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Double X Economy, the book, is on its way!

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

The galleys of the U.S. book today, in the offices of Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York.

I finally finished the book I have been working on for the past two years!  The Double X Economy:  The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment will be released in the U.S. and the U.K. in May 2020.  In the meantime, things are already getting very exciting.  Today, the publisher in Britain, Faber & Faber, is promoting the book through their Facebook page and through social media, using a post I wrote for the Guardian in honor of Equal Pay Day there.  (You may have already seen some tweets.)

On the very same day, the galleys arrived for the American book at Farrar, Straus and Giroux—looking great!  I will be interested to see what people make of the image on the cover.  (Maybe I should hold some kind of contest for best interpretation?)

The Double X Economy is already under contract to be translated into Spanish (Planeta), German (Hanser), Dutch (De Bezige Bij ), and Italian (Rizzoli).  Each of these publishers will have a different cover for the version in that language. I can’t wait to see how they all turn out!

The Double X Economy is meant to integrate the things we have learned over the past decade about how women’s inclusion in economic life (or exclusion from it) affects national viability and everyday wellbeing.  I have also built a framework that allows us to see how similar the economic gender situation is, across the board, from Azerbijan to Zambia, from New York to Shanghai, and to make sense of how and why so many cultures came to have these conditions in common.  I included stories set in rural Ghana, on elite U.S. campuses, at international economic summits, and many other places to illustrate.

The book is full of graphs that show the hard evidence about women’s economic situation around the world. This one, drawn from data collected by the World Economic Forum, shows that there is no country in the world where the custom is to pay women the same as men for the same/similar work.

The core message is a call to action on behalf of the women’s economic empowerment movement.  My hope is that by telling the public how much good can be done with this kind of reform, as well as how much suffering comes from leaving things as they are, there will be more people and institutions coming to pitch in.

I have built on my own research in the book, as well as the data available from the World Bank, OECD, and other international organizations. There are graphs and tables throughout.  I have also drawn from a wide range of disciplines:  history, anthropology, archaeology, primatology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology—and I have thoroughly scolded mainstream economics for not doing a better job on gender.

A member of the Women’s Land Army of America plows a field, with a plow drawn by two horses, California, 1917. (Photo by Bain News Service/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

The book debunks well-known myths that purport to explain why women are second-class citizens, especially in the economy.  The whole “men are hunters, women are gatherers” thing.  The “men do dangerous jobs” rubbish.  Even “women deserved to be subordinate because they were not strong enough to plow.”  And the all-time favorite, “males are dominant in the animal world, so they should be among humans, too.” I think people will have a good time with those parts of the book, especially.

As it turns out, I had way too much material to squeeze into a book aimed at a wide audience.  So, I have been saving the things I cut and hope to turn them into blogs during the next six months.  Some pretty quirky and interesting stuff, I think.

Anyway, you can probably see from this description why it took so long to write this book! So I am really excited to have what is essentially my life’s work on the way to your neighborhood bookstore.  Please look for it!


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