Women & Power

Women & Power

A Manifesto

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. As far back as Homer's Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech being defined as inherently male. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren (who was told to sit down), Beard draws illuminating parallels between our cultural assumptions about women's relationship to power--and how powerful women provide a necessary example for all women who must resist being vacuumed into a male template. With personal reflections on her own online experiences with sexism, Beard asks: If women aren't perceived to be within the structure of power, isn't it power itself we need to redefine? And how many more centuries should we be expected to wait?
Publisher: New York :, Liveright Publishing Corporation,, 2017.
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9781631494758
Characteristics: 115 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
Alternative Title: Women and power


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 11, 2018

A very brief book comprised of two lectures; they draw upon ancient history as a foundation for the deep cultural prejudice about women and brings it up to today, incorporating modern politicians and pop culture. Several times the different responses to disagreements the audiences have to politicians' remarks (with more severe negative responses to female politicians). The upshot is nevertheless is well worth the little effort to discover from this well written essay.

AnnabelleLee27 Apr 27, 2018

Drawn from two lectures presented by Beard, a classical scholar and author, examining the relationship of women and power in Western culture. She presents fascinating examples of how many ancient sexist ideas continue to influence and operate in the present day (including internet trolls and the like). The book is quite brief and thus does not offer ideas for transforming the current culture but it is an impressive step in understanding the pervasiveness of misogyny through the centuries.

VaughanPLKelly Mar 31, 2018

This book contains two transcribed lectures that Mary Beard presented to the London Review of Books Winter Lecture Series. The lectures are fairly recent (2014 and 2017), and make connections between the classical and modern worlds with regards to how women are perceived. The lectures are thought-provoking, timely, and left me wanting more -- I would love it if Beard tackles this subject more in-depth in the ancient world.

TechLibrarian Mar 17, 2018

I heard about this book as I was reading Mary Beard's SPQR, a really fat book about Roman history. While Women & Power does pull in some ancient history, it is by contrast a very fast read. (It's actually a transcribed lecture.) In this powerful little book, Beard deconstructs some popular ideas about women in power, and about women's voices in the public forum. Beard draws on history, art and pop culture to make her point, which I will not spoil for you here. This is a very important book, and well worth the small investment in time to read. Please take it home and share it with your friends and family!

ArapahoeLesley Feb 08, 2018

Cambridge classicist Mary Beard combines 2 relatively recent (2014 and 2017) lectures on Greco roman and modern imagery/ideals/blatant misogyny and she draws some very interesting parallels. I am glad that she expressed a desire to expand further upon these two lectures because this book leaves you wanting more.

liljables Jan 31, 2018

Women & Power brings together two public lectures given by classicist Mary Beard, linking modern-day misogyny to its historical roots. Beard's central premise is that our cultural beliefs about power have remained essentially the same since ancient times. She likens the treatment of women in some very well-known classic works to their modern counterparts, demonstrating for the reader just how ingrained sexism is in our society, especially when it comes to positions of power. I hope that Beard will use this tiny volume (like, read-it-over-lunch tiny) as a springboard for a more expansive book!


Add a Quote

May 17, 2018

"You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure." (pp. 86-7)

May 16, 2018

When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice. (preface)

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WPL

To Top