This striking graphic book provides an interesting and accessible insight into women’s fight for freedom and equality. Emphasising the international nature of the fight and covering roughly 150 years, its creators show how the lives of women have changed since the 1800s and the role played by key individuals in securing important rights and freedoms.
Three important causes for the women’s movement are addressed in detail: the right to receive an education, the right to vote and the right to ‘body integrity’ (the fight to control one’s own fertility, use contraception and have access to abortion). Individual stories are used to illustrate each of these. For example, in terms of education for girls, the work of groundbreakers such as Mary Wollstonecraft 18th century writer and educator is outlined as well as Malala Yousafzai, contemporary advocate of education for girls and winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace prize. The writers raise awareness that women have died for these causes, including Iranian poet Tàhirih in 1852 and English suffragette Emily Davison in 1913. The book takes us right up to date with reference to the #MeToo movement and increased awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment.
The graphic novel format and bold design is used to good effect powerfully conveying important points such as the slow timescale in the introduction of votes for women across the world, from New Zealand in 1893 to Saudi Arabia 2015, the oppressive impact of extremist regimes on freedoms for women and girls in Afghanistan and the still very limited number of female heads of state throughout the world and throughout history.
First written in Norwegian, this is an important contribution to the number of recently published books on the role of women throughout history and the continued fight for equality and freedoms.