The Misogyny Factor, by Ann Summers (Amazon) is AMAZING. Regardless of whether you live in Australia, if you are interested in the plight of women and the long and winding road we are taking to equality (no, we are not there yet), buy it and read it. It’s short – my Kindle estimated less than 90 minutes for me, and it is fascinating.
The political history of women in Australia is really interesting – they enacted a number of processes, especially for measuring, which were subsequently undone. This was easily missed by more people as it just seemed like a bureaucracy change, but how do you fix a problem when you are refusing to measure and acknowledge it?
The other key part of the book is pointing out the systematic inequalities, and the signs that we are yet to reach parity – e.g. in respect to pay. It’s not a matter of women “opting out”, that is only a small factor – 60% is down to other reasons, what the author terms “the misogyny factor”.
Perhaps the most important contribution of this book is that she has named the problem. Even once legal barriers are removed (and there were many! Women being forced to leave jobs in the public service after marriage, for example – until 1966), social barriers remain – this is the misogyny factor.
The book is expanded from a speech she gave (warning – R-rated version, with link to more vanilla version), which discussed the treatment of Julia Gillard, and whether if she was CEO of Australia Inc. rather than a politician, and Prime Minister of the country, she would have recourse to employment law as a result of her treatment. Fascinating, and Gillard’s own comments on the misogyny of the opposition leader (amazing video!) are also covered.
Really really recommend this book.