By DYLAN SMITH, NEWS3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois — As March draws closer, Western Illinois University libraries plan to honor Women’s History Month with a virtual presentation of Rob Lopresti’s “When Women Didn’t Count.”
The book is Lopresti’s single work of nonfiction and uncovers the mismeasure and marginalization of American women in federal statistics.
“This has been going on for centuries, however it is not always accurately reflected in the country, particularly in the case of what Rob Lopresti wrote in his book limited in count,” Michael Lorenzen, WIU Professor of University Libraries, said. “He took in case how the federal government has not accurately kept statistics on women.”
Lopresti’s book communicates how statistics incorrectly labeled women in the workforce.
“In 1940, the census takers recorded several hundred women working for the railroads as engineers, mechanics, conductors and so on,” Lopresti said.
“In the published report, they [women] were listed as tailors, so that’s what this book is about… how women have appeared and disappeared and how the history of women has been distorted, and of course if you are distorting the history of women you are distorting the history of men, too,” Lopresti said.
In 2018, Lopresti received the Margaret T. Lane/Virginia F. Sanders Memorial Research Award. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lopresti’s presentation will take place virtually and is free and open to the public at 6 p.m. on March 18.