Today it really is a pleasure to host the BlogTour for Saving the World – Women: The Twenty-First Century’s Factor for Change by Paola Diana. It should be made in pocket size, so all women and men can read it on the go.
About the Author
A top ten bestselling author and political activist in Italy, Paola Diana is a mouthpiece for female equality in a country that has some of the worst work place equality in the world ranking 118th out of 144 countries in terms of women’s participation in economic life and 126th for wage equality for similar work according to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Index, with Italy lagging behind India and Iran in wage equality.
A London based entrepreneur and campaigner for equal rights Paola has dedicated her life to championing sexual equality in business and politics in the UK and Italy. In Italy, Paola is the founder of the organisation PariMerito (Equal Merit), which she used to lobby the Italian Government to pass new equality laws in the work place, including a new bill requiring every company board to have minimum 30% female representation.
Prior to starting PariMerito Paola ran a Think Tank in support of the former Prime Minister and President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi’s political campaign, which had a particular focus on issues including welfare, female employment and structural policies in favour of the family and equal opportunities.
Paola is also an entrepreneur starting her first business as a single mother of two, her hugely successful Diana Group, comprises three separate businesses and has established itself as a market leader in recruitment and lifestyle services, recognised as one of London’s most influential service providers for high net worth individuals, families and corporations around the world.
Follow @paoladiana_ @quartetbooks @midaspr
Buy Saving the World
About the book
“I write about history to free us from the past, I write about the present to strive for alternative destinies and I write about the future because the world we live in is not the only one possible.”
Part manifesto for change part historical and sociological essay, Saving the World charts women’s condition through the centuries, analysing their treatment within political, religious, economic and societal contexts to form a bigger picture of their place in the world; and explores what needs to be done in 2018 to create a truly equal world. Having already broken the glass ceiling for women in Italy, where she introduced a new bill requiring company boards to have 30% female representation, Paola turns to the Gender Pay Gap and puts forward her vision for how we reach an equal society, one in which all women are set free from fear, violence and oppression. Paola Diana impresses on us that this world we inhabit, dominated by men and often seemingly immutable, is far from the only one possible.
Already a bestseller in Italy, this translation has been extensively revised by the author to incorporate recent UK events that impinge on women’s rights and the struggle to achieve equality. A clarion call for change, Diana’s polemic should be read by all who hold powerful positions in government, industry and the arts.
There is a paragraph in the preface that gave me food for thought. The author believes she was born with certain instincts, which have made her more attuned to the injustices and discrimination against women, although she does point out that she would have reacted and felt the same if those were directed towards men.
It really made me think about my own tendencies to stand up for the oppressed, the vulnerable and those who have to deal with injustice and discrimination. Our temperament is already shaped within the womb. Are we perhaps genetically pre-wired to be more of a ‘save the universe and the downtrodden’ kind of person? Scientists have proven that there are links between genetics and violence, is it so far-fetched to believe a social justice warrior gene could be embedded in our DNA? It isn’t just a ‘I feel more empathy’ kind of emotion either.
I guess we end up back with the old nature vs nurture argument. I, for instance was privy to an upbringing, which some would now call liberal thinking. Nowadays liberal is perceived to be some kind of insult and associated with an anti-authoritarian free-thinking no rules kind of upbringing. I had rules and was taught discipline, but I was also taught acceptance and tolerance.
Admittedly I think the word tolerance is the wrong one, because I wasn’t taught to tolerate anyone, I was taught that we are all equal. No matter the skin colour, education, origins, socio-economic status, gender or religion. Sounds very flower powery – far from it, because I was also taught that an arsehole is an arsehole regardless of race, colour, gender or religion.
The patriarchal system is the main reason the systemic abuse, oppression and discrimination against women is still alive and kicking. Old habits die hard and a leopard doesn’t change its spots or rather refuses to change them at all.
‘There is no religious justification for female subjugation.’ Diana couldn’t be more right about the way religion is used to control, weaken and oppress the rights of women. To the point of women being so brainwashed by centuries-old man-written rules to keep the opposite gender quiet and submissive, that they dare not question the need for ten wives for one man. The need to support hebephilia and ephebophilia, so men can marry children or the need to obey or be punished, because God says so. Men wrote the rule books, not any entity of faith.
There are so many examples throughout history and many countries, of women standing up to the institutional oppression. Sometimes individuals have been able to bring about change. Women have been tortured and killed to allow us the same rights as men. It is often apparent that 21st century women and girls don’t really have a clue what some women have achieved in history to ensure we can cast a vote in an election for instance.
Among many controversial topics that make me stand up for women’s rights is the topic of our bodies. No man should be allowed to determine what I can or can’t do to my body. You don’t own me, you don’t own my physical appearance and you certainly don’t own my uterus or anything which may reside in it, so your opinions are unwanted and invalid. Women shouldn’t have to return to the dark alleys of medieval times just because men, religious institutions run by men and governed by rules written by men and interpreted by men, decide they own the rental space in my uterus and yours.
Let’s be clear, the majority of the male gender of our species believes us to be inferior, albeit often a subconscious thought process, which is why we don’t deserve equal pay or equal representation in the world of politics or business.
What becomes abundantly clear in Saving the World, is not only the need for change, but also how unaware the world really is to the daily injustices against women. We need to educate those, who have been raised to perceive a rift between man and woman. The people who expect obedience and subservience instead of acknowledging the need for equality. For me the change must start in the cradle. Mothers must teach their sons to respect women instead of teaching them to treat women as a sub-humans, they must also teach their daughters to want more than just a life dictated by a patriarchal society.
On the stage of the world we must fight for and insist upon equal representation. It’s time the old boy, and especially the old boy white club mentality, disappeared. We need more female role models for younger women to not only emulate, but also so they can see there is a change on the horizon. Locker room humour, chauvinistic and sexist attitudes should be relegated to the dusty pages of the history books.
There are a lot of negative connotations when it comes to the umbrella phrase of feminism, which is a term I tend not to use to describe myself. I believe in women. I believe in equality, and I believe in justice for the oppressed and those who are discriminated. That is just common sense, which doesn’t need a blanket term or stereotype, so others can box me in by trying to invalidate my arguments.
If there is one thing you take away from this strong encouraging voice of empowerment, then let it be that women should work together and not against each other. When we are critical of women in positions of power, we undermine ourselves and them, and automatically fall back into the trap laid out by men. Not that I am saying women shouldn’t be challenged, by all means challenge them on the topic they are speaking on or their opinions if you disagree, but never do it to undermine in an attempt to be one of the boys. You will never be one of the boys. We are woman, and it is time to hear us roar.
Kudos to Paola Diana for roaring for all of us.
Buy Saving the World at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.