When Women Didn't Count

The Chronic Mismeasure and Marginalization

of American Women in Federal Statistics

by Robert Lopresti

These pictures are from government publications. They do not appear on the book.


Federal statistics have been hiding and distorting women's history since the first Census in 1790, when only the male "head of the household" was listed by name.


Robert Lopresti's book traces the development of data on population, employment, crime, health, and many other topics, showing how often the statistics which have shaped our view of American women have been based on false assumptions, or simply wrong. Readers will learn why a report on farm wages ended with an angry denial of charges that farm life drives women insane, why department store owners hired ex-prostitutes as managers, and why the number of women-owned businesses appeared to suddenly drop by 20 percent in 1997.


When Women Didn't Count is not a book of statistics, but a study of how those statistics have been published, collected, and used. As Lopresti said: "This is a book about the questions asked, not the answers given. I'm not interested in a table of data as much as the footnote at the bottom explaining what's wrong with the table."


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