Women and Power: A Manifesto – Mary Beard

A short book about women, the history of misogyny, and how women now are prevented from speaking in public forums by the very structure and roots of our society. It’s a lovely, short, easy, powerful read.


Based on two talks Beard gave in 2014 and 2017, this classicist links modern phenomena with their roots in the ancient world. We see how ancient imagery is used to try and silence women (Hillary Clinton as Medusa anyone?). She explores how our entire construct of power eliminated women’s voices right from the beginning. She explores how we can trace misogyny back to these ancient times and therefore once we understand where it originates, we can see how we can change things and deal with it.

You can’t easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.


Links between Telemachus and Penelope, Miss Triggs, Lavinia, and of course Medusa with online abuse and other grim modern examples of misogyny, especially in the sphere of silencing women speaking publicly, are littered through Women and Power. 

Every time I even think about the title of this book I get Harpy by Petrol Girls in my head. Click the link to be able to listen to it in its full feminist hardcore glory, or if your ears are too sensitive for that, here’s the main part I get stuck on loop in my head! but actually, do listen to it – it’s marvellous.

Petrol Girls – Harpy

Women with power must be shouted down
Women with power burned or drowned
Women should take it and not make a sound

Keep being loud and taking up space women! And read this book. It packs a punch in its 115 pages.


4 thoughts on “Women and Power: A Manifesto – Mary Beard

  1. Pingback: Books Bought and Read – March 2018 | Be Exactly Who You Want To Be

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  3. Pingback: My top Non Fiction Reads of 2018 | Be Exactly Who You Want To Be

  4. Pingback: My 2018 Reading in Statistics | Be Exactly Who You Want To Be

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