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Invisible Women - "they can only have been designed by a man"

Invisible Women
Invisible Women - "they can only have been designed by a man"
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #56 • View online
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Helloooooo GFPs! I’ve missed you! And so I am taking time out of my busy schedule of attacking ground elder to write to you once again.
First up I want to say a huge thank you to the many of you who took the time to fill out my GFP survey (which is still open if you missed it last time). It’s been brilliant getting to know more about you! I do have to apologise for my terrible question two, which as several of you pointed out was not particularly clear and was unhelpful for people who live in different countries from where they were born etc. One rather cross GFP said I should have known better given I was about to marry an immigrant – to which I can only say I should have known better as the daughter of an immigrant and as an immigrant myself! My answer to the dreaded “where are you from” question is always “it’s complicated” and then I wait to see if whoever asked is going to make me explain that my father is from Argentina, my mother is from the UK, I was born in Brazil and only received UK citizenship by special dispensation (when I was born mothers couldn’t automatically pass on their British nationality) so I had to have an interview to be allowed to work here and can’t pass on my nationality to my kids…plus I grew up all around the world. Definitely complicated! So huge apologies for the sloppy wording there. Next time I will ask “where do you live” 😬
THAT SAID, this question was still my favourite as it threw up one of the biggest surprises of the survey, which was how many of you are NOT from the UK. It was so exciting to see how many GFPs there are scattered all over the world! As well the the US, Canada, Australia and Germany which together with the UK make up the top 5 countries for GFP saturation, we have GFPs in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, UAE, Venezuela, and many more! (Thought I’d spare you the full list by choosing just one country at random from each letter of the alphabet).
Thank you also to those of you who took the time to give me feedback on the sex and gender questions, I’ve taken your comments on board and if I do another survey I’ll have a play around with the wording there too.
IN OTHER NEWS, this happened
swiftly followed by this
reader, i divorced him
NOT REALLY even tho he did try to mansplain signing the registry
mansplaining: the wedding edition
mansplaining: the wedding edition
(again not really, but this is my favourite pic of the whole wedding and I’m having it framed)
Gender data gap of the week
In news that will surprise no-one who remembers the great “American novelists” vs “American Women Novelists” fiasco of 2013, I regret to inform you that Wikipedia is at it again.
Ms. Categorized: Gender, notability, and inequality on Wikipedia - Francesca Tripodi, 2021
The overrepresentation of articles about men on Wikipedia is often put down to the overrepresentation of men in the ranks of Wikipedia editors (men make up an estimated 90% of Wikipedia editors). Women, therefore, are often encouraged to spend time editing Wikipedia to address the imbalance.
As well as being a classic case of an oppressed group being charged with fixing their own oppression, there is also the minor issue of this being a completely unrealistic fix given that women are already ridiculously time-poor what with all the unpaid labour they are already having to fit in around their paid labour. As I noted in Invisible Women, women in the US and the UK have five fewer hours of leisure time per week than men, while an Australian study found that “what little leisure time women do have is ‘more fractured and combined with other tasks’ than men’s”. But sure, load us up with fixing Wikipedia’s problems too, we can take it
women everywhere
women everywhere
This is of course before we get onto the hostility that women know they will face if they wade into this hornets’ nest:
In order to manage their personal safety, women editors often work in the “quiet corners” of Wikipedia, avoiding topics or areas prone to harassment (Menking et al., 2019Press and Tripodi, 2021: 140). The need to create safe spaces and tread lightly in discussions are just some of the many reasons Wikipedia participation requires a “taxing level of emotional labor” for women editors (Menking and Erickson, 2015: 209). This hostile environment deters women from continued participation in the community (Bear and Collier, 2016Eckert and Steiner, 2013; Fister, 2016; Jemielniak, 2014; Peake, 2015)
Nevertheless, as the paper goes on to point out, several activist groups have hosted “edit-a-thons” to increase the visibility of notable women. These strategies have had some success, but, this paper reveals, when it comes to pages about women, creating the page is only the first step in what can be a tedious war of attrition.
Here is one example:
On March 7, 2014, a biography for Donna Strickland, the physicist who invented a technology used by all the high-powered lasers in the world, was created on Wikipedia. In less than six minutes, it was flagged for a “speedy deletion” and shortly thereafter erased from the site. This decision is part of the reason Dr. Strickland did not have an active Wikipedia page when she was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics four years later. Despite clear evidence of Dr. Strickland’s professional endeavors, some did not feel her scholastic contributions were notable enough to warrant a Wikipedia biography.
“Some”.
“My research,” continues the paper’s author, Alexandra Tripodi, “demonstrates that the perceptions of Dr. Strickland’s accomplishments are not an anomaly. What happened to her biography fits a broader pattern regarding how women’s biographies that merit a Wikipedia page are disproportionally perceived as non-notable subjects.”
<women everywhere keel over at this unprecedented finding>
And in a reality exhausted women everywhere will recognise, this means that the activist groups trying to address Wikipedia’s gender data gap can’t spend their time creating more and more pages, but must instead “set alerts on the ones they have already created to ensure they do not get erased.”
AND YOU WONDER WHY WOMEN DON’T BOTHER. God I feel exhausted just thinking about it. But then you get angry because of course THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT. ARGH!
Let’s seek refuge in a nice cool glass of default male of the week
Default male of the week
Sticking with the Wikipedia theme, I’ll open this week’s default male tasting menu with a quote from Invisible Women:
…a 2015 study of multiple language Wikipedias found that articles about women include words like ‘woman’, ‘female’ or ‘lady’, but articles about men don’t contain words like ‘man’, ‘masculine’ or ‘gentleman’ (because the male sex goes without saying). 
And now for the main course
Clare Starling
Not sure where to start with this one - your choice is ‘Girl’s Characters’ or ‘Military Characters’ 😳

