It is a famous adage that people who believe in the existence of meritocracy are the ones who stand to benefit most from it. ‘Invisible Women’ upends the myth of meritocracy by demonstrating clearly and irrefutably that the world, from the standard size of our phones to the medicine, is not so much consciously biased against women but which has been constantly designed for men, which Perez describes as the ‘gender data gap’. Its not so much that everybody-from car manufacturers to governments-consciously choose to ignore women, it is more that thinking of the world from the prism of the male perspective is so deeply embedded within our collective psyche that we are unable to consider the world in any other way, in what is the ultimate case of cultural hegemony.
Perez explores everything from the lack of data collection of everything from medicine to farm labour which impacts on their ability to not just make a living, but also to live. Not only that, but she argues that the hidden economy of female labour, from caring to cleaning, to housekeeping to motherhood, is constantly undervaluing not just the female contribution to the economy, but actual measurable GDP; unpaid an unappreciated free female labour is the cog upon which the machinery of society revolves. Women not only have to navigate this, but they also have to circumvent everything from cars not being shaped to accommodate their bodies to transport systems not being designed to account for their social duties and lives, with all of this adding up to a world inimical to their interests.
Perez argues for the important of representation, of ensuring women are present at everything from clinical trials to decision making boards to politics to ensure their experiences are accounted for, their needs are men and that we begin to live in a world which begins to have a semblance of equality.