Being aware is really just the beginning.

Caroline Criado Perez – Vintage - 2019 - 432 pages

Invisible Women

2022 June 30 | by Monica Zhuang Gender Inequality

In office buildings during summer, have you ever seen an odd sight like this: female office workers wrapped up in blankets while their male colleagues wander around in summer clothes?

If so, have you ever wondered why that is?

Perez reveals that there’s the standard office temperature. In the 1960s, a formula for determining standard office temperature was created based on the metabolic resting rate of a 40-year-old, 70-kg male.

However, a recent study found that “the metabolic rate of young adult females performing light office work is significantly lower” than the standard values for men doing the same type of activity.

In fact, the formula may overestimate female metabolic rate by up to 35%, implying that, modern workplaces are 5 degrees too cold for women on average; which brings us to the odd sight we mentioned before.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from The Invisible Women was the importance of having solid data: the gender data gap is not always malevolent or deliberate – it’s quite the opposite.

Most of recorded human history is one big data gap, according to Perez; starting with the theory of Man the Hunter, the chroniclers of the past have left little space for women’s role in the evolution of humanity, whether cultural or biological.

Below is a short video, in which Perez gave us a brief introduction to this book.




This book is a must-read for anyone interested in women and gender inequality. Perez uses clear cases and structures to let everyone understand the relationship in between gender data – from health, transportation, and national systems to medical development and other aspects.

There is nothing in life that has nothing to do with gender.

Here is another interesting work-related example.

For most of the 20th century, the famous American New York Philharmonic did not have any female members, and it was not until the 1970s that the number of female players started to go up, up, to 10%.

So, there was something remarkable going on when the proportion of women in this orchestra grew from a statistical 0% to 10% in a decade.

What was the catalyst for this shift?

That something was blind auditions.

They put up a wall between the judges and the musicians to prevent the judges’ gender or other biases from clouding their judgments. With this policy in place, more than 45% of the New York Philharmonic’s musicians are now female members.

After reading it, I would highly recommend that you pass on this book to someone who does not want to recognize male bonuses, or simply those female friends who still underestimate their contributions. Only when we realize the existence of such male bias can we be more conscious to make policies and designs better.

Being aware is really just the beginning, isn’t it?



About the Author

By the Same Author




Introduction: The Default Male

Part I: Daily Life

  • Chapter 1: Can Snow-Clearing be Sexist?
  • Chapter 2: Gender Neutral With Urinals

Part II: The Workplace

  • Chapter 3: The Long Friday
  • Chapter 4: The Myth of Meritocracy
  • Chapter 5: The Henry Higgins Effect
  • Chapter 6: Being Worth Less Than a Shoe

Part III: Design

  • Chapter 7: The Plough Hypothesis
  • Chapter 8: One-Size-Fits-Men
  • Chapter 9: A Sea of Dudes

Part IV: Going to the Doctor

  • Chapter 10: The Drugs Don’t Work
  • Chapter 11: Yentl Syndrome

Part V: Public Life

  • Chapter 12: A Costless Resource to Exploit
  • Chapter 13: From Purse to Wallet
  • Chapter 14: Women’s Rights are Human Rights

Part VI: When it Goes Wrong

  • Chapter 15: Who Will Rebuild?
  • Chapter 16: It’s Not the Disaster that Kills You



End notes


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