Sunday, April 14, 2019

We Are Feminist - Foreword by Helen Pankhurst

'We Are Feminist: An Infographic History of the Women's Rights Movement' is a brief, easily digestible, overview of the fight for equality across the world. As Helen Pankhurst points out in her foreword it's by no means comprehensive, but it does try to give a sense of the central achievements of feminism.

Today is one of those days when I'm really feeling my age (a stinking cold with all the attendant aching joints is really sticking the knife in), a day when I have to take myself off Twitter, and remind myself why it's a bad idea to read BTL comments on Guardian articles. A day when it seems impossible to work out where I stand in the current culture and identity wars and everything seems hopelessly complicated. The sort of day when it feels like we're going backwards.

That's exactly the sort of day when it's helpful to have something that unashamedly celebrates the achievements of the 'strident' women this book focuses on. It's uplifting, and to quote Millicent Fawcett "Courage calls to courage everywhere" - there's nothing complicated about that.

Courage calls to courage everywhere is maybe the defining theme of this book. All of the women in it, however problematical some of them may now seem (it's hard to be a second wave feminist these days) are united by a thread of courage and determination. For me that's the most exciting thing here - learning a few names I haven't heard before, and can now research at more length, as well as being inspired again by figures I'm more familiar with.

There are statistics that demonstrate how far we have come, and there's a bit of political and historical context for each wave of feminism which is useful too. Altogether it might not be the most serious examination of the subject, but it's a good basic introduction - easy to follow, and with a lot of information packed into such a small format.


  1. This sounds excellent (and, shallowly, that cover is gorgeous)

    1. It's a good basic introduction to the history of a movement, and it does a have a very pretty cover!