When Gracie discovered that, despite an agreement to be paid the same for her job as China correspondent for the BBC, as the male North America correspondent, she was paid far, far less, she decided to take action. It was not that she wanted more money, she 'just' wanted to be treated equally, as a sign that she was properly valued by her employers She loves the BBC, has worked there for 30 years, but she wanted them to treat women equally. The more she investigated, the more she saw how pervasive the inequality was. The book tells the story of her personal fight, and also a huge amount of information from all over the world.
For me, it was eye-opening in that I had never considered the wider and long-term issues of lower pay, such as the effect on retirement income because of superannuation (or in NZ, Kiwi Saver) being contribution based - not only are the lower paid women's contributions lower, but so too, in the case of Kiwi Saver, are the employer's contributions.
The book is very well written, enlightening, disturbing, and essential reading for everyone.
Unfollow: a journey from hatred to hope, leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper
I found this book fascinating in a horrid way but also hope-inspiring. Megan was born into one of the most openly hate-filled churches I've ever heard of, and grew up totally believing in them. I had not realized that these were well-educated people, nor that the grandfather, who started the church, spent 30 years supporting Black civil rights as a lawyer. It had never occurred to me that someone like that could be filled with hatred for other groups, such as gays and Jews. It is very ugly reading.
But it was also one that fills me with hope: if, after 26 years of indoctrination and hatred, Megan could see through the lies and hatred, and leave the church and her family, and change, then there is hope in the world. A wonderful book that will make you question yourself and your beliefs, but also fill your heart with gratitude and hope.
Madness Made Me by Mary O'Hagan
I really connected with this book. I have spent decades living with depression, sometimes very deep, suicidal depression. A couple of years after it started, I worked several university holidays at Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital, just 4-5 years before Mary started university in Dunedin, and first entered a psychiatric institution. The book brought memories of both my depression, and my horror at how
The book examines the very concept of madness, the dehumanizing of people, the politics of it, the inadequate and often unscientific and or abusive treatments, and most of all, the failure of anyone to listen to and respond appropriately to people who are different. Because of my own personal experiences as a sometimes mad person, and as a nurse aid, I was surprised by little in this book, other than the enormity of it when put together clearly in one place.
Absolutely worth reading.
Wow - three brilliant books this month! (Plus a novel that was slightly amusing but I've forgotten it already.)