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What are you reading, Ms. Nolte?

Dr. Christiane Nolte is a scientist in the group of Professor Helmut Kettenmann. She is also the Gender Equality Officer at the MDC.

In summer I read some thrillers and travelogues. Now, in autumn, I have finally picked up the non-fiction book that has been waiting on my shelf to be studied since the first Corona lockdown. In "Invisible Women. How a world dominated by data ignores half the population"

Dr. Christiane Nolte.

The British journalist Caroline Criado Perez examines gender-specific differences in the collection of scientific data in her book "Invisible Women - exposing data bias in a world designed for men". She shows that a large part of our knowledge is based on data about men and that the female perspective is often neglected against our better knowledge - the default person is male. This lack of a female perspective leads to distortions and has highly discriminatory effects on women's lives,  even including life-threatening consequences. To give just one example, of many, from the field of medical technology: in 2013, designers (I suspect there were no women on the development team....) launched an allegedly revolutionary new artificial heart, which was unfortunately too big for the vast majority of women who desperately needed it. Male test persons had been used as a "standard" for its development. Although the designers set out to develop a smaller model, this came several years later for affected women.

Using this and many other examples from everyday and professional life, from design, urban planning, medical research, and with reference to crisis situations, such as natural disasters or pandemics, the author clearly shows that our world, which is characterised by "big data", simply ignores half of the population. This is not only unfair, but also has far-reaching economic consequences.

I am the Equal Opportunities Officer at the MDC, and for this reason alone I am concerned with gender discrimination. Nevertheless, I did not realise in how many areas of life the data gap actually leads to discrimination against women. Who would have thought that snow clearing has a sexist component? The discussion about gender-neutral toilets is also seen in a different light after reading it. Very interesting! The book has about 400 pages, and I think it is an important and enlightening work. As many people as possible should read it!

Caroline Criado Perez's writing is entertaining without leaving the factual level. The book is well researched and backed up with many facts and figures. More than a thousand footnotes allow the reader to delve deeper into the details of the individual aspects.

I am happy to pass on my copy of the book to anybody who is interested. I can warmly recommend it!