Book Review: Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong

The book the Ascent of Women is profound.

The plight that is equal rights for women has been a centuries old struggle and did not start with bra burning in 1968, which most of us were taught.

Sally Armstrong
Sally Armstrong: Ascent of Women

Ascent of WomenA New Age is Dawning For Every Mother’s Daughter, by Sally Armstrong, explores the subjugation of women in various cultures around the globe. No country is safe from scrutiny, however it does shed light on what we believe in the Western World, that we are  free from the issues that plague women in other countries.

In North America we have had women’s rights movements for decades, but what have they accomplished?


Rape of women is still a common crime. Polygamy is still practiced with little to no involvement from the government because that right to religion gives them the freedom to follow the doctrine. But Polygamy is illegal in both Canada and the United States. With women escaping these communities and bringing to light accounts of child brides, rape, abuse, and tax fraud. The book explores what “right” is more important to uphold. The right for them to practice their beliefs, or the rights of the women and girls who are suffering to be protected from the abuse.

This book also opened my eyes to things left out of our history books. One of things that I found most interesting was Rosa Parks fought not only the Jim Crow Laws of segregation, but collected evidence of the history of sexual assault against black women. Rosa Parks not moving to the back of the bus was the start of a revolution for civil rights, but all the work she had done leading up to that moment was forgotten.

The book also talks about the cases of women’s rights that were prolific. The international story of Malala Yousafzai, who spoke up for education for girls in Pakistan. The Taliban tried to silence her, but in a resolve to survive, Malala did survive a severe gun shot to the head.

The book explores the “what if” moment. What if they didn’t try to kill her? Would the world have ever heard of her? But in the moment that they tried to keep her quiet, the act of fear that drove them to shoot her, turned the entire conflict from just a story within Pakistan, to the global stage.

This book also explores the value of women. The findings of studies show that if women are educated and have the ability to join the workforce, it is beneficial to not only the economy, but the business’ productivity would improve and the community ,overall, would prosper. Sound reasoning, as there are many studies to prove this. Ponemon Institute and Bloomberg Business to name a few, did independent studies with statistics showing women are more productive than men. So what I ask then is this, why in the United States are men paid more than women? Are they not completing the same job with the same abilities as their male counterparts?

Lastly, the darker parts of history in the book go into detail of rape, murder and abuse of women.

Honor Killings still common place even in North America. Not long ago, 2009, a mother and her three daughters were killed for “shamming” their family. This was in Canada. The rape of women in the Middle East. The shame that is placed on them as it is made the victim’s fault.

Out of all the stories that come from countries all around the world, the end of the era of keeping silent is behind us. Government and police are being held accountable for their lack of protecting women and girls. Victims are speaking out against their attackers for justice, and to prevent future women or girls from being hurt.

I think that the term ‘women’s rights’  has been misinterpreted for years. It is not only about equal pay or the ability to leave the home to join the workforce. The rights these women seek are human rights that have been granted to males since the dawn of time. Freedom to be their own person without being “owned” by another. Free to choose who they love and the education they get. Freedom to walk down their street without fear of being raped or killed.

Once the world sees women as humans, people equal to that of men, then real change can occur. I have to say that this book brought me to tears a few times. I wept for the children that were raped. Some as young as my daughter, who is in Junior Kindergarten.  I cried for the woman burned by acid, and when investigated, she was being “taught a lesson”.  I cried for the women and girls that did not make it through their turmoil. Who died of their injuries or committed suicide.

An engaging read that will cast largely a light on what is important to fight for in this world. Until people are willing to stop the cycle and support change, the atrocities in this book will continue to happen.

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It’s sad that we can launch people into space, have wearable technology, but cannot keep the women and the girls of the world safe.

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