#gendernorms #toys #equality ⁦@CCriadoPerezhttps://t.co/q627dUrYbO
Ah yes, that classic character trait: female
GFPs fixing it
Patrick🕸
This Belfast politician made common cause to address the issue of turnstiles in public toilets. Note “They can only have been designed by a man unaware of the needs of women”. https://t.co/2mpjCCcLt3
me @ Mrs Patrician McLaughlin 😍
me @ Mrs Patrician McLaughlin 😍
Product of the week
A while back a GFP got in touch to ask about hiking boots designed for women – so three cheers for Merrell who seem to have designed them!
HelenB
@CCriadoPerez @idasportsco I was so surprised that the leaflet is still in the box! https://t.co/v0SvgoV4jN
Do get in touch if you get a pair to let me know how you get on with them!
Homework of the week
As long-term GFPs will remember, I have been raging about inadequate PPE for quite some time, a rage that went into overdrive with the onset of the pandemic when female medics starting sending me pics like this
So I was DELIGHTED when Women in Global Health got in touch to tell me about their PPE survey. It’s open until FRIDAY so if you work in a medical field and use medical PPE PLEASE FILL IT OUT!
Women In Global Health
#PPE is not designed for women’s bodies 😷

Around the world women on the front lines of #COVID19 are suffering loss of dignity and worse

We need your help!

If you have experience using PPE during the pandemic, please take the survey now
https://t.co/Jnbgictc5u https://t.co/zH1vd1fSXi
That link again:
Fit for Women?: Improving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Women Healthcare Workers
Poppy pic of the week
I wasn’t sure whether to be outraged or deeply touched by how many of you said this was your favourite section of the newsletter….obviously Queen Poppy herself is not surprised. Anyway, have another bumper Poppy section to make up for the Poppy drought of the past couple of weeks…
poppy expertly fulfilling her role as ring-bearer because of course
poppy expertly fulfilling her role as ring-bearer because of course
poppy signing the register also because of course
poppy signing the register also because of course
and finally, poppy with a giant ball, because, well, of course
and finally, poppy with a giant ball, because, well, of course
That’s it! See you next week 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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