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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES: 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. 5. If one topic or question threatens to overwhelm the webchat, MNHQ will usually ask for people to stop repeating the same question or point.

Webchat with Caroline Criado Perez on her new book, Invisible Women - on Tuesday 30 April at 12.30pm
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NiamhMumsnet · 25/04/2019 13:33

Hello

Caroline Criado Perez will be joining us for a live webchat on Tuesday 30 April at 12.30pm, to discuss her latest book: Invisible Women - Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.

Invisible Women looks at government policy and medical research, technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media - and aims to show that biased data excludes women.

Why are mobile phones the size of an average man’s hand and not a woman’s? Why are ‘female’ crash test dummies usually tested in the passenger and not the driver’s seat? Why are typically female presentations of a heart attack systems considered atypical?

She describes the impact that living in a world where the default human is considered to be a man has on women’s health and wellbeing - and makes the case for change.

Caroline Criado Perez is a writer, broadcaster and public speaker. Her first book, Do It Like a Woman, was published in 2015. She is also an award-winning feminist campaigner - her campaigns include getting a woman on the Bank of England banknotes and campaigning for a statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett to be erected in Parliament Square. As some of you will know from previous guest posts she has written for Mumsnet, she’s also involved in the campaign for a People’s Vote.

Please do join us on Tuesday if you’re around or leave a question on this thread in advance.

Please bear in mind our webchat guidelines (including one question each - follow ups allowed if there’s time). Also following recent chats/guest posts we’ve updated our guidelines to let people know that, if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. Rest assured we will ALWAYS let guests know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Thanks
MNHQ

Webchat with Caroline Criado Perez on her new book, Invisible Women - on Tuesday 30 April at 12.30pm Webchat with Caroline Criado Perez on her new book, Invisible Women - on Tuesday 30 April at 12.30pm
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Cismyfatarse1 · 25/04/2019 14:42

I absolutely loved your book.

My question is about the limitations of the representation of women in Sport. There is an interesting thread on here about why the BBC, as a publicly funded broadcaster, should do more to represent women and girls in sport. Currently, the output is very poor across all the media I look at (Times, Guardian, BBC) but I wondered if there was any solution or are we all stuck with just football, rugby and the odd bit of golf (all played by men, of course)?

Should the BBC be required to show equality in their sport output?

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FloralBunting · 25/04/2019 15:47

Loved the book, recommend it to loads of people. Eye opening, frustrating and encouraging all at the same time. You're a lucid, engaging writer.

What are you planning to do next?

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SonicVersusGynaephobia · 26/04/2019 07:25

I am so glad this book is making the waves it is.

I think it should be required reading for all politicians, policy makers, and also doctors.

I have heard male doctors outright dismiss the findings of this book, without having read it, (eg about women's higher physical vulnerability in occupational and road traffic accidents) as merely women's higher predisposition to psychiatric disorders where they think they are injured, but they aren't really, they're just hysterical Angry

Thank you for writing this book, and for your years of research. It's astounding the number of (mostly) men who are still disputing whether women are actually disadvantaged and whether we need Feminism, while failing to see the irony that they are proving the point of the book even more.

(I hope this thread doesn't turn into too many questions about Caroline's use of the term gender vs sex sometimes. Caroline explains in the book why she uses gender, and sex, and it makes sense. It's gender which causes men (the sex) to overlook women (the sex), and place less importance on women's (sex and also gender) needs, for example.)

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Ullupullu · 26/04/2019 08:51

I read and enjoyed your book! Well done on so much research and the brilliant reception.

My question/comment is that in your section on working mothers, why didn't you consider perspectives from women who wanted to stay home and bring up their preschool aged kids and their lives not be limited by that (for instance, engaging with organisations like Mothers At Home Matter Too)?

For years, feminists have argued that care work at home should be recognised and maybe even renumerated, but this was not discussed in your chapters, only out-of-home childcare as a solution. I never thought I'd be 'one of those' mums but I am - and so much of the focus these days is on 100% full time employment for both parents being the goal of an enlightened society (including your perspective in your chapters), but we had children to spend lots of time with them. This is no disrespect to others choices - we use formal childcare part time owing to my work - but who better to look after kids than family? Lots of people's preference but not practical.

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BWatchWatcher · 26/04/2019 14:45

Brilliant, I love this book. Good for you Mumsnet

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BernardBlacksWineIcelolly · 26/04/2019 19:57

I have the audio book and it has been lovely having your company in my car Smile

this feels like a very important book to me - one that will be talked about for a long time

what shocked you most when researching the book?

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BernardBlacksWineIcelolly · 26/04/2019 19:58

and yes, thanks @MNHQ for getting such an interesting guest!

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FlaviaAlbia · 26/04/2019 20:56

Do you ever daydream about throwing up your hands and founding a civilisation run by women?

Sometimes I think it's the only way Grin

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deepwatersolo · 27/04/2019 08:52

An important topic and the obvious implications of the gender biased studies regarding medicine and product (car) safety for women are troubling. Regarding mobile phone size, though, I am not convinced. I well remember the super tiny mobile phones a few years back, and now the phones blow up more and more, but still with size variations. And typing this on my phone right now, I sure wonder how a bigger, male finger would fare...
What is the unambigous evidence that phones are fashioned for male hands, considering the broad statistical variation of sizes and the fluctuation of average size over time?

