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Six books that reclaim our narrative

Growing up my Grandmother used to recite an African proverb: ‘until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.’ As a young girl, I couldn’t make sense of it, but over time I began to understand the lion was a metaphor for the oppressed, and the hunter stood for those with power. This analogy fits the story of humanity — the story of the sexes. For years the system (built by the hunters), has been feeding women a narrative, limiting our history, ability, duties and sense of self. But unlike in the proverb these lions have learned to write, and they are ready to roar. From untold historical tales to uncovering scientific data bias, these six books show that women have been systematically excluded from the narrative — but we’re not tolerating that anymore.  


By Ony Anukem




Power Shift: The Longest Revolution


There has never been a better time to be a woman, a significant shift has been happening over the years, making strides towards equality for women. However, from Canada to Comoros there isn’t a country in the world that has achieved gender equality yet. In this book, award-winning author, journalist, and human rights activist Sally Armstrong presents a succinct history of what led the way for trending Twitter hashtags: from cave drawings in ancient Mesopotamia to the fight for the vote and reproductive rights to the unspeakable gendered violence in Afghanistan, female genital mutilation, and civil war in the Balkans. What ultimately comes to light after this read is that gender inequality comes at too high a cost to us all, and the time for action is now. 





Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong — and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story


If you are of the scientific persuasion — this is the book for you. Angela Saini will take you on a journey uncovering where science has lost its way in regards to women, and the fight to rewrite what we thought we knew. For centuries, science has sold us the idea that men and women are fundamentally different, and even that women are the inferior sex. From intelligence to emotion, cognition to behaviour, new research is revealing a different story. Angela systematically tears down old assumptions drawn from flawed studies and biased scientists, offering a new vision for women, and society as a whole. 






Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men


Data is everything and everything is data — from the text messages on your phone to the stack of papers in your drawer. We depend on data for almost everything, but what happens when the data is inaccurate? Most data fails to take gender into account — treating men as the norm and women as abnormal — turning bias and discrimination into products of the system. And women pay the cost for this bias, in our time, money, and many other ways. Join Caroline as she investigates the shocking root cause of gender inequality in research, diving into women’s lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office, and more. 






Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds 


From childhood, we’ve been told that science proves that men and women are made of different stuff, including two different types of brains — male and female. Gender and Our Brains says “time’s up” to pinkification. Packed with fascinating research and point of view, Gina argues that for far too long science has followed false logic to support the notion that men and women have different brains. Tapping into her experience as a professor of cognitive neuroimaging, and referencing new ideas in neuroscience, she offers a new vision of the human brain — one that is highly individualized and adaptable, rather than set in stone by our gender. 






Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society 


Cordelia Fine’s Testosterone Rex is guaranteed to edutain. She wittily explains why past and present sex roles are only serving suggestions for the future, and reveals a much more dynamic situation through an evocative and well-documented exploration of the latest research. Touching on evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, and philosophy, she uses stories from daily life, scientific research, and common sense to break down the root of cultural assumptions. This book goes beyond the ancient debate of nature versus nurture, disproving age-old myths and calling for a more equal society based on everyone’s full human potential.





Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention


For centuries, we’ve been fed the stories of great men of history, but what about the women? Cathy Newman’s look at the past includes all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school, but didn’t. Like the pioneering women who defied the odds to make careers for themselves and alter the course of modern history; women who achieved what they achieved while dismantling hostile, entrenched views about their place in society. She combines scrupulous research with information gathered from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources, using the stories of some extraordinary lives to give us a new, inclusive version of history.