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Of Women: In the 21st Century

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  47 reviews
This book starts from the position that 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 ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Penguin
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3.74  · 
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Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book would serve as a great intro to much of the gender injustices occurring globally if you're just dipping your toes into feminism, but I personally didn't discover anything new. I kind of expected more of a human rights lawyer angle that followed on from 'on liberty', which was present but not to the extent I was hoping for when I placed my pre-order.
Not for me unfortunately!
Charley Cook
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of Women is Chakrabarti's fact full book all about the injustices that women face from fetus to death. This book mainly focuses on the facts and figured surrounding certain pressure points facing women in societies around the world today. From the preference of the sex of a baby to female genital mutilation it covers many hard hitting subjects.
Whilst most non-fiction books about feminism cover similar subjects with slight variations there is one significant difference Of Women has against its ge
Inderjit Sanghera
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My main issue with ‘Of Women’ is that it reads more like a series of statements than a coherent tract on the role of women in the 21st century. Chakrabarti is a gifted orator and debater but a less-skilled writer, her prose style is too full of the worst traits of journalese and at time academia to really properly convey the impact of her message.

Chakrabarti separates the main issues eight main issues which are impacting on the equality of women within the modern world, including education, heal
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of Women: In the 21st Century, by Shami Chakrabarti, published just over a week ago, argues that the fight for women's rights is the fight for all our rights, men or women, girls or boys. It warns of the urgent, global need to recognise a woman's right – any woman, every woman – to live an unmolested life equal in quality to, and as rich in opportunities, as that of her male counterpart. She argues that the fight for women's rights is the fight for everyone's rights because everyone, male or fem ...more
Roman Clodia
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The struggle for gender justice asks for a social engagement of a completely different order. It is not a 'single issue'. It cannot be separated from politics and economics in the deepest and broadest sense, nor from fundamental rights, both civil and political, social and economic, at home and abroad. It cannot be achieved within our comfort zones or by talking only to people like ourselves.

To read this book is like re-reading de Beauvoir's classic The Second Sex and what's depressing is that
Caroline Mersey
I suppose it was inevitable that at some point renowned human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti would want to say her piece on gender issues. Of Women (review copy from Penguin) is that book: a take on modern, intersectional feminism, grounded in the language of human rights.

Of Women is a classic articulation of the principles of third-wave feminism, allowing for and embracing the ideals of diversity and individuality, in a way that accommodates differences of emphasis and culture. As you wou
Cassidy (Reminders of the Changing Time)
To see all of my book-related content, check out my blog @

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 bec
Gem ~ Bee
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another informed and well argued book covering feminism, the current issues & battles for equality and the importance of diversity in society. Divided in to chapters covering feminism in areas such as health & reproduction, work, wealth & religion this covers world matters and is well detailed but presented in an easy to read and interesting approach. It's a great basis for introducing feminist concerns and provides current examples.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“It is autumn again. That shouldn’t matter and yet somehow it does”, starts Of Women and instantly I love this notion that we are involved in our world and its cycles far more than we imagine or than is mentioned. The weather and its personal associations becomes more relevant as Chakrabarti later on writes of how bailiffs are not meant to kick people out of their homes when it’s raining.

I thought of this as I listened to a council meeting on our upcoming budget where our Finances Director Denis
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, netgally
If you can deal with an angry voice and loads of data on women equality then you will enjoy the first 30-35% after that it gets less angry but we need to be angry at all the injustice towards women.
I think this book would a good place to start if you are just getting into feminism, it didn’t give me much new information, since I’m always reading about the subject, but I can see how this book can start a young person into women equality in the 21st century.
Loved the book!
Daniel Kilby
While, in general, this is a fairly basic introduction to feminist thought, the conclusion is a particularly powerful manifesto for a 21st century feminism.
John Plowright
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Introduction to her book ‘Of Women’ Shami Chakrabarti poses the question “will the recent resurgence of interest in the women’s cause become part of a wider struggle for social justice or fragment into a ‘niche’ or ‘single’ issue and be left behind?”

In her Conclusion, a little under two hundred pages later, she answers her own question thus: “the struggle for gender justice … is not a ‘single issue’. It cannot be separated from politics and economics in the deepest and broadest sense, nor
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Of Women is best described as a detailed examination of what it looks like to be a woman alive in the 21st century. Shami Chakrabati constructs a diverse picture of the experience of women across the world, examining work, birthing issues, education, faith, politics and more.

The book itself feels very current and I was pleased to read it so soon after publication. Chakrabati discusses the British General Election in 2017, Trump and other ongoing issues, using examples from across this year. One
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
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There might not be much that is new in this book as some reviewers have said, but it is an excellent introduction to feminism in the current political climate. I personally found some of the statistics quite surprising and learned much from the clear narrative developed by Ms Chakrabarti. The book is divided into chapters by theme and each covers various political and geographical areas. I had no idea that as late as 2017, 86 per cent of people employed in the American private sector have no acc ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s interesting, if I truly just took this book by itself, I wouldn’t exactly learn anything new because I’m doing a masters in gender so I feel like I’ve studied in depth most of the structural issues Shami has mentioned however, it is the way she writes. I could flip to a page and adapt it into a speech to rally people to understand what issues both women and men face across the world. She writes so eloquently, so articulate in explaining some complexities in a simple yet beautiful manner. In ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful read, even for the most fierce of feminists (and I count myself among them). There was nothing here that was entirely new to me, but Chakrabarti places a world of agony in a series of well-proportioned, themed essays which break the reality down with a mix of real life stories, statistics and research. It's an accessible read, but maybe a little tinged with the sting of academia, but it's not less powerful for that.

