Mother of Invention: How Good Ideas Get Ignored in an Economy Built for Men

Abrams. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781419758041. $35. SOC SCI
The latest book by Swedish journalist Marçal (Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner??) discusses women’s roles in—and rejection from—the history of technological invention; it’s similar in scope to Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung’s The Second Shift or Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women. Marçal effectively demonstrates that systemic misogyny in capitalist frameworks not only impacts individual women but also impairs a society’s ability to advance in innovative and productive ways. Her at-once anecdotal and theoretical book seeks to understand what’s lost when women’s social contributions are limited, as well as ways to move toward a new model. The author’s writing shines when she addresses perceptions of women throughout history; she particularly carefully unpacks how Black and brown women have historically been restricted and misrepresented, and the misconceptions that endure. Marçal proposes that “we stop ignoring women and what we have decided women are to represent” and reframe societal narratives about women and their place in the world. She draws on a range of primary and secondary sources for her interdisciplinary critique of literature, sociology, and anthropology, and calls on practitioners in those fields to work toward equality.
VERDICT A must-read.
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