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3 Books to Improve Your Understanding of Sexism

In the intricate tapestry of societal issues that shape our world, few threads are as deeply woven as sexism. Defined as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex, sexism is a pervasive force that affects us all.

Its impact is felt not only in the glaring inequalities that persist in our society but also in the subtle nuances of our daily interactions. To confront and dismantle this systemic problem, it becomes imperative for us to grasp its various forms and manifestations. In this blog post, we'll highlight three insightful books that offer profound insights into the nature of sexism and its implications.

The understanding of sexism goes beyond mere recognition of overt acts; it involves unravelling the subtle biases that seep into our day-to-day lives, often unnoticed.

Sexism can be found in the media we consume, shaping narratives and dictating norms that perpetuate harmful stereotypes. It thrives in workplaces, where glass ceilings and unequal pay persist. Perhaps most significantly, it affects the impressionable minds within schools and among young people, moulding their perspectives and attitudes towards gender roles: how they feel they should behave, or how they feel others should behave.

Distinguishing between sexism and misogyny is essential to comprehending the full spectrum of gender-based discrimination. While it typically targets women due to our society's patriarchal structures, sexism encompasses a broader range of prejudiced behaviours and attitudes rooted in gender.

Several books stacked sideways on a shelf.

Misogyny, on the other hand, specifically targets and denigrates women, expressing a deep-seated contempt for their existence. We explore this in more detail in another of our blog posts.

While related, these terms reflect distinct aspects of gender-based discrimination. Understanding this distinction enables us to engage in more nuanced conversations about the multifaceted nature of gender bias.

The pages of the books recommended in this post are not just repositories of knowledge; they are mirrors that reflect the realities of sexism and provide us with the tools to challenge them. As we delve into these texts, we invite you to expand your horizons, question preconceived notions, and embark on a journey towards a more equitable world.

By honing our understanding of sexism, we empower ourselves to become advocates for change, fostering a society where everyone can flourish free from the constraints of discrimination.


Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences

A pink, purple and white book cover with the text 'Delusions of Gender. Coredlia Fine. The Real Science Behind Sex Differences. "Its conclusions could have far-reaching consequences as significant as The Female Eunuch" Viv Groskop, Guardian'.

Cordelia Fine is a really well established and respected neuroscience ethicist. She highlights in this book that brain research over a hundred years or more has tried to establish that women are inferior, that their brains are inferior. But it has been unsuccessful in every instance. The book completely debunks this popularised myth.


Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking

A black book cover with the text 'Matthew Syed. The Power of Diverse Thinking. Rebel Ideas. No 1. Bestselling Author of Black Box Thinking'.

While this book focuses on the wide-ranging benefits of diversity of thought, it highlights how embracing our unique experiences and interests can lead to enhanced creativity, connection, problem-solving and effective collaborations (rather than focusing on the diversity of our gender, appearance or sexual orientation, characteristics that are often reduced to checkboxes). This is a vital read for teachers, team leaders, HR departments and any organisation who want to enrich the diversity and inclusion in their space.


Everyday Sexism

A white book cover with the text 'Laura Bates. Everyday Sexism. The project that inspired a worldwide movement. "Pioneering" Telegraph UK. "A must-read for every woman". Cosmopolitan UK'.

Written by Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project Laura Bates, this book is a collection of stories of everyday sexism examples. While first published in 2014, many of the incidents are still common today almost a decade on. The variety of voices and experiences in this book highlight the complete normalisation of sexism in our day-to-days, whether we witness it or subconsciously partake in it. This read will better equip you to recognise normalised sexism, call it out, and prevent it from happening again.


Our Healthy Masculinity workshop is part of Voicebox's core workshop programme, covering everything from: how unhealthy masculinity can manifest itself in normalised sexism, to practical explorations of ways of doing healthy masculinity.

If you're interested in booking one of Voicebox's workshops or assemblies, you can fill out a booking form here.

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