Invisible Women - "this essentially is irrelevant data"
Morning, GFPs, it's been a bit of a *week* for me. My mum tested positive for covid and has been pretty up and down, including a trip to hospital booked in by the GP because of her breathing being so strained. We thought she was on the mend after that, but then yesterday she started to have trouble with her breath again so...I don't know. This virus is an absolute f***er. Also special shout-out to Peterborough Hospital for treating her appallingly. First doctor acted like Mum was a personal inconvenience to her which obviously has made me furious -- I hate that I couldn't be there to advocate for her. Apparently a women in her mid-seventies with a positive covid test and trouble breathing to the extent that talking is a struggle is not worth her time.Second doctor found that she had bilateral basal opacifications on her lungs as well as crackling in both her lungs -- only we didn't find any of this out until two days later when the discharge person called up, because no-one deigned to communicate any of this with her. At the hospital mum had been told her lungs were fine. So here we are with all these questions and no one to answer them -- bear in mind my Mum is a nurse for MSF so is perfectly capable of having a sensible conversation about her health. But even if she weren't, she has a right to know what is wrong with her and what she is being treated for. I could not be more unimpressed with this treatment team. I also am of course very reluctant now to send her back if she deteriorates if that's how they treat their patients. Obviously I will if it gets really bad, but god I don't want to. It's just brutal that you can't accompany a covid patient, especially now I know how cavalier some of the doctors can be. And to be clear, I very much mean SOME doctors. I know the vast majority of staff are working their arses off and I have nothing but huge respect and admiration for them. This is a bloody awful time for all of us and they are right at the coalface, doing this day in day out. They are exhausted, often underpaid and under-protected (see gender data gap of the week). And I know she was probably just very unlucky. But it's really hard when someone you love is being treated like they don't matter -- especially when you see the treatment less ill world leaders get who by implication matter more than my mum. Well, maybe they do to society, but they don't to me.It also feels like there is no good advice available (like when exactly is it that you're meant to call 999?? NHS website says when they're having trouble breathing, but ffs that is like the entire of Covid). And 111 was about as useful as a chocolate teapot.Anyway, that very long preamble is just to say I'm perhaps not entirely across the Gender Data Gap this week and this will not be a vintage newsletter, for which I apologise. Hopefully regular service will be resumed next week.
I did, however, write an article about the new iPhone 12 mini:
It all started here
To be clear, before any GFPs get righteously riled up on my behalf, James is a good friend, he just can't resist trolling me on twitter for some reason. Anyway, yes, I'm taking this one.
When Apple discontinued the SE, we kicked up a bit of a stink and I have it on good (although strictly confidential) authority that they were not best pleased there was any negative reaction to their launch announcement, given the sycophantic toadying they have grown used to over the years. Anyway, not to worry, because two years later and the sycophantic toady is ME! Who saw that twist coming??
In a weird twist, this exchange ended with a male stats journalist blocking me. He replied to James saying he thought the phone bit was the weakest part of my otherwise excellent book (he has since deleted all his tweets on the subject so you'll have to take my word for it). Seeing as he was a fairly senior stats journo I thought he would be able to handle a bit of a gentle pushback so I replied to suggest maybe that was because the phones fit his hands just fine. I even included a smiley!
Sadly, after that it only got worse. He replied rather snippily to say he has small hands and he quickly got used to the larger phone. Also his teenage daughter loves her huge phone so QED nothing to see here....which was an odd stance for, as I say, a stats journalist, who should be well aware that anecdata ≠ data. Which I pointed out to him, along with the fact that small hands for a man is not the same as female hands. Anyway he then replied extremely rudely and then deleted his tweets and then blocked me 🤷♀️ I guess he was having a bad day.
ANYWAY, it wasn't an entirely fruitless exchange as I was then commissioned to write this piece for the Sunday Times and I then made even more men EXTREMELY cross (what exactly is it that bothers some men so much about pointing out women have on average smaller hands than men & that this is rarely factored into any design???), so I guess you win some you lose some.
Ladies, it’s happening at last. The moment we’ve all been waiting for: Apple is releasing a phone just for us girls. OK, not exactly. As we all know, if it were a phone designed for women, it would be pink, come with built-in airbrushing, have less processing power and yet somehow be more expensive than its non-pink, higher-spec counterpart.
[caption align="alignnone" width="980"]
live footage of me scampering off after trolling (some of) the male readership of the ST[/caption]
Gender data gap of the week
I think I may have mentioned a while back that I've been FOI-ing NHS trusts for their sex-disaggregated data on mask fit tests. I think I also mentioned that most are not collecting sex-disaggregated data. Which is absolutely not good enough, but then again most organisations don't, so why should the NHS be any different?
Anyway, despite the standard being to not collect sex-disaggregated data, most FOIs were dealt with professionally and in accordance with legal requirements. Some, however, were extremely odd and defensive. It was clear that some FOI officers felt the question was frivolous (yes they were male, but I don't know why you would assume that) and I was just a terrible person for wasting their time (a bit of a theme developing in this newsletter). I will obviously be going into this in more detail in the book, but here is a sneak preview of my favourite response, just for you GFPs:
We do not hold information on the number of staff who are fit tested by sex, this essentially is irrelevant data, a person’s gender has no material bearing on the ability to pass or fail a FIT test and it is therefore unnecessary to specifically record this.
Oh, Poole FOI department. Where to even begin with this. (NB: I will be both beginning and finishing with this in the book).
Default Male of the Week
This is fine. It's not like the needs of women and mothers have been historically overlooked in all aspects of urban planning or anything (see IW, pp.27-67). Nope, nothing to see here.
(Yes I am aware men COULD factor in these needs, but the evidence is very clear: in order for diverse needs to be accounted for, you need a diverse team. And one maroon suit doesn't cut it.)
Poppy pic of the Week
I mean I know I need a poppy pic rn
[caption align="alignnone" width="980"]
look at her LEGS 😍[/caption]
That's it for this week, GFPs. Have an excellent week xoxoxo