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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

issues together.

'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.



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