Of women: a review of my first feminist book.

This wonderful book was recommended to me by a shop keeper in an independent book shop that I love in Liverpool.

I went there because despite considering myself a feminist I haven’t read many feminist books; my research has been mainly of inspirational women throughout history (especially in the scientific field), feminist movements throughout history and in present day, current feminist issues and news, and all this has been through online reading and research so I thought it was about time to start reading feminist books.

This book is by ‘Shami Chakrabarti’.

About Shami Chakrabarti.

Shami Chakrabarti was born 16 June 1969) is a British labour party politician, barrister, and human rights activist. She served as the director of Liberty, an advocacy group which promotes civil liberties and human rights, from 2003 to 2016.

When she was the director of Liberty, she campaigned against “excessive” anti-terror legislation. In this role she frequently contributed to BBC Radio 4 and various newspapers, and was described in The Times as “probably the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years”. Between 2014 and 2017 she served as Chancellor of the University of Essex.

In April 2016, she was invited by labour party  leader Jeremy Corbyn to chair an inquiry into alleged anti-semitism  in the Labour Party, and she presented its findings in June.In August 2016, she was made a life peer in the Prime Minister’s Resignation Honours.

Shami Chakrabarti was born to parents in the suburb of Kenton in the London Borough of Harrow. Her father, a bookkeeper, has been cited by Chakrabarti as an influence on her gaining an interest in civil liberties. She was a member of the SDP and she identifies as a feminist.

She studied law at the London School of Economics, at one point acting as a research assistant to Leonard Leigh who wrote a paper on the British approach to terrorism and extradition; the paper was published finally in 1997. After graduating with an LLB degree in 1991, Chakrabarti was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1994. In 1996, she started working as a barrister for the Home Office and on 10 September 2001, she joined the human rights organisation Liberty.

After working as in-house counsel, Chakrabarti was appointed director of Liberty in 2003. As director, she campaigned against what the pressure group saw as the “excessive” anti-terrorist measures that followed the 11th of September attacks  in the United States, such as the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001  (ATCSA). The organisation is a prominent opponent of recent counter-terrorism legislation.

Chakrabarti is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio and TV and various newspapers on the topic of human rights and civil liberties. The Observer wrote that she puts in “seemingly endless appearances on Question Time  and the rolling news bulletins”. She was also described by David Aaronovitch in The Timesas “probably the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years”.

In December 2005, the BBC Radio 4 Today programme ran a poll of listeners to establish “who runs Britain.” After many hours of debate, Today placed Chakrabarti on the shortlist of ten people “who may run Britain.”She was also shortlisted in the Channel 4 Political Awards 2006 for the “Most Inspiring Political Figure” award and It was voted for by the public and she came second to Jamie Oliver, above Tony Blair, David Cameron, George Galloway, and Bob Geldof.

She was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom in 2013 by Womans hour  on BBC Radio 4, and in 2014 she was included in The Sunday Times “100 Makers of the 21st Century” list.

Book bio:

A powerful, urgent and timely polemic on why women still need equality, and how we get there

It is the greatest human rights abuse on the planet. It blights first and developing worlds, rich and poor women’s health, wealth, education, representation, opportunity and security everywhere. It is no exaggeration to describe it as an ‘apartheid’, but not limited to one country or historical period. Gender injustice, Shami Chakrabarti shows, is an ancient and continuing wrong that is millennial in duration and global in reach.

As we move forward in the twenty-first century, a time of crises the world over, Shami Chakrabarti lays out the huge challenges we face with honesty and clarity. We have not yet done enough to create a more equal world: one where women and men share power, responsibility and opportunity. One that is potentially happier and more peaceful. One where no life is wasted, and everyone has a chance to fulfil their potential. Instead, we’ve been playing around at the edges. What’s needed now is radical change.

From the disparity in the number of births to issues of schooling, work, ownership, faith, political representation and international diplomacy, Of Women outlines what needs fixing and makes clear, inspiring proposals about what we do next, putting women’s rights at the centre of the progressive political agenda.

My review! πŸ“šπŸ“–

If you’ve never read a feminist book before or are new to the world of feminism I would recommend you not read this book as it is very factual and in-dept, however it is a fantastic book and well worth adding to your feminist reading list.

The book is split into various sections covering a range of feminist issues:

1. Prayer before birth.

2. Misrepresentation.

3. Wealth and production.

4. Health and reproduction.

5. Home.

6. School.

7. Insecurity.

8. Faith.

This book is full of facts all about the injustices that women face throughout their lives. This book mainly focuses on the facts and figures around certain pressure points (sections above) facing women in societies worldwide today- from female genital mutilation to abortion, it covers some difficult topics.

It is one of the most factual books that I have read since university.

It is a fantastic book to read to truly open your eyes to the issues women face worldwide but I did struggle to read it a lot of evenings because it is so heavy to read and because it is so factual.

To read it is also quite impersonal and it’s like reading an educational book rather than a feminist book written by a feminist author, it lacks story and some human interaction; I didn’t feel any of the authors personality expressing through the book or get an insight of her opinions on the topics covered BUT I definitely learned a few things from reading this book and it definitely opened my eyes.

It is a fantastic read for someone wanting to start their journey in feminism who perhaps wants facts and figures to back it up. If you don’t mind a factual book it’s definitely worth the read.


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