May 29, 2020

Podcast with Caroline Criado Perez (The New Scientist), How data bias is affecting women during Coronavirus

In a discussion with Clare Wilson Caroline Criado Perez brought to the fore the startling situation for healthcare workers facing Coronavirus on the frontline. The PPE crisis is not exclusive to this pandemic however, as Perez explains there is a history of instances where women's anatomy has fallen out of the equation when selecting protective garments for key workers. 

In 2016, the Guardia Civil came under fire for failing to provide female staff with adequate bulletproof vests, forcing a female staff member to purchase her own. The woman from Salamanca Province spent £500 on a life-saving item that she should have been provided with. As the story hit Spanish headlines, the Guardia pledged to supply its staff force with adequate vests (over 21,000 of them) with 2000 of which made specifically for women. 

Criado goes on to expand the conversation into domestic violence, the issue of sharing constrained environments with abusers and the disproportionate impact of restrictions on movement out with domestic settings for women in vulnerable circumstances. 

With the well known fact that more men are contracting Coronavirus than women, Criado continues her research through leading a campaign for the UK to break down Coronavirus contraction data by sex. In the midst of a crisis, the issue of sex is commonly left out of the equation leaving a hole in scientific knowledge that is best filled for the benefit of not only women but men too. By choosing not to create a gender sensitive response to this pandemic we risk making mistakes that can lead to the disease spreading further. 

The provision of protective clothing is a human right and so to is an equal understanding of the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on gender. Criado makes a compelling case for acknowledging sexual difference in a crisis. 






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