Penguin Atlas of Women in the World

Penguin Atlas of Women You can see my copy is well marked.  The tabs may move around as I study different issues, but there are always several bright yellow stickies marking my travels through the pages of this book.

Yes, I reference this book frequently in my work on global issues facing women and girls. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (Fourth Edition), revised and updated by Jodi Seager, provides informative–albeit often disturbing–snapshots into the lives of women around a variety of issues.

It’s divided into sections: Women in the World, Families, Birthrights, Body Politics, Work, To Have and To Have Not, Power, and World Tables. Those sections contain everything from where women have the right to vote and hold government offices (and how many actually do hold office) to statistics about domestic violence, female genital cutting, and rape as a weapon of war. Literacy, poverty, wages, women in the military, sex trafficking, migration, maternal mortality, and many other issues are addressed.

You will find a wealth of very important information here…the numbers to back up the stories you read in the newspaper or online, facts that will make you want to know more. It’s always possible–and a good thing!–to question statistics, of course. There are so many ways one can go about counting numbers and statistics are always shaped in some way by the perspective of the person quoting them. However, just seeing the numbers to begin with will make you stop and think. My hope is that you would be spurred on to deeper study. Not sure about the statistic? Do more digging from other sources to see what you can find out.

In any case, I think this book is a good jumping off place–discover which figures send an arrow into your heart the deepest to determine where you may need to do more self-education or, perhaps, engage in the issue directly. It’s also a good supplement to other resources. Reading about sex trafficking in Eastern Europe? Check this book to see some numbers, and then see how prevalent an issue it is worldwide.

The binding on my book broke within a few months of me owning it, I refer to it so often. I hope yours becomes just as worn out…until books like these no longer have a reason to exist.


The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, Fourth Edition, revised and updated by Jodi Seager, (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2009). 128 pages.




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