A motivational call to arms on the subject of women’s equality.
In this debut nonfiction book, McDonnell draws on both personal experience and broader history to address the challenges facing contemporary feminism and to exhort women to unite and organize around a common goal. McDonnell addresses discrimination on the job—with many examples of both sexual harassment and unequal treatment from her career in a male-dominated industry—unequal access to health care, and domestic violence, among other issues: “At a minimum, we are obligated to ensure that women are safe from violence, are protected from harassment and discrimination at work, and receive a basic level of respect in every other way.” The book includes a number of specific equality-related goals—convincing the NFL to punish its players who act violently, incorporating women into medical studies and drug testing, passing the Equal Rights Amendment—though it is not always clear what will signal that the fight for equality as a whole has been won. While statistics and anecdotes develop McDonnell’s indictment of each problem the book addresses, sections addressing potential methods of individual and group action invite the reader to move from perusing background information to taking a stand. Discussion questions and a list of organizations and resources at the end of the book provide further opportunities for readers looking to turn education into action. Those who are new to participating in social movements will find the book’s motivational arguments and guidance valuable, but more experienced activists may be put off by McDonnell’s unfamiliarity with concepts like unconscious bias. Her casual dismissal of intersectionality and legitimate complaints about mainstream feminism (“I know that if you have self-identified as a Black/Hispanic/Asian/African/Native American or Jewish/Christian/Muslim/Buddhist woman, it might be difficult to identify yourself simply as a woman. But we must do this to achieve equality”) may also make the book unwelcoming to some readers.
A passionate, well-intentioned, but at times superficial exploration of the fight for women’s equality, the barriers to achieving it, and strategies for working toward it.