1-Sentence-Summary: Invisible Women talks about the flaws in our societal system, which was built on the premise that men should rule and conquer the world while women should stay at home, which is why we’re still seeing gender gaps in the personal, professional, and day-to-day lives of women.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Women are still, to this day, working in a world built for and by men. It’s not just about gender inequality—it’s about how we’re starting from a place where women are expected to reach parity with men when our entire society is built on the premise that they don’t necessarily belong in leadership positions.
We’re seeing this play out in every industry, from politics to local governments. Women still hold less than one-third of office positions, even though women have been elected into office at an increasing rate since 1980.
The problem runs deeper than just an imbalance of power, which is why Invisible Women brings forth all these issues to spread awareness. It goes all the way down to how we treat each other day-to-day. Sexual harassment, gender favoritism, prejudice, and biased behavior at work are all part of the bigger problem.
Let’s explore three of my favorite lessons from the book to get a better understanding of how women deal with sexism and social imbalance:
- Gender disparity runs deeper than any of us could realize.
- The mass mentality that favors men is detrimental to women’s mental and body health.
- Political biases prevent women from pursuing diplomatic or financial careers.
The bias is there, and as long as people keep silent about it, it’ll never go away. Therefore, let’s explore each lesson in detail and raise awareness about the gender gap.
Lesson 1: The gap between men and women is larger than you think.
Gender biases are responsible for the lack of opportunities available to women and girls and their underrepresentation in leadership positions. However, their origin is still under debate, as research keeps on finding data to support that this problem has deeper roots than we thought.
History often portrayed men in leadership positions and women doing household chores. Philosophers like Aristotle argued that men are the main gender and the prototype of a human. Yet, biology classes taught in schools didn’t teach the existence of the ovaries till the seventeenth century.
All these facts and many others translate into the gender inequality we face today. Cities function on an infrastructure that serves long commuters, drivers, and people working full-time jobs. Yet, while many women do so, there’s still a part that didn’t get this far in their careers. We do not have priority parking for pregnant women, for example.
Public bathrooms are also created unevenly, hence the long lines for women. Therefore, all the arrows point toward the same conclusion. We’re living in a world designed for men, where women are having difficulty bettering their lives.
Lesson 2: Our men-made society often overlooks the mental and physical needs of women.
Women are born and bred into a world unfit for them in a society built for men from top to bottom, from governmental directives to infrastructure, from laws and professional hierarchical schemes that favor men.
Unfortunately, many of these issues reflect a woman’s physical and emotional health. For example, cars test safety measures on males. Though some companies also choose to test on women models, it’s not a requirement.
However, studies show that women are more likely to be severely injured in car accidents than men. Another similar aspect can be noticed regarding the optimum temperature in offices where air conditioners were set in the 60s by analyzing an average 40-year-old male.
These examples go further and further as every industry has evolved on the premise that men are the primary consumers. Historical data shows that men were the main models and standards.
This means everything we know today is linked to a man’s body and mind without accounting for a woman’s needs. For this reason, women find it that much harder to climb the social ladder and fulfill their professional lives as they want to.
Lesson 3: When Women try to go into politics, women are often subjected to oppression.
Although women and men make up roughly half of the population in politics, this gender balance does not translate to equal representation. Women hold only about 20% of all seats in national legislatures worldwide.
The same goes for women who enter other traditionally male-dominated professions, like law enforcement or STEM fields. This kind of behavior is unacceptable. But sadly, it’s not surprising that men are considered “the standard” in our culture.
For example, women are perceived negatively even if they state the same thing men do in finance or politics. In comparison, men look intelligent and well-versed in the domain. However, we know that there are ways we can change this—by creating spaces where women feel safe and empowered.
The fact that we still view this as acceptable shows how far we still have to go toward achieving true equality for all Americans. And why we need to keep working toward a future. Where gender doesn’t matter when it comes to power dynamics, whether at work or home.
Invisible Women Review
Invisible Women is a hard-to-swallow pill, as it opens up about the gender inequality we are still facing in the 21st century.
By raising awareness about this issue and encouraging people to speak out against it, the book is trying to stop gendered harassment. This book helps build a world where women fit better and have an easier time building a meaningful life, both personally and professionally.
If you’re ready to see the world with a different pair of glasses and study the historical data that proves how men grew to be the standard gender. So make sure to give this book a thorough read.
Who would I recommend the Invisible Women summary to?
The 35-year-old feminist who wants to read lectures that support her cause. The 40-year-old woman who wants to get into politics and read about what makes or breaks a woman’s career. Or the 24-year-old women’s rights activist who wants to expand their knowledge.