Invisible Women

Caroline Criado Perez (https://bit.ly/3iFXqvV) first came to my notice 7 years ago when she campaigned to have a woman back onto bank notes after Elizabeth Fry was replaced by Winston Churchill on the £5 note.

I recently saw her speak at the CIPD virtual Festival of Work, after which I read her book “Invisible Women” about the bias caused by the data gap between women and men. Men are taken as the standard, which can be potentially fatal e.g. women are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash, seats and belts not being designed for usually smaller, lighter women.

At work, it emerges that women are less likely to apply for, and more likely to perform worse in interviews for, jobs advertised where “he” is used as the pronoun. Since 1994, the pay rate for those working 50 hours or more in the US, 70% of whom are men, has risen twice as fast as pay for those working 35-49 hours a week, a reason the gender pay gap narrowing may have come to a halt.

Caroline calls for sex-disaggregated data so that women’s physical differences can be considered to improve health outcomes, and bias against women recognised and acted upon for a fairer workplace. Despite women comprising c.50% of the population, we are still invisible to those making potentially life-changing decisions. I hope this book effects change for the sake of my female clients who aspire to leadership, as well as women everywhere.