In tonight’s Dispatch: a rare book dealer explains why we should value women writers more, and Saudi Arabia arrests women who campaigned for the right to drive.
Plus: hundreds of women activists are set to get their own Wikipedia pages for the first time, and an investment fund has been launched to finance gender-diverse workplaces.
How one woman is fighting to keep female authors on bookshelves
According to a recent study, books written by women are priced – on average – at less than half the price of those written by men. It was a startling, but sadly unsurprising, reminder of how women’s creative contributions tend to be undervalued.
This discrepancy in monetary recognition inspired AN Devers to start The Second Shelf: a book-dealing business focused on rare books, first editions and manuscripts written by and about women.
Writing in The Guardian, Denvers explains that she first had the idea for The Second Shelf after attending a book fair in New York City, where she noticed that a first edition of a book by “a living female writer who is tremendously respected” was priced at just $25. A first edition of a book by a similarly acclaimed male author, in contrast, was on sale for hundreds of dollars.
Denvers says she is determined “to find and sell exceptional work” by women “that might have been lost due to inequality and uninterest”.
“The truth is, I don’t know if The Second Shelf is a viable business yet,” she writes. “What I see is a problem to solve. Far more women must take up the charge to collect rare books and first editions by women – as should men, of course, but the evidence suggests we can’t count on them to do so.”
Read more about The Second Shelf here.
Saudi Arabia arrests women who campaigned for right to drive
At least five people, mostly women, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia after campaigning for the right to drive and an end to the country’s male guardianship system.
Rights activists in Saudi Arabia said on Friday that the arrests were linked to the women advocating for driving rights.
“They detained them because they do not want them to publicly claim success,” one activist told Reuters.
Women will be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia from 24 June. However, experts on the country’s political situation say that the government wants to supress the idea that activism can lead to legislative change.
Read more on this story here.
Women human rights activists to be spotlighted in Wikipedia edit-a-thon
There are more than 5.5million entries on Wikipedia – but less than 20% of biographies on the site are dedicated to women, indicating how women’s achievements are often erased from history.
To change that, hundreds of people from around the world are teaming up this weekend for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. Called BRAVE:Edit, the drive aims to increase the number of women human rights defenders with their own Wikipedia page.
The initiative is a collaboration between Amnesty International and Wikimedia, Wikipedia’s non-profit organisation. Amnesty defines a women human rights defender as a woman “working on any human rights issue” or a person of any gender “working on rights related to gender and sexuality”.
“These are stories of some truly inspirational women who have overcome huge obstacles and fought entrenched discrimination in defence of human rights,” says Guadalupe Marengo, head of Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Defenders programme.
“Activists from across the globe will be helping to bring them to a worldwide audience where they belong.”
Read more on this story at amnesty.org
Investment fund launched to reward gender-diverse workplaces
One of the most prominent investment firms in the UK has launched a £50m fund to encourage companies to prioritise gender diversity.
The L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund – otherwise known as the ‘Girl Fund’ – is the creation of Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM).
LGIM will rank companies according to the percentage of women employed in four areas: on the board of directors; at executive level; in management; and across the workforce. Companies will be expected to reach a minimum of 30% representation of women in each of these areas to receive investment from the Girl Fund, and those with the best gender diversity will be favoured.
The fund will be open to small and large investors, meaning that you could invest your money in companies selected by the Girl Fund for as little as £30 a month. Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at LGIM, said this would “[empower] us all to use our money to help companies to progress”.
Read more on this story here.
Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference, celebrating their success, and empowering future generations to follow their lead. See more from Visible Women here.
Images: Christin Hume / Brooke Cagle / Unsplash / Getty Images