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Mar 12

Lack of Data Collection About Women Endangers Their Lives

Posted by: Jim Lillie

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Jim Lillie

Lack of Data Collection About Women Endangers Their LivesCaroline Criado Perez, author of the new book, "Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men", writes that urban planners have seriously come up short by failing to factor a woman's risk of being sexually assaulted in public spaces.

That passage raised the ire of writer Rachel Thompson, who decided to take a closer look by talking to Criado Perez herself, who told Thompson, "What's interesting is that [councils] often say things like, 'oh but the crime doesn't go up,' without accounting for the fact that women don't go out because we've self-imposed a curfew."

Thompson goes on to describe other findings in the book, which has been designed to tackle the problem of invisibility of women in a world that hasn't merely been designed by men, but with men, and only men, in mind.

Owing to a lack of data specific to women, many needs of half the world's population have been overlooked. These include design, urban planning, policy, transportation, and manufacturing. Since designers and scientists tend to overlook data about women, says Criado Perez, men wind up becoming "the human default" when medicines, streets, and cities are conceived and built.

As a result, there's a significant data gap that creates discomfort for females by placing their well-being and lives in jeopardy.

Writing at Mashable, Thompson uses the example of a neighborhood she once lived in as turning off streetlights at midnight -- thereby effectively keeping her hostage in her home, since venturing out in the pitch black would pose an instant threat to her safety.

The data dearth extends to so-called "women's work", since those tasks are generally, and wrongly, thought of as without risk.


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