Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Find your voice and use it:" New book encourages women speakers

A British writer gave two powerful lectures on women and their right to express themselves, and they were published as a book that went on to be a manifesto for women's right to an independent voice that had a huge impact on women for decades. I'm referring, of course, to the lectures that became Virginia Woolf's masterpiece A Room of One's Own. But there is a new manifesto out, one that also combines two lectures with an equal power to inspire women on public speaking and the power that comes with it.

Women and Power A Manifesto combines two lectures by British classics scholar Mary Beard. If you want a preview, we covered both of these lectures in our Famous Speech Friday series, with the lecture on women and power here, and the lecture on the public voice of women here. So many women don't realize that today's issues in public speaking for women are not just issues of today, but endless repetitions that stem from ancient times. And since ancient times are Beard's specialty, she takes the time to show us the impact that patriarchy has had on women's voices and power for centuries. I should note that the same historical record has been available to male historians all this time all this time, and yet we rarely read about the systemic ways in which women's voices have been silenced throughout history. For that reason alone, this book is a must-read.

Beard isn't just influenced by history. As a female academic, she sees the gender disparities on conference programs, and is trolled unmercifully online by those who disagree with her feminist views. Her work is well-informed by today's challenges, and her advice is simple: "Find your voice and use it.". I hope you'll take the time to read this important work.
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