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This book takes our frustration and outrage at the inequalities that exist, and gives us hope and inspiration to create a better world. This well-researched and well-written book is convincing in its central argument - that equality is better for everyone. This is a must-read - everyone can learn something from this book. Catherine Mayer sets out how her own views have changed over the years as she has learnt more about the subject matter. There are heated debates surrounding a number of these issues around the world, and Catherine presents diverse views alongside her personal opinions. Tanya also reads this so beautifully. I cannot recommend this audio book enough.
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I think this is an important book. I think it should be the textbook for the age for the feminist movement, if I’m still allowed to call it that. But that’s too po-faced so don’t be scared off. Because this book is fun with a mattering message. It’s not like Germaine Greer, all revolutionary revocation and struggle between the sexes though still funny when she felt like it. The Attack of the Fifty Foot Women is funny too (starting with the title and the cover from the 1950s movie). It’s sharp too but kinder and more subtle, because the problem that Catherine Mayer, an experienced international journalist, shows seems (falsely) somehow kinder and more subtle but it still isn’t funny.
“Gender equality?” (I prefer sex equality, it sounds less like a grammar lesson) “It’s over isn’t it? They’ve got it haven’t they? What’s left to do?” That’s the problem. We can all, in the West, look at the dismal, downright oppression of women in benighted Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan and feel a mighty moral majesty because we got our Equal Pay Act and Votes for Women and stuff eons ago. But Catherine shows that we’re missing the point and the target. There’s still a pay gap; there’s still a good job gap; we still programme boys and girls for different roles. We still don’t do childcare half well enough to make it an equal option for men and women. Catherine’s warning is that nowhere on Earth has equality been achieved though she praises the progress of Iceland. But that’s a nation only the size of Sheffield town and the rest of the globe rolls unbothered, on.
So our author takes us to a place where it does work. It’s a state called Equalia where we, not just 'they', do have equality and we can see that being equal is about being free. So far it’s a land of Mayer, but not mere, imagination. The economy works better for all because the unevenness of inequality is smoothed out; the TV’s better; the sex is much better for everyone. And all sexes count. All? Catherine’s at pains to point out that modern definitions of sexes are not trussed into a twosome. Transgender and non binary and so on all matter and are all of equal validity. Equalia which Catherine conceived as a refuge of youth, has a place for all and threatens no other state because it is a state of mind.
I would have preferred to see a stronger exposé of the so-called ‘great’ religions, Islam, Catholicism and the Evangelical Christian Taliban, still subjugating and effacing women (and every other sex or sexual preference) but that aside, this book is a full and satisfying intake of breath and assuredly and comfortable read by Tanya Moodie.