Impressive in scope and alternately inspiring and depressing.

EQUALITY FOR WOMEN = PROSPERITY FOR ALL

THE DISASTROUS GLOBAL CRISIS OF GENDER INEQUALITY

An economist and a novelist team up to show that when women don’t flourish, neither does the GDP.

Drawing in part on data from the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law project, Georgetown School of Foreign Service senior fellow Lopez-Claros, the former director of Global Indicators at the World Bank and chief economist at the World Economic Forum, and Nakhjavani (Us&Them, 2017, etc.) argue that discussions of sexism must take economics into account, because the actual “price we are paying for inequality is too high.” With almost overwhelming force, the authors demonstrate the widespread persistence of gender inequality. As they note, in more than a dozen countries, husbands can legally prevent women from accepting paid employment; in Africa and South Asia, too few girls attend secondary school; and nearly 40 percent of people surveyed in 60 countries over four years agree that, when jobs are scarce, men should have more rights to paid employment than women. Lopez-Claros and Nakhjavani go on to demonstrate the economic consequences of inequality. For example, violence against women is commonplace, and female victims have diminished economic productivity. What’s to be done? Some of the authors’ conclusions are unsurprising—e.g., women who have control over reproduction have greater career choice. In their attempt to address religiously motivated gender discrimination, the authors blandly and patronizingly suggest that “perhaps the time has come to distinguish between the universal principles in all faiths and the cultural mirages we elevate to the level of religious doctrine.” They are more persuasive—and more energizing—when they offer specific policy ideas, such as the suggestion that state-sponsored pensions and health care could reduce “gendercide.” As they point out, the belief that sons are necessary protections against the economic ravages of aging often animates couples’ preferences for sons (and their practice of sex-selective abortion).

Impressive in scope and alternately inspiring and depressing.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-05118-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

more