Of Women by Shami Chakrabarti

A global perspective on gender injustice

Publication date 26 October 2017, Penguin, 229p. 

Review copy from the publishers via NetGalley

My rating: 3 stars

Shami Chakrabarti is passionate, and indeed angry, about the need for gender equality in her book Of Women: in the 21 Century.  She examines the effects of gender injustice on a wide variety of issues in many parts of the world. In parts it reads like a dry academic textbook, packed full of statistics and wide ranging examples of gender injustice on a global scale. It becomes more personal however, when she writes about her own experiences her family and her background.

She covers a broad overview of many issues, rather than an in depth study, including violence against women, abortion, sanitary products, childcare and sex education and topics such as faith, the concept of home and displaced persons, health, wealth, education, representation, opportunity and insecurity in the 21st century. There are so many issues for just one book of just 229 pages and it is depressing reading for the most part, even though she suggests a number of initiatives to improve matters.

However, she remains optimistic, concluding that she believes that ‘far greater equality for women and men is realistically within our reach and well worth the stretch.’ I don’t think it is that easy and will need more than a ‘stretch’.

There is an extensive list (for each chapter heading) of ‘Further Reading and Viewing’ at the end of the book, but I think it would also be helpful to have an index to the wide ranging issues covered in this book.

Shami Chakrabarti is a former director of Liberty (2003-16), is Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, a member of the House of Lords, and the author of On Liberty, a book about human rights violations published in 2014.

My thanks to the publishers for a review copy via NetGalley.

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