Feminist author Caroline Criado-Perez: Brexit is bad for women

The author and campaigner has won the Royal Society Science Books Prize.

Caroline Criado-Perez has said that “Brexit will be bad for women”.

The feminist campaigner and author believes while leaving the EU is not solely a male project, it is “backwards looking” and harks back to a more patriarchal time period.

She fears that women’s rights could be rolled back by Brexit, which she says is spoken about by men like Prime Minister Boris Johnson in “militaristic terms”.

Boris Johnson visits Salisbury Plain
Prominent Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson are alleged to use militaristic language (Ben Stansall/PA)

Ms Criado-Perez rose to prominence campaigning for female representation among the political statues on Parliament Square and on the five pound note, ultimately securing a statue of suffrage campaigner Millicent Fawcett and the banknote honour for author Jane Austen.

The campaigner has now won the Royal Society Science Books Prize for her work exposing male dominance in society, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men.

According to Ms Criado-Perez, part of the design includes a male bias in political sphere, now grappling with Brexit, which she believes will harm women in the UK.

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said: “Brexit will be bad for women. It will impact women disproportionately.

“Women are the ones who tend to bear the brunt of an economic slowdown.

“There are all of the rights that are potentially going to be rolled back. Most prominent Brexiteers are on record.

The book has won the Royal Society Science Book Prize (Chatto & Windus) )

“All these things that are really important to women, to be able to address things like the gender pay gap, and women being able to work in the first place.

“In all sorts of ways, Brexit is really bad news for women.”

The Royal Society has feted Ms Criado-Perez for her work using data to show how many fields, from medicine and the automotive industry to snow-shovelling and government policy, are biased towards male experiences and priorities.

In the political sphere, the author has noticed the rhetoric of men to be militaristic, compared to conversations about education and care conducted by female leaders.

Ms Criado-Perez believes the warlike imagery used by male politicians has been harnessed for the Brexit project, which seeks another era.

She said: “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a male project, I’d say it’s a backwards-looking project.

“Even in the catchphrase they use, to ‘take back control’, it’s about trying to get back to a way that we were.

“The way that we were historically was not good for women.”

She added on male Brexiteers: “Men talk a lot about war, talk a lot about the military. It’s really interesting that the very words that they’re using show what their different concerns are.

“It’s very interesting the way that it’s spoken about.

“If you look at the language that is used by Boris Johnson and the various pro-Brexit men, it’s very military, spirit of Dunkirk. It’s very militaristic.”

For her work, Ms Criado-Perez becomes the fifth woman to scoop the Science Books Prize in as many years, and has picked up a £25,000 cheque.

The author and campaigner is pleased that her research has been so well-received after trepidation about the reaction of academia to her project.

She beat off competition from John Gribbin, Monty Lyman, Tim Smedley, Paul Steinhardt and Steven Strogatz.

Subjects in the other shortlisted books ranged from clean air to mathematics, matter, skin and subatomic physics.

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