Caroline Watson, Co-founder of Progressive Women, writes about good books to read in 2012. Follow Progressive Women on twitter @sylviapankhurst
Having received some fantastic books by women about women for Christmas I got excited about sharing my enthusiasm with Progressive Women followers on our blog. So here are some suggested reads for 2012 – they’re not new books per se but one’s that I have enjoyed that I think Progressive Women followers will too.
House Music: the Oona King Diaries - with all the debate going on about women in politics and how and why there should be more of them, this a wonderful personal account of Oona’s time in Parliament. Telling a capitivating story of how she got there and how the stress of balancing her private family life and her professional political career came close to her quitting and her husband leaving is a must read for any woman considering a career in the House. In fact it’s a must read for anyone wanting to read a witty account of what it’s like for women in politics.
In the light of Laura Nelson’s recent campaign success to rid Hamley’s toy shop of gender stereotypes, Progressive Women are interested in exploring more about the science of gender difference. This is a great book that looks into debunking some of the myths about the differences between men and women particularly around language and communication. Some assumptions she tackles include ‘women talk more than men,’ ‘women are better at interacting then men’ and ‘men use language on a less personal and more competitive basis than women’. Deborah considers the impact these myths have and why they are important. She says ‘They shape our beliefs, and so influence our actions’. Deborah considers the role of these myths around communication in job candidate selection, and rape prosecutions, to demonstrate these myths can have very serious implications.
The Equality Illusion – Kat Banyard. Every feminist or would-be feminist should read this book if you haven’t already! Kat has an approach which locks the reader in from the offset. I love the way she uses each chapter to signify an hour in the day of a different woman. She begins with breakfast and the journey of an anorexic woman, and then delves further into the growing epidemic of women and eating disorders. Other issues Kat details in her book in a gripping and at times shocking way are sexism at work, domestic violence, the sex industry, and reproductive rights. What makes the book un-put-downable is that it is full of first hand accounts. The book uses personal stories that Kat gathered from over 100 interviews to discover how inequality plays out in everyday life. This is full of evidence and statistics, definitely one of the best researched, yet readable books I have read about women and inequality. The chapter on sex industry has definitely stayed with me, and anyone who claims the expansion of lap dancing and strip clubs is harmless should read this as it actively presents the view of some of the women involved.
The best thing about Kat’s book is it ends with a chapter on all the good work that is happening from women and men to make the changes needed to address the issues she raises in the book. You won’t feel helpless but empowered and ready to take action!
If you’ve got a book you want to recommend to Progressive Women then let us know!
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