I enjoyed reading this precisely because it stepped outside t
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was sent a copy of Of Women: In the 21st Century by Shami Chakrabarti to read and review by NetGalley.
I have always admired and respected Shami Chakrabarti and enjoyed watching her debating on programmes such as Question Time. I personally believe that she is someone who should be listened to as she speaks wisely and knowledgably about all things human, political and of course human rights.
I had not actually read any of her writings and was a little worried that Of Women might be a little dry
Fiona Erskine
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every now and again we all need a wake-up call. My husband bought me this book on International Womens’ Day: a dispassionate assessment of modern inequality.

It’s a great read, never worthy or dull. Shami Chakrabarti has a fine mind and a punchy prose style. She cuts to the chase, gets to the nub of every issue. No handwringing, no flannel, the analysis is razor sharp.

From transgender rights through “judicial legitimacy and public trust”, “Dowry – the insidious, misogynist, patriarchal politics
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Unlike Chakrabarti's last book, On Liberty, I'm struggling to find a central thesis to this book. It takes as its premise that gender injustice is the greatest human rights abuse on the planet. The eight chapters describe the position of women in different fields of life, including the home, reproductive rights, schooling, conflict, and faith.

I ended up reading the book quite slowly as it felt denser and less engaging than its predecessor and never felt that it had the clarity of thought or of
Stephen  Johnson
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Real Eye opener. This book makes you realise that no matter what section of society you look at, everywhere you will find inequality bestowed upon women.

The book is structured in thematic essays, which is great for breaking down and providing nuanced answers to specific areas of inequality. For me, the chapter on insecurity (particularly pages on marital rape and domestic violence) were dark, but insightful.

Best of all, the book is written in such a way that you start to see how these different
A fact-filled in-depth description of the position of women in society, which I feel would be good for those relatively new to the topic.
Having been a feminist for forty years or so, I was rather excited to be reading this but in the end I was slightly disappointed in it. Yes, there were plenty of topics covered, but it felt more like a rather dry report than an interesting study.
I confess to feeling a similar sense of disappointment when reading a previous book by the author, On Liberty.
I als
Joseph Busa
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is well written and all the author's arguments make sense, however, I think that Shami is too limited in her vision on how to create an equal and just society. Her strategies for empowering women would seem to treat equality as a zero sum game where men, the world over, are and will lose their jobs to technology and women.

I don't think that your average man would have much of a care about this if it wasn't for one of the last great taboos of the modern age - heightism. If you are a sho
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a bit like preaching to the choir, if you pick this book up, the likelihood is that you have some sense of the inequality that exists. There is nothing that really comes as a surprise, depressing as that may be. What I thought was lacking or an opportunity missed, was practical ways in which the reader could choose to overturn these imbalances. Given the authors career as the head of Liberty and a current Labour peer, I would have thought she would be well placed to suggest ideas. So a conc ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A passionate analysis of the position of women in society across the globe that considers what changes need to be made to reduce inequality and human rights abuses. There are some disturbing statistics – from numbers of girls denied access to education to sexual assault statistics. Shami Chakrabarti, as former director of Liberty, a barrister, and Shadow Attorney General, is well positioned to put forward meaningful arguments for the necessity for change. This is a thought-provoking work with th ...more
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A brilliant introduction to gender inequality that offers thought provoking insights. This book has helped me to feel empowered as a women to take a stand in promoting women’s equal rights and motivated to play a part in addressing some of the injustices outlined.
The only downside in this book was the number of statistics from different countries which are sometimes difficult to hold in mind. Sometimes the language can be a little technical and lacks flow, but overall an excellent book that I w
Tim Finn
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is unclear to me who the book is aimed at. It is so light touch that even a casual reader of feminist/women studies such as myself found very little new information in the book, and I would imagine more committed readers would find it to be no more informative than a Guardian newspaper editorial.

The book jumps around a great deal too, covering broad topics in very few pages and conflating a quite a number of policy asks for a short book. I think time would be better spent reading a more thoro
Jackie Jacobsen-Côté
I had a hard time reading this book.

She writes beautifully, and comprehensively. But if you're already familiar with the plight of women worldwide, it can be difficult to put yourself through.

Glad this book is out though, to educate people who don't realise how dire the situation is for many women in the world.

A bit short on possible solutions, though. I wish it had been 50-50 describing the problem/proposing ways to fix it.

Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking, Shami Chakrabarti's treatise "On Women" explores the inequalities present across the globe today. I found myself agreeing with most of the points she makes, however by her own admission, only the privileged, educated women on the planet will get the chance to read and consider the issues as Chakrabarti writes them. One would hope that she as a politician will be able to push this message out across multiple media as it's a subject important for all.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I decided to spend January 2019 reading a selection of feminist books, and I chose to save this one until last as it seemed to me to be the one that was most forward-looking. It’s an absolutely fantastic book, breaking down gender inequality in a statistical way without ever dehumanising anyone, and taking into account the massive cultural, societal and class differences that affect women all around the world. Chakrabarti does not shy away from some of the horrors faced by women in some parts of ...more
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