Never has a book had such a profound and immediate impact on me; my sense of the world, my knowledge and influence on my life path. The War on Women, a book written by former BBC video-journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts, who very sadly passed away while writing, takes a look at stories from around the world relating to women’s rights.
In each chapter Sue recalls her journeys to investigate and reveal the various abuses women have faced and continue to face around the world. From the very first chapter Sue does not hold back. Although many of the stories are harrowing, difficult to read and occasionally brought me to tears they are counterbalanced with the wonderful and optimistic stories of the women who are fighting back.
The book begins with FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and the story of Maimouna’s escape from the Gambia in order to avoid having to take the role of the village cutter. Sue looks at the issue from all angles; the graphic reality of it, the reasons for it and how people are working to prevent it – both governments, individuals and organisations.
Every chapter of this book taught me something new. Be it whole episodes of history, such as Argentina’s Dirty War to a deeper understanding of issues such as Rape as Weapon of War. There were not only new facts but new perspectives that I had been unaware of previously. Overall, it showed me how much further, on a global scale, we have to go to achieve safety and security for women along with equal rights.
Sue was a brave woman and an honest reporter. Her work, in light of recent events, seems to me to be more important than ever. The book is one I keep returning to, one I will keep learning from, keep reflecting on and will keep inspiring me to help fight back. It is a book that I think all should read, and all would benefit from doing so.