Saturday, July 11, 2009

THF: The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World

Posted by: THF (

Book available here.

There are few times when I have felt this proud to be a Hunter student. I am proud, very much so, I love my school more than I ever expected to love an institution. But today, looking through this book, I felt in awe.

Dr. Joni Seager is in Hunter College's Department of Geography, and her areas of expertise are vast: "Militarism and environment; feminist geography and the comparative international status of women; international environmental policy." She presented her book at the Association of American Geographers Conference in Las Vegas, where my friend first heard about this.

If you follow our twitter (we're up to 330 followers!), my wonderful friend and active Women's Rights Coalition member, Stefanie Faith Gray, got a chance to meet her and got me a copy of her book. So, thank you yet again, Stef, for introducing me to something amazing.

Hunter pride and celebrity-professor love aside, the book is full of great data...horrible, horrible facts to know about the world and country in which we live. The book includes jaw-dropping information on female genital mutilation (FGM), rape, forced prostitution, etc. and was published in 2009, so it's up-to-date.

Were you curious about which countries have the highest maternal mortality? Have I got a book for you! (Ugh).

I stray from my normal posts about good news, you say? No, not really. Think of all of the debates you've ever gotten into with that jackass in your women's studies/poli sci class who says,"I think people blow this sexism thing way out of proportion." Wouldn't you love to have a lightweight paperback to carry around with you that you could pull out in class and say, "Oh, wait. Here's some facts from the UN and the US Department of State. SURVEY SAYS: You're an idiot"?

The book is packed full of easily visible data, with pages and pages of world maps color-coded with explanations on percentages of women affected, often broken down by race/ethnicity and religion. The result ends up being so easy to use, it reads like a magazine. In fact, it reminded me of the (though often odd-looking) analyses Newsweek would do, years ago when my family still had a subscription.

Here is a clip of the CEDAW signatories map:

(C) Joni Seager, Myriad Editions Limited 2009

If you are curious about buying it, may I also recommend, a website that connects independent book sellers (after a fun three-month-long fight for a sexual harassment case I dealt with at, let's call it, "Boundaries," I am no longer interested in huge corporation book retailers). The book is there for you to purchase or find locally.

I commend Dr. Seager for this undertaking and thank her for providing us with such a great tool!

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