Data Analysis: Violence Against Women and Girls

I just finished reading the book ‘Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men’ by Caroline Criado Perez. The book is all about how we can use data to show that women have been overlooked, unheard, misunderstood, and misrepresented throughout time. 

invisible-women-book-data-bias-analysis

However, it doesn’t simply use data that exists. In many cases, it highlights data sets with data gaps that don’t account for male or female. These data sets have informed many business, political, social, economic, and infrastructure decisions throughout history. The consequences from not disaggregating this data results in many situations that are inconvenient, ignorant, and even dangerous for women and girls. Typically, this disaggregation has a default male bias, which not only fails women, but us as an entire civilization.

There are myriad examples throughout the book where women suffer as a result of culture, society, education, language, business environments, products, and government institutions being built for the default male human. 

Gender Bias in Car Crash Safety Tests

One example that struck me as particularly wrong was car crash testing. I’m sure we’ve all seen crash test dummies – 170lb Ken dolls made to simulate the ‘average driver.’ However, males and females have different body shapes, builds, muscle and bone densities, etc. Testing car crash safety ratings against a dummy that models the average for only half of the population leaves women severely at risk. One would think tests on male and female crash test dummies would be required by law in the US, but that is not the case. And, of course, if it costs some extra money and doesn’t add to the bottom line, companies will exclude it.

This example stood out to me for two reasons: 1.) I was shocked to find out that female crash test dummies were not required by law for safety tests and 2.) there’s a billboard for Volvo near a highway exit by my house that I drove by often touting that their cars are designed for safe use for all people, not just the average male. I hadn’t really thought about what that meant until I read the statistics in Invisible Women about how women are more likely to sustain more severe injuries than men in a car crash.

Including Women in the Conversation

The author of the book cites many occasions where women are overlooked through either decisions made from gender-aggregated data or being excluded from the decision-making process altogether.

In simply one aspect, the author writes, “When we exclude half the population from knowledge production, we severely miss out on profound innovations and insights that could be gained.”

While reading this book, I was talking about the appalling statistics to my wife and she said “what are you going to do about it?” (I know – she’s incredible)

One thing it has spurred me on to do is explore different data sets as they pertain to women.

The following is my Exploratory Data Analysis of a dataset from Operation Fistula of survey answers about allowing violence against women and girls.

ABOUT THIS DATA SET:

This data set is from Operation Fistula. It is conducted of men and women, aggregated by age, and from 70 different countries, primarily in Africa and Asia, between 2017-2018.

Recipients were asked if they agreed with the following statements:

  • A husband is justified in hitting his wife if she burns the food.
  • A husband is justified in hitting his wife if she argues with him.
  • A husband is justified in hitting his wife if she goes out without telling him.
  • A husband is justified in hitting his wife if she neglects the children.
  • A husband is justified in hitting his wife if she refuses to have sex with him.
  • A husband is justified in hitting his wife for at least one specific reason.

The data set then features a value representing the percentage of that demographic that agree with the statement. The higher the value, the more people agree with this reason for domestic violence.

Resources: Full data set, data set description, data set dictionary, and my Jupyter Notebook for making these plots are all available via my Github profile here.

Data Plots

Authenticity (Poem)

Authenticity

By Tom Snyder

Authenticity. What does this word mean to me?

What does it mean to you? Is it posting unfiltered selfies while drinking green smoothies? Is it trying to look your best while not letting other people see your true mess.

#blessed

Does authenticity mean that you just do whatever you want to do? That you try something out, but if it gets hard, you don’t follow through?

My authentic self tells me not to try. It tells me that I’m safer on the ground than attempting to fly.

So, realistically, authenticity might just mean mediocrity.

Jesus said “come, follow me. And I will show you a life lived abundantly.” He said my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

There’s forces in the world that will try to put out your light, that try to block out my love for you and turn the day into night.

Jesus knows my hurt, he knows my pain. He knows that I’ve screwed up and he still calls my name. He’s seen the ugliness in my soul and pursues me all the same. 

It’s a strange exchange, that Jesus would trade his righteousness to cause a change, in my heart. 

The pressure to look out for myself and do what’s best for me, is justifiable so I can be who I want to be. Cause that should be my goal, right?

To be my “authentic self” I’m told is the best thing I can do, but when sin is the center of my self, how can that be true?

The bible says I do the things I don’t want to, and the things I want, I don’t do. 

There’s a battle going on inside my heart. A war between the light and the dark.

A fight between my authenticity and the love that Jesus has for me.

I don’t want to be “authentic”, because to be real, I’m the worst. Instead, I desire to become Jesus and to put love first.

3 Roles of a Small Business Owner

Originally posted on coffeeshopkeys.com

Sometimes an employee looks at the work they’re doing, and thinks, “Hey, I know how to do this. I should go into business for myself. Not only will I have more freedom, but I can make tons of money!”

And then they do it.

They start a business doing the work they know how to do.

But they realize, it’s a lot harder than they expected. And they’re not growing like they thought they would.

They feel run ragged, pulled in a million directions, but actually making no progress.

Eventually, they get to the point of giving up. They say, “It was so much easier to clock in and clock out. Maybe I’ll close down and just get a job.”

The Struggle of the Small Business Owner

What I’m talking about in this post is why so many small business owners feel stretched thin and can’t grow. This site is dedicated to starting and running a coffee shop, but this advice applies to any small business. This post is inspired by the book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It by Michael Gerber.

In his book, an allegory comprised of dialogue between a baker and consultant, Gerber explains why so many small business owners burn out, and eventually close up shop. He highlights three different roles that small business owners play. Typically, they start in one role, don’t know how to do the next one, and never have time for the third one. This is why they burn out. Now let’s take a look at what those roles are.