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AlphaMama · 29/04/2019 17:12

Hello!

Firstly - love the book, obvs.

Secondly - slightly different type of question - I've been mulling over an idea for a non-fiction book for some time. I wondered if you had any tips on how to go about getting the right people to talk to you for interviews? I assume you didn't know everyone personally who's research you featured in Invisible Women?!

Thanks!

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AlphaMama · 29/04/2019 17:16

And second question (sorry!) if I may...

All the women I know are so excited about this book. But arguably, it's not women who need to read it as we know these injustices exist and that there's a problem. My male friends are all relatively open minded, modern men and yet none have even considered reading it until I've questioned why not. How can we encourage more of those who do need to read this book, both 'average Joes' and those in positions of power to make change to read it and take action?

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WeepingWillowWeepingWino · 29/04/2019 17:23

That’s a really good point, alpha.

I’ve got the book but I have to admit I haven’t yet got beyond the preface as that all by itself made me really angry! But I will persevere.

So my question, without having yet read it is this - as someone who has recently returned to full time work (DH also works full time) it has become so clear to me how the world of work is still a man’s world that’s has just been tinkered with to slot women in, and the women who do best in this world are the ones who behave the most like men. Do you think we can ever tear that world down and rebuild it to allow for the differing biological and societal roles men and women hold?

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arilla · 29/04/2019 18:02

I don't often post on webchats, and I don't mean to derail this thread into this subject - I also haven't read the book yet - but it's a big question for me these days when thinking about women's equality. I work at a university and maybe encounter these issues more than most people would.

In your opinion, what can we do now that even relatively simple things like women's refuges, sports, and shortlists are now open to people who are biologically male and have grown up with systematic male advantages? Especially when some males cynically take advantage of current gender ideology to abuse some women?

How do we reclaim these? Can we? Should we? Do you think female-only resources are important?

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unflushable · 29/04/2019 18:39

Why are mobile phones the size of an average man’s hand and not a woman’s?

They're not.

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OrchidInTheSun · 29/04/2019 19:19

I was going to ask the same question as Bernard but she's beaten me to it. So my question is:

  • have any companies contacted you since the book was published? Do you think this is going to be a wake up call for product design or will it cause a ripple and then return to status quo?
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okaasansan · 29/04/2019 19:22

Out of all the examples of data bias covered in your book which one gets the biggest reaction? Were you surprised by this?

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GeordieGenes · 29/04/2019 19:40

Yay! I loved your book. It was long overdue.

What inspired you to write the book? Was there a particular object that highlighted this problem to you?

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MyNameIsJane · 29/04/2019 20:13

I’ve read and loved the excerpt and now need to read the book.

Can you do a bit more campaigning for pockets in women’s clothing please?

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deepwatersolo · 29/04/2019 20:45

Oh, and, yes, I love pockets in my clothes, as I can then often forgo my backpack/bag. Bags where you can keep eg Money, a phone or a Card safe are too often missing (to the point where I had my Money in my shoes). Which brings me to my question: why does it need lobbying for this? Why do the forces of the market not take care of this? I‘ll always take the ‚pocket‘ clothes over the others, and I can‘t be the only one. Yet such clothes are scarce. So why does the Problem not resolve itself via the demand?

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MrsKCastle · 29/04/2019 21:04

I haven't yet read your book, but am looking forward to it. I have 2 daughters and as I get older, it seems more and more obvious to me that men/boys are the default in society and women/girls are the 'other'.

My question is what should we be doing? Now that you have highlighted the extent to which women are 'invisible', what can we do to make ourselves impossible to miss or overlook?

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Inia · 29/04/2019 21:14

I am racing and raging through your book & I am finding it a really engaging read. My 12 year old daughter is following my progress and asking lots of questions - but she finds the book itself still too hard to read by herself. My question, would you consider (or already have plans) to make a teenage version or a series of articles aimed at teenagers (including boys!)?

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MoodLighting · 29/04/2019 21:22

^
Yes please plus any thoughts on how to raise feminist boys when our messages as mothers is diluted in every situation (as your book shows)?

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Unburnished · 29/04/2019 22:39

Fantastic book. I was shocked to read some of the findings (car crash dummies and medical testing) - not so much the mobile phone issue though as I think they became bigger due to men complaining how small they were - I definitely remember there being articles on men not being able to use the tiny key pads due to the size of their fingers (when everyone had either a Nokia, Motorola or Blackberry). Showing my age now!

How have men in the public eye and positions of influence reacted to your book? Have any supported you? What do you plan to do to promote the book further (in terms of an equality campaign)?

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TheInebriati · 29/04/2019 22:43

This book is the ''War Against Women'' (Marilyn French) for our generation. I don't have a question, I just wanted to say thank you for writing it.

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Erythronium · 29/04/2019 23:33

Great idea for a feminist book. Out of all the examples of women's needs being ignored/women's physiology not being considered you discovered was there any one in particular you found the most shocking or concerning?

What do you think women can do to make organisations take us into consideration?

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