She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       March 31, 2019


Author  Kathy MacMillan, Manuela Bernardi, illustrated by Kathrin Honesta

Distributor:      New South Books
ISBN:                 9781641701310
Publisher:         Familius
Release Date:   March 2019  


The question is asked, ‘What does it mean to raise your voice’ in the Introduction to She Spoke: a history of women who did make a massive difference by speaking out, having an opinion and truly believing in what they believed.

Women were largely discouraged from having an opinion of just about anything, or speaking out, which is well documented in the pages of history, with many women who did dare to be different, to state what they believed in ignored, or in some cases put to death, because they were different.

The most recent case of a woman, she was a girl at the time, Malala Yousafzai, who challenged the Taliban, a religious sect who demolished all the girl’s schools in the area known as the Swat Valley where she lived, because they believed women should not be educated.

She gave her first public speech, unheard of from a young Muslim girl, at the age of eleven. In 2009 she set up a blog for the BBC under a pen name and in 2012 a Taliban shooter trapped her on the school bus, shooting her through the head! Thankfully she did not die and is today still speaking out for women’s education and their right to be free to choose.

But before that there were many, many more women who voiced their opinion, which led to massive changes in society, the law and politics. The women of the suffragette movement campaigned and stood up for what they believed in, getting the vote for women; the first country to recognise this political freedom for women was New Zealand in 1893.

Each of the women who have been selected for this book are just a few of the many: Dr Jane Goodall travels the world campaigning for better protection of the environment, bought about from her ground-breaking work as a Primatologist, living in the rainforest of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Reserve and observing chimpanzees and their lifestyle.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first woman to run for President of the United States of America and has been a fearless campaigner for women’s and human rights.

Each of the sections of this well-presented book offer the basic story behind the fourteen women who feature, a ‘voice’ and the opportunity to be able to ‘speak-up’, which presents what they considered was important enough to ‘speak out’ and by making, or helping to make change, have definitely made a difference. You can hear each of the women speak briefly in a very natty little voice recording placed at the side of the book.

The back cover carries the slogan ‘The World Needs Your Voice.’ It most certainly does!