Let’s say there is a baker, baking for someone else. They think, “Hey, I’m pretty good at this. Maybe I should open up my own bakery!” They’ve got drive, skills, and some savings, too.

The baker knows how to bake. Isn’t that what a bakery does? Bake?

Technician, Manager, and Entrepreneur

This first role is called the Technician: someone with a skillset to produce a good or service. The baker knows how to bake. Isn’t that what a bakery does? Bake?

So, they take the leap, and open up the bakery. They start growing enough to hire some more people. When a new hire starts showing up late, the baker has a one-on-one meeting with them, and says, “I’ll let it slide, but do better in the future.”

This second role is called the Manager: someone who can manage a team, resolve conflict, get everyone to work effectively, and keep employee morale up. The baker has worked with people before, shouldn’t be that hard, right?

Then, the bakery is humming along with orders, enough to provide some income for the baker. But they are still putting out fires everyday. Resolving conflicts. Writing the schedule. Paying the taxes. And still baking.

The business has stopped growing. They still work a ton. They still don’t bring home that much money. They are essentially working a job they can’t just quit. And they don’t know what to do next to get them off the treadmill.

This third role is called the Entrepreneur: someone who can cast a vision for a company, then grow and scale it to achieve that vision. The baker hasn’t really thought about this. The typical thought is: If you build it, won’t they come?

No. They won’t.

How to Avoid This Struggle

Can you see why many small business owners burn out? It takes more than just the Technician to build a business. Many that have only ever been in the Technician role might not have experience managing a team. Certainly not growing and scaling a company.

The Technician is focused on the present – fulfilling orders now. The Manager is focused on the past – getting things organized, filed, and people taken care of. The Entrepreneur is focused on the future – casting a vision of what the company will be and taking it there.

They are all important, but they play bigger parts at different stages in the company. What’s difficult is that everyone is better at one or two of the roles. But all three are necessary to have a successful business. And they almost never all three show up in one person.

So, if the baker needs to play three different roles, how can they make their business successful?

What the baker didn’t realize was that there are three roles. They only saw one: the Technician. They thought starting and running a bakery was just being a baker.

From the beginning, the baker needs to have the vision of the Entrepreneur. They need to forecast what they hope their business will be in five or ten years. They also need to play the manager. Defining positions, organizing workflows and systems, and establishing company standards.

What positions do they see the business needing? Obviously, a baker, but what else? Store Manager? Sales rep? Delivery person? Accountant?

The baker should list out the positions they think they’ll need in the next five years and the duties each position will have. At the early stages of the business, it’s okay for the baker to be playing all these positions.

Moving from One Phase to the Next

When the baker has enough business to hire another person, they should hire someone to fill one of the positions they listed out earlier. Do this instead of hiring someone with a vague title who wears many hats.

Duties will be easier to hand off when they are clearly defined within the position being filled.

Sometimes companies don’t define these positions clearly when they hire people. They know they are growing and they just hire more people. Typically this is done by someone who is not a Manager first and foremost.

Then when a new manager steps in – someone who is an expert at management – they have to let people go. There are too many people without clearly defined duties and positions that don’t help the company scale. This could’ve been costing the company tons of money for a long time.

I know the temptation is to put this off for later. I’m guilty of it myself. I tend to be overly optimistic, thinking, “I’ll have this way more figured out by the time I need to cross that bridge! No use planning it now!”

When you are starting a coffee shop, those ‘little things’ turn really expensive.

I guarantee that thinking through all the roles first will help every aspect of your coffee shop. You will have less stress, hiring will be simpler, and scaling will seem like you are walking down a clearly marked path, instead of trying to swim through a swamp in the dark.

Doing this front-loaded work for your business will give it a framework of a true business, not just an expensive job. You will eventually be able to hire out for all the duties needed to run the business. Then you can finally let the business run on its own.

Exercise

  • List out the current positions in your company.
  • List out the positions you see your company needing in the next 5-10 years. Remember, you may be in these positions at the moment.
  • List out the major duties for each position
  • When your company continues to grow, look at your list, and hire someone to fill one of the specific positions you listed.

Chase 7 rabbits, catch none

I am so guilty of this. I try to do this all the time.

As an entrepreneur, a lot of times I felt like a Jack of all trades, and Master of none. I would get “Shiny Object Syndrome” and try to chase the next thing. Oftentimes, I ended up not really pursuing any single path with real certainty.

I felt very “busy,” but I wasn’t actually productive.

I think part of this is from the culture that we hear about SMBs and entrepreneurs. That we should be grinding 24/7. That if we aren’t working like crazy, we’ll fail. Or that we aren’t doing it right. (I love this post from Paul Jarvis about the subject)

I like to think of it as a pool.

If the pool is really wide, then the water is not ever very deep. And no one wants to swim in it.

Instead, if we narrow the pool, the water gets deeper. We don’t have any more or less, but we are able to do much more with what we have.

We don’t have any more or less, but we are able to do much more with what we have.

However, I understand that this isn’t always an option. Many times there are several things that need to get done. And we feel pulled in several directions.

This was one of the major causes of anxiety for me when running my coffee shop. I felt pulled in a million directions, but I wasn’t actually going anywhere.

The one thing that helped me get through it: talking it out.

I’m sure the spouses of SMBs and entrepreneurs know this all too well (thank you!).

My wife helped me collect my thoughts and make a plan. This was immensely valuable to me. With a clear plan of action, I could dive deep into the water.

But, she didn’t always have the answers. (No one does)

This is when action-oriented friends, business mentors, and older, wiser friends really helped take me to the next level.

Nowhere does it say that you need to do this on your own. As a matter of fact, if you try to, you’ll probably fail.

Get help.

Make a plan.

These days I still feel like I’m chasing a couple different rabbits, but I’m spending a lot more time planning for each of them.