-scale festival operators in the coming weeks.” They’re also planning on expanding into European festivals next year.
Anyway, this is excellent news for women who hate wasting their lives away in the queue for the toilet – so that’s all women then
Product of the week
Great solution from GFP Alicia to The Great M&S Pocket Mystery (I have still not received an answer to my question btw)
Maybe M&S could take the bum pocket off baby leggings - for those small items that it’s notoriously safe for babies to have and the gross motor coordination that they are famous for to use pockets - and allocate the extra fabric for lady pockets?
To thinking, Alicia. Meanwhile, over in Denmark, GFP Lene wanted to draw attention to these workout leggings that are specifically marketed as having pockets:
Køb træningstights med lommer | Tights online | EYDA
As Lene says, “Amazing what can happen when a woman starts a brand focused on designing exercise gear for women based on insights of women who exercise!”
Poppy pic of the week
TWO poppy pics for you this week since you were so cruelly deprived last week
That’s it! Until next time, my dear 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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