REVIEW: Of Women: In the 21st Century, Shami Chakrabarti

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Gender injustice is the greatest human rights abuse on the planet. It blights First and developing worlds; rich and poor women. Gender injustice impacts health, wealth, education, representation, opportunity and security everywhere. It is no exaggeration to describe the position of women as an apartheid, but it is not limited to one country or historical period. For this ancient and continuing wrong is millennial in duration and global in reach. Only radical solutions can even scratch its surface. However, the prize is a great one: the collateral benefits to peace, prosperity, sustainability and general human happiness are potentially enormous. All this because we are all interconnected and all men are of women too.

After reading Of Women: In the 21st Century, I am of the opinion that, if you are someone who is looking for the basic sort of knowledge about gender issues and feminism, this book would be an alright book to pick up.
Alright. Sadly, nothing more.
But, as someone who knows more than just a little and was looking for something that could advance the conversation, I found this book severely lacking. Frankly, this is because of three main reasons - that the information was rudimentary and the book’s flow lacked any sort of consistency, making it feel as though you were jumping around randomly from one point to the next with the only connection between them being the fact that they all affected women.
Secondly, to say Shami Chakrabarti was repeatedly insisting that she is non-judgemental, she kept making throw-away digs and comments that proved the opposite. I know, I know, it’s a difficult thing to reserve judgement on the others of our sex after being learnt to do so for so many centuries, but it is something that needs to be learnt to help us lift one another up, as opposed to pulling one another down.
And finally, that she goes on and on about her adoration for the second-wave feminist Germaine Greer (I can hear your groans from here) and yet anyone who has switched on the news, or picked up a newspaper (online or otherwise) in the last few years will be well aware of the general consensus regarding her increasingly abhorrent views.
Honestly, I could name you a dozen or so other books that could have been a better choice for an introduction to gender studies and, the more I think about my experiences with this book, I more firmly suggest you pick one of those up instead.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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