Book Review: Fix the System, Not the Women by Laura Bates
Who should read it: Everyone!
Why you should read it: This is a brilliant entry level book that everyone should read to understand the systemic problems deep rooted in our key institutions. Laura Bates helps you realise exactly how and why the patriarchy works against us and how we can try resolve these
'Too often, we blame women. For walking home alone at night. For not asking – or asking
forcefully enough – for a seat at the table. For not overcoming the odds that are stacked against them.'
Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism project, which catalogues instances of
sexism experienced on a day-to-day basis. Bates has written multiple other books and is an
auto-buy author for me. As soon as she has a new book out it’s straight in my basket!
Fix the System, Not the Women is her latest book and in my opinion, one of her best. In this
explosive book, feminist writer and activist Laura Bates lays bare the patterns of misogyny
that harm and endanger us all. She exposes the systemic prejudice at the heart of five key
institutions in our society: Education, Politics, Media, Policing and Criminal justice.
'We have wasted decades telling women and girls how to fix things. How to fix themselves.
How to stay safe. It hasn’t worked. Because women were never the problem in the first
I listened to this book on audiobook, but immediately bought the paperback as I’m going to
hand this out to everyone to read. Combining stories with shocking evidence, Fix the
System, Not the Women is a blazing examination of sexual injustice and a rallying cry for reform.
Bates covers topics like Sarah Everard, who was brutally murdered in London by a police
officer. However, we should not be surprised:
'When something happens once every 3 days, it isn’t an isolated incident. And that’s how
often women are murdered by men in the UK.'
Also covered is how sexism starts as early as birth, with young girls' clothing which has
slogans such as ‘beautiful’, ‘Daddy is my superhero’ and ‘Princess in Training’ but young
boys are raised to be ‘heroes’ and ‘Future Man of Steel’. This is not just detrimental to young
girls, but young boys’ clothing repeatedly suggests that they are less worthy of love, cuddles
and kisses and that they should be independent, strong and powerful. This reaches the
devastating conclusion in the fact that suicide is the leading cause of death for men under
Laura Bates has smashed this out of the park, and everyone should read this. Throughout
reading this I felt anger, sadness, and frustration at how our key institutions have failed
women. As a young female engineer working in the Energy industry, this really resonated
with me as I feel like I constantly see development programmes specifically for women, but
that’s not solving the problem. Women don’t need to be fixed. Put your money towards
inclusive leadership training for your senior leaders and make the workplace more inclusive.
Stop trying to fix the women and make it an environment where everyone can thrive.
Bates, L. (2023) Fix the system, not the women. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.