“Invisible Women”: Excluding 50 Percent of the World’s Population Has Real Consequences


  • Fellows in the News

“Invisible Women”: Excluding 50 Percent of the World’s Population Has Real Consequences

Imagine aliens who know nothing about the human race were to conduct a research project on our species. Like any good researchers, they would start by examining the written record. Since all that has been written about the human race has been written by humans themselves, the aliens would pore over humankind’s government decisions, research endeavors, academic writing and so on.

Our alien researchers would not be unreasonable to hypothesize that the human race consists of a default group “men” cohabitating the Earth with a small minority of a subcategory group  “women.”

Then, imagine the aliens’ surprise once they move on to direct observation of life on Earth to discover that, in fact, women comprise half of all homo sapiens! How could we have known there were so many of them? the alien researchers might ask themselves. How could they have, indeed.

For too long, women have been invisible in world affairs. (Need further proof? Check out the hashtag #WhereAreTheWomen to see the sheer perniciousness of the erasure of women.)

And this invisibility of approximately 50 percent of the world’s population has real consequences. It leads to incomplete and inaccurate pictures of reality, which in turn leads to poorly planned policies, or perhaps a lack of policies in issue areas that need them. But ultimately, the invisibility of women in world affairs leads to unnecessary pain and suffering, for women and men alike. 

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