Book Reviews

Brazen Betty's Book Reviews: Betty: (slang) An attractive and date-able woman. Brazen Betty is a hip, up to date CHICK with brains, wit, and one gigantic reading list! She's read hundreds of books on finance and now she's serving up the truthful reviews. Sometimes, the truth hurts. Disclaimer: To those financial authors who we're about to slice to bits, we're sorry... Some of you are such lame quacks we don't want to play with you and please-don't come back until you've written a better book.

Secret Society of Money Part Four

So, you may be wondering, what do the Wal-Mart law suit, pay equity and the White House Report on Women have to do with The Handmaid’s Tale? The basic plot of Atwood’s book is that a terrorist group takes over the US government. One of the first things this new government does is to electronically remove all assets from women. Overnight, women have no money, no assets, no way to make money—even their names are removed from them. They are renamed with a single name and geographically relocated.

Imagine a world in which you, because you are a woman, could own nothing—not even the clothes on your back. Stripped of your identity, your life role assigned by those in power, no way out because everything about you is cloaked in secrecy. Displaced, new name—who could find you? Communication between women and the rest of the world is severely limited. Your status in the world is determined by men and biology, based on whether or not your ovaries can produce viable eggs.

Atwood’s view of this future dystopia is extreme, that’s for sure, she pushes what is happening to women in the world today to a fictional future reality. But the basis for her story is real—gender bias is ingrained in our culture and has created a lesser role for women. While no terrorist group has made women penniless, women, especially single moms, are more likely to be poor than men. Even the Supreme Court, as noted earlier, seems to think that Wal-Mart’s practice of paying women less is okay because it is less than the national average.

Even though American women and girls have made substantial progress in educational attainment and achievement in the last few decades, they are still underrepresented at higher pay levels despite their education.  Climbing the ladder to board rooms is still out of the reach of most women–only 3% of Fortune  500 CEO’s are women—15 women. Those women who do make it into the boardroom are still paid less than men.

So what do you think about Atwood, pay equity, Wal-Mart and the White House Report?