Book Review: The Authority Gap by Mary Ann Sieghart
Who should read it?
Everyone, but especially those that have any doubt that the patriarchy and unconscious bias exists.
Why you should read it?
This is book is accessible and easy to read, and full of data and research that provides insights into the very real struggles faced by women to be considered as authoritative as men as well as what we can do at individual and societal levels to creating a more gender equal society.
Ironically, whilst a few female friends and colleagues had suggested this book to me, it was actually a LinkedIn post from a male connection that got me to the buy it! That’s maybe because I’m attracted to ways of bringing people together to achieve gender equality and this book doesn’t set out to alienate or divide opinion. Rather it shows the issue from various viewpoints supported by pages of research notes and bibliography (for those that are interested).
A key insight for me was insight into my reaction, and many others, of putting a man’s opinion before a women’s which is explained in the chapter ‘Women do it too’. Other stand out chapters for me included ‘The view from the other side – what we can learn about men and women from people who have lived both’ and ‘Shut your whore mouth’. At times I found myself getting angry at the content, occasionally sad, but overarching was a feeling of reassurance that it isn’t just me and that it can happen to the best of us. I was also happy to see a whole chapter entitled ‘No need to despair’ containing pages of useful hints, tips and actions that we can all do to instil change.
As the author, Mary Ann Sieghart, articulates, ‘…there is no need to feel gloomy because the good news is that there is a lot we can do to narrow the authority gap, and as we’ve seen, the world will be a better place, for men as well as for women, if we do’.
Sieghart, M.A. (2022) The authority gap: Why women are still taken less seriously than men, and what we can do about it. London: Penguin Books.