Viewport width =

Issue 21, 2019

Issue 21 – Default

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

News

  • The Last Supper: VUW and VUWSA on KJ

  • VUW’s Own Gloria Fraser Develops Queer Mental Health Resources

  • Features

  • Dear Nathaniel

    Before the storm, the voice in his head owned him in quiet times. Weak. The same way D would fold when offers for “just a jug” were made. Or when D chose to skip class and fuck around at home instead. Temptation. Temptation, temptation. Alluring and flirtatious, like the snake who tricked Eve. “Come thru!” […]

    by

  • The Social Lives of Group Chats

    Three of my friends’ phones dinged in concert. They picked them up and stared at the screens. I looked at the nearest friend, askance. “It’s just the group chat,” he told me. Addled, I leaned over to look at his screen. “Depressing Memes for Suffering Single Teens,” it read. Memes about communism, mental health, faith. […]

    by

  • Dear Nathaniel

    Before the storm, the voice in his head owned him in quiet times. Weak. The same way D would fold when offers for “just a jug” were made. Or when D chose to skip class and fuck around at home instead. Temptation. Temptation, temptation. Alluring and flirtatious, like the snake who tricked Eve. “Come thru!” […]

    by

  • The Social Lives of Group Chats

    Three of my friends’ phones dinged in concert. They picked them up and stared at the screens. I looked at the nearest friend, askance. “It’s just the group chat,” he told me. Addled, I leaned over to look at his screen. “Depressing Memes for Suffering Single Teens,” it read. Memes about communism, mental health, faith. […]

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

    Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez is a book about, well, data bias in a world designed for men.

     

    The main thesis of this book is that a lot of assumptions we make about people as a whole are only accurate when it comes to men, because men are seen as the default for all human beings. These assumptions are enforced by the “data gap”—a term Criado Perez uses to refer to a gap in our knowledge about women and their needs. The book discusses how this data gap affects women and society as a whole—in everything from bathroom queues, to city design, to medicine. 

     

    Criado Perez notes that these assumptions aren’t necessarily conscious ones—which makes highlighting the data gap even more important in challenging these assumptions.

     

    The book is well-written, and easy to read. It covers many areas of expertise, from city planning, to software, to medicine, and explains how the data gap affects these fields. Criado Perez provides ample statistics and references, with good use of anecdotes to help the reader understand what the consequences of this data gap can look like.

     

    One of the early examples in the book is how cities are often designed around car use and work commutes—failing to account for the different transport needs of women, who are more likely to use public transport, and more likely to make many small interconnected trips rather than twice-daily commutes to and from work.

     

    Throughout the book, it’s discussed how “one size fits all” usually means “One-Size-Fits-Men”. Examples range from phone screens being too big for most women’s hands, to voice recognition software not working properly with women’s voices, to tools designed for male hands that reduce women’s ability to work.

     

    I’ve had many conversations with female friends about them not being taken seriously by doctors, and about how useless some painkillers have been for them. Part IV: “Going to the Doctor” backs those conversations up with evidence—highlighting how many drug trials do not include women (meaning drugs may have differing effects on women, or none at all), and how assumptions based on how men’s bodies work contribute to doctors failing to correctly diagnose—or to outright dismiss—women’s health issues.

     

    The book isn’t all doom and gloom, however. Criado Perez provides many examples of when the data gap is taken into consideration to positive effect—from getting pregnancy parking put in at Google, to developing cleaner-burning (and therefore safer) stoves for use in developing countries. She highlights initiatives like the UN-backed organisation Data2X, whose mission is to “improve the quality, availability, and use of gender data in order to make a practical difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide”.

     

    I think getting this book into as many hands as possible would make a positive difference. While I already agreed with the author that gender inequality is an issue (wow what a hot take), reading Invisible Women gave me an insight into, and made me aware of, experiences I could never have myself. It got me thinking about solutions, and made me re-examine my own views with a more critical and better-informed eye.

     

    Writing this review, I’m worried that I may not be doing the book and its themes justice, as I can’t possibly cover all its points in a 600-word review. Not only is it interesting—it’s important. 

     

    I’d recommend it to anyone, but especially to anyone who makes decisions that affect other people.

    by

  • About the Author ()

    Add Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Recent posts

    1. VUW Halls Hiking Fees By 50–80% Next Year
    2. The Stats on Gender Disparities at VUW
    3. Issue 25 – Legacy
    4. Canta Wins Bid for Editorial Independence
    5. RA Speaks Out About Victoria University Hall Death
    6. VUW Hall Death: What We Know So Far
    7. FANTA WITH NO ICE
    8. New Normal
    9. Come In, The Door’s Open.
    10. Love in the Time of Face Tattoos

    Editor's Pick

    Uncomfortable places: skin.

    :   Where are you from?  My list was always ready: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, puppy dogs’ tails, a little Spanish, maybe German, and—almost as an afterthought—half Samoan. An unwanted fraction.   But you don’t seem like a Samoan. I thought you were [inser

    Do you know how to read? Sign up to our Newsletter!

    * indicates required