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The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today [Paperback]

Kat Banyard
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 4 Mar 2010 --  

Book Description

4 Mar 2010

"Whoever says that prostitution is just ordinary work has never walked even a minute in my shoes, or any other girl that I know. Prostitution is actually a trap that most women believe for far too long." Rebecca Saffer, former 'high-end call girl', interviewed in The Equality Illusion.

Women have made huge strides in equality over the last century. And feminism is now generally considered irrelevant, or old-fashioned, or even embarrassing.

But what about the fact that today women working full-time in the UK are paid on average 17% less an hour than men? That one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused because of her gender? Or that there is a huge disparity in both government and corporate power (of parliamentary seats across the globe only 15% are held by women, fewer than 20% of UK MPs are women, and 96% of executive directors of the UK's top hundred

companies are men)?

In The Equality Illusion, campaigner Kat Banyard argues passionately and articulately that feminism continues to be one of the most urgent and relevant social justice campaigns today.

Structuring the book around a normal day, Banyard sets out the major issues for twenty-first century feminism, from work and education to sex, relationships and having children. She draws on her own campaigning experience as well as academic research and dozens of her own interviews and case studies. The book also includes information on how to get involved in grassroots action and a list of resources.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571246265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571246267
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 13.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A dose of feminist commonsense.' --Guardian

'Banyard's focus on action is inspiring ... Read it. Share it. Give it to your mum, your daughter, your son, your brother, your sister, your dad.' --Irish Times

'I love this book! Name-calling, finger-pointing and factually fascinating, it seems set to throw a giant spanner into the plans of man-pleasers, woman-haters and other assorted sad-sack seat-sniffers who put around the lie that feminism is no longer needed.' --Julie Burchill

Book Description

A passionate and urgent new voice that will reclaim feminism for a new generation.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do we have an equal society? 5 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arranged in the form of progress through a typical day - the book starts with appearance and eating disorders. Anorexia and Bulimia are primarily women's diseases and over 90% of sufferers are women. Even young girls are expected to go to school wearing makeup and with their hair done properly and to diet until their bodies conform to the generally accepted ideas of beauty. For women a great deal of time must be spent ensuring they are fit to face the world. Appearances are all important and women will be judged on them throughout the day. Unlike men they can't just shower and throw on a few garments.

The book highlights the way women are still regarded as bodies first and foremost rather than people. Women are judged on what they look like, what they wear and how they behave rather than being judged on their capabilities. The author raises some of the same questions as Natasha Walter in 'Living Dolls'. Is it really empowering to take up a career in the sex industry? The women the author talks to show clearly that being a lap dancer is not glamorous or even very well paid and that most women involved do it because they have been unable to find any other work which fits in with their other commitments.

At work or school women and girls run the risk of being harassed and criticised for their appearance. I was horrified to read about the schoolgirls who suffer sexual abuse - both physical and verbal. Even if they complain they are just told `Boys will be boys'; which is hardly a constructive attitude. At work similar things happen and women are rarely judged on their ability to get the job done. Women are still in a minority in Parliament and in the top 100 companies.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depressing reality 25 Mar 2010
It is very difficult to enlarge or improve on the review of Damaskcat who provides a useful detail of the books contents. This book is very depressing, particularly as I realise that its synopsis of Women & Men today is shamefully true and while in some areas life is easier for women and their opportunities greater than earlier generations (women drivers, accountants, lawyers, trades women etc.) we are easily deluded into thinking that everything is OK now. But we need to think and act again and Kat Banyard and other authors like Natasha Walter have exposed a very ugly world and has put us back to the drawing board when it comes to working out anew how to respond. Part 2 of the book offers many ideas here, but I am not sure that activism alone is sufficient - there has to be major inner changes in peoples understanding and views of fellow human beings. This must be possible (I cannot hold the defeatist attitude of Ulrome in his comments on Damaskcat's review) and we owe a lot to those like Kat who are dedicated to this task.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars honest and unapologetic 7 May 2012
By Molly
This book is one of my favourite feminist publications. It has an interesting structure, and is so crammed full of arguments and statistics to back them up that it can be very hard to put it down.

For those who believe equality has been achieved, The Equality Illusion is a must. It exposes the myth that men and women are equal; that they have the same opportunities in the world, and that they are treated with the same amount of respect and consideration in all situations. Although sexism can be subtle now, it is most definitely still there, and Banyard opens the reader's eyes to it.

The chapter on the sex industry, too, is especially important, as it dismisses the nonsensical, 'freedom of expression and choice, man!' view of the issue and approaches it critically, providing lots of explicit examples proving that this is not an industry built upon women's right to freely express her sexual desires, but is in fact quite the opposite.

Although this book can be hard to read at times, the last chapter is dedicated to trying to come up with solutions to the problems, ending things on an optimistic and hopeful tone. If you don't already have this book in your possession, whether you consider yourself feminist or not, these are important issues that need to be discussed, and Banyard provides the perfect jumping-off point.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive Reading 7 Jun 2010
I read this book in almost one sitting, and have now purchased multiple copies to lend out to my friends! Although I was aware of the latent sexist society I am part of, this book crystalized things for me and has really made me view the world differently. It makes good logical arguments and although is a little bit 'ranty' at times I had to keep reading. As it goes through many parts of our lives, there are so many different things I could relate to that were part of my upbringing as a girl in the UK that are just accepted as the norm, but in actual fact feed into the whole circus. Now I am on a mission to get all my girlfriends to read it and share the view. I highly recommend this book especially if you never thought you'd read a book on feminism!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading for everyone 31 Mar 2010
I cannot recommend this book enough - completely agree with what the other reviewers have already said. Kat Banyard is an inspiration, and I look forward to seeing how we can tackle the issues that she explores as an urgent matter of social justice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic read
Published 18 days ago by Miss L. Biggadike
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Intro
Good intro but next text I read will be more in depth and particularly missed how sexism manifests in religion
Published 25 days ago by Peter
1.0 out of 5 stars The Equality Illusion - Garbage In, Garbage Out
This book is typical of the quasi-fascistic ideology misnamed feminism, in short it is a wilfully dishonest polemic written to a demonstrably false narrative. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. A. Baron
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Really interesting reading. Loved how it uses facts and figures rather than speculation. The interviews and layout of the book is great and highlights all the areas effecting women... Read more
Published 3 months ago by megan ling
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read survey of women today
Required reading for young women - well, anyone really - well researched and compellingly informative reminding us why equality is still distant and more complicated than ever.
Published 6 months ago by Moriarty
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, eye opening and an intensely good read
Give this book to your mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. Everyone needs to read this book, both male and female to open up their eyes on how gender (in)equality really is in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Alexandra Covell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Very well written, excellently referenced, a great section at the back on how to be pro-active in feminism today (including women's charities). Read more
Published 10 months ago by Megs
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read
Well-written, well thought out and an absolute must for feminists and equality-activists everywhere. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ms. C. L. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting
Great book... really thought-provoking and perspectives on different aspects of equality within society. I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting an interesting read!
Published 13 months ago by shaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading
Things I wish I grew up knowing and that if were perhaps taught in schools at a young age might empower a lot of tomorrow's women
Published 13 months ago by LadyDeCaelo
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