Every day, all over the world, women are making a positive difference to their lives and the lives of the people in their communities. […] These women are proving to themselves, and to the world, that a powerful force for change can sometimes start with a single brave action.
Caroline Criado-Perez’s Do It Like A Woman is an excellent book. This brand-spanking-new copy is going to become well-worn, because I’ll be recommending it to everyone I know. Because it’s important.
It does have a place, as it highlights the discrepancies in areas of perceived equality, and the real horrors in areas where we already know that equality isn’t a given. Even the design of fighter pilot uniforms is male-leaning, more through ignorance than intention, and it’s these little details that add to the sweeping nature of how much of the world, elements you wouldn’t even consider, aren’t naturally built for women.
It apparently comes as no surprise, but I was completely stunned by how poorly the UK operates and treats people, and the statistics and legal treatment laid out in black and white shines a spotlight on how poorly women, many of those fleeing countries in fear of their lives, are treated.
Stories range from Pussy Riot, Laura Bates and Criado-Perez’s own experience to truly harrowing tales of immigrants and rape victims in every day life, the sex industry and the military. It’s a far-reaching attempt to tell these stories in a singular work.
But while it is eye-opening in its horror, there’s a celebration in it too: many of the women featured aren’t names anyone would know, but they’re truly trailblazing for their cause in one way or another. There’s an attempt to be universal and inclusive, to distinguish between what is outright misogyny or just ignorance in a male-dominated construct, and let these women tell their stories of their quest for change.
I think there is scope for branching out into other issues of gender beyond this, and giving a little context to people and companies mentioned as it might not be readily known to people. At the very least, it’s a starting point. It’s hard to curtail this into a conclusion because there’s so much that could, and probably should, be addressed here, but I’ll try.
This in itself is not a definitive work, but a snapshot of incredible women and their stories right now, and what should hopefully be a starting point for many in joining these much-needed conversations.
I have to make myself stop typing. I’ll start a switch-off countdown. There’s something incredible to see someone say “I thought about giving up, but I’ll be damned if a little girl wants to do this and sees me quit because it’s easier”, and it happens on many occasions, often in the face of life-threatening opposition.
I think I’ll stick with ‘a snapshot of incredible women and their stories’, and a must-read.
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7th May 2015 | Portobello