How a World Built for Men Is Killing Women

Caroline Criado Perez exposes data bias in her new book, 'Invisible Women'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 9:25 AM CDT
Why Car Crashes and Heart Attacks Are Riskier for Women
She's buckling up, but is the car designed for her body size?   (Getty Images)

From car design to bulletproof vests, Caroline Criado Perez sees a pattern: The world is designed for men, and women are suffering for it. In her new book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Perez says we're making vital decisions based mostly on data about men, ABC News Australia reports. Take heart attacks, which a study says are more likely to kill women because female symptoms are less well-known than male symptoms, per the Verge. Or female British soldiers, who are up to seven times more likely to get musculoskeletal injuries in equipment made for male bodies, per Mashable. Or restrained female drivers, who are seriously injured 47% more often in car crashes because cars are designed for men, who are on average taller, Perez argues in the Guardian.

Some issues are subtler. Sweden is now clearing walkways before roads and highways after a "gender-balanced budgeting" study said the reverse order discriminated against women, who more often walk; the change likely saved money due to fewer injuries under icy conditions, Streets Blog USA reported last year. The list goes on, including office temperatures too cold for women, voice-recognition software less adept at identifying women, and piano keyboards too big for female hands, per an Invisible Women excerpt published in Bustle. Perez says the book has sparked division on social media, where men argue they have more dangerous jobs. But Perez sees a solution: "It's incredibly simple, you just need to collect data on women." (Meanwhile, the US women's soccer team has filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit.)

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