Fix the System, Not the Women by Laura Bates review – a compelling insight into gender injustice

This clear-sighted page-turner explores systematic, everyday prejudice against women – not least when it comes to male violence

For Laura Bates, it began with a heavy piece of gold jewellery that her mother found on the passenger seat of the family car. It was a gift from her grandparents. Her mother, after two daughters, had been rewarded for giving birth to a son. “I am five years old,” Bates writes, “and have no idea I’ve already been weighed, valued and found wanting.”

This incident is the first on what the feminist writer and activist calls “my list”. She encourages all women to make one, charting a life in sexism, from the playground to the street to the workplace. “By the time I leave university, aged 20,” Bates writes, “I have been sexually assaulted, pressured to perform topless in a theatre production (I stand my ground, but the experience leaves me in tears) and cornered in the street by two men shouting, ‘We’re going to part those legs and fuck that cunt.’”

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