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Caroline Criado Perez and gender bias in data

Jo Kroese Jo Kroese Follow Oct 05, 2019 · 1 min read
Caroline Criado Perez and gender bias in data

Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women exposes how data regularly uses men as the default human - with deadly consequences for everyone else.

In a world of ‘equal pay’ where many women no longer identify as feminist, Perez uses the lens of data to document the subtle but violent ways that gender inequality persists. This bias traverses disciplinary boundaries, from medicine to tech to office temperatures to snow ploughing.

The "Reference Man" in a study simulating the motion of internal organs during crash testing.

For example, car crash tests use the “Reference Man” to build safety features. As a result, women are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a crash. Meanwhile in tech, Google’s speech recognition is 70% more likely to understand men, women are more likely to feel sick while wearing a VR headset and fitness monitors drastically underestimate steps during housework.

Whilst it is easy to feel that data science lets the data speak, Perez’s book acts as a warning that we need to pay close critical attention to which data we are listening to.

Find Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez here.

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Jo Kroese
Written by Jo Kroese Follow
Jo is a freelance data scientist focused on environmental and social justice research. They have collaborated and published papers with organisations such as Cefas, Substance and Data for Good. Jo also live codes music as Jobi.