Gail Grossman Freyne

The Curious Case of Inequality

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No one after reading this thought-provoking book will blithely assert that we are living in an age of equality between the sexes. Taking the 1930s detective fiction of Dorothy L Sayers as a springboard and drawing on her own practice as a psychotherapist Gail Freyne makes hard-hitting points about the still unequal relationship between the sexes in the home, the workplace and society at large. In a style as engaging and accessible as Sayers’s own, Freyne demolishes the notion that the postfeminist era has rendered equal rights feminism redundant.

‘In this insightful volume the author takes us on a journey through the detective novels of Dorothy Sayers, written in the first half of last century, to explore the state of gender equality in the first half of the twenty-first. In doing so she makes a passionate plea for a new understanding of equality, free of the myths and assumptions that have plagued feminism and ‘post-feminism’ alike. Deceptively simple and a delight to read, women (and men) puzzled by the lack of real equality in our supposedly equal world will find much to reflect on, laugh about, be challenged and ultimately stimulated by in the author’s discussion of such vexed topics as friendship, politics and housework. In particular, young women, told ‘they have it all’ will be guided to an understanding of why it doesn’t feel that way, and why not enough has changed since Harriet Vane struggled to understand herself, her relationships and her place in the world.’

Agnes Dodds, Professor in the Medical School at Melbourne University.

‘There are two kinds of people in this world: The first think that feminism is over, accomplished, a thing of the past. And the second kind are those who know that feminism is far from over but want to think that a woman’s place in the world is better than ever. At least in the West. Gail Grossman Freyne’s The Curious Case of Inequality: a Journey for Justice with Dorothy L Sayers traces attitudes toward women during most of the last century. The question is ‘What has changed?’ But it is also, ‘What hasn’t?’ Under the guidance of novelist Dorothy L Sayers, this book is a master class in what it means to put a new shape on old ideas about women in ways that make them bigger, better—and more camouflaged than ever before. This book walks us through our lives and enables us to finally see what’s really going on. If you read only one book this year, make it this one. For the sake of your own depth of vision.’

Joan Chittister OSB
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