The Equality Illusion : The Truth About Women and Men Today, Paperback Book

The Equality Illusion : The Truth About Women and Men Today Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


In The Equality Illusion, 'the most influential young feminist in the country' (Guardian) and UK Feminista founder Kat Banyard argues passionately and articulately that feminism continues to be one of the most urgent and relevant social justice campaigns today.

Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And yet: Women working full-time in the UK are paid on average 17 per cent less an hour than men 1 in 3 women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused because of her gender Of parliamentary seats across the globe only 15 per cent are held by women and fewer than 20 per cent of UK MPs are women 96 per cent of executive directors of the UK's top hundred companies are men Structuring the book around a normal day, Banyard sets out the major issues for twenty-first century feminism, from work and education to sex, relationships and having children.

She draws on her own campaigning experience as well as academic research and dozens of her own interviews.

The book also includes information on how to get involved in grassroots action.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Feminism & feminist theory
  • ISBN: 9780571246274

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Goodness me, this is a depressing read. That's not a criticism, this is a non fiction book, and it's simply that the facts it details are all true, and very depressing facts they are. Here's just a few to get you started:"Women in the UK are paid 22.6 per cent less per hour than men.Women do two-thirds of the world's work, yet recieve 10 per cent of the world's income and own 1 per cent of the means of production.At least 100,000 women are raped each year in the UK and the rape conviction rate is 6.5 per cent.Only 18.3 per cent of the world's members of parliament are women.During the 1990s the number of men paying for sex acts in the UK doubled."Depressed yet? That's just a few facts thrown at you in the introduction, there are plenty more where that came from. Want to know the percentage of anorexics who are women? It's here - 90%. Or maybe, how many scenes in porn films feature some sort of physical aggression towards the women in them. That's here too - 88.2%. Or how about the average age at which boys are exposed to pornography on their computers. Ok, get ready for this one.... 11 years old. This is in the chapter that is the most depressing of all, the one that deals with the effect of the absolutely exponential rise of pornography and it's bedfellows like lap dancing clubs and prostitution in our culture in recent years. This is the chapter to show to all those people that contend that pornography and feminism can co-exist, that to be anti pornography is to be simply prudish or anti-sex. Here's a few choice paragraphs for you "(a meta-analysis of studies into pornography consumption) found that consuming pornography increased aggressive behaviour in the viewer. A separate meta-analysis of forty six studies found that exposure to pornography reliably had the effect of making viewers more likely to commit sexual offences, experience difficulties in intimate relationships, and accept "rape myths" as true." Ok, so that's what the incresed sexualisation of our society is doing to the men. And to the women? "(In a survey of) 1,000 UK young women aged fifteen to nineteen in 2005 about their ambitions, 63 per cent said they would rather be a glamour model than a nurse, a doctor or a teacher. And while just 3 per cent aspired to a teaching role, a quarter thought lap dancing was an appealing profession."This chapter is, as I said, probably the most depressing of all, but it is far from the whole picture. Other chapters cover a full range of ways in which women are still unequal in our society - from being discriminated against in the workplace, to the unfair division of domestic labour, to the beauty myth, to the way gender roles are enforced in the education system. If you are familiar with modern feminist thought there won't be anything particularly new here, but if you have never read a book like this before, it might open your eyes wide about many things. It is also a great source of facts and figures for those people that have always felt the arguments put forward here are true, but haven't had the raw data to back them up.One of the points the book makes very well is the way that so many of the inequalities detailed here are so deeply entrenched in modern life that we just don't question them, which is the reason that even well intentioned people can sometimes dismiss the idea that these inequalities exist. Some example: women are judged on their appearance - normal. Women aspire to be thin and beautiful, above almost anything else - nomal. Wome aren't as interested in maths, science and sports as men - normal. Boys and girls don't like playing together - normal. Men find it arousing to watch women being objectified - normal. Women should do the majority of the childcare and housework, even if both she and her partner have a full time job - normal. Women are too meek to really get ahead in business - normal. And so on. These ideas are embedded very deep into our culture, and as this book traces very well, they contribute a huge amount towards the more distressing symptoms of a culture that doesn't value women as much as men, such as domestic violence, rape and murder, as well as the more mundane and every day unequal pay and unfair divison of labour.In case this is all getting a bit too depressing, the final chapter of the book looks at some of the ways that people can try to tackle these problems, as well as examples of people who have done just that. There is also a comprehensive list of websites, charities and institutions who are committed to tackling the issues raised in the book. After reading this, it's very likely that you will want to join one of them, as the alternative of just allowing things to continue on as they are is just too....that's right, depressing.

Also by Kat Banyard