Vida: A woman for our time by Jacqueline Kent

Reviewed by
October 2020, no. 425
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Sylvia Martin reviews 'Vida: A woman for our time' by Jacqueline Kent

Vida: A woman for our time

by Jacqueline Kent

Viking, $34.99 pb, 329 pp

Buy this book

Vida: A woman for our time by Jacqueline Kent

Reviewed by
October 2020, no. 425

Miles Franklin used to delight in relating an anecdote about a librarian friend who, when asked why a less competent colleague was paid more, replied succinctly: ‘He has the genital organs of the male; they’re not used in library work, but men are paid more for having them.’

I was reminded of this when I found that the subject of Vida, Franklin’s friend Vida Goldstein, had preserved a piece of doggerel in a newspaper from around the same time, which begins: ‘She was pretty / She was fair / Tailor-made and debonair.’ After listing her favourable attributes, it finishes with what was missing: ‘No she hadn’t / Really hadn’t / Poor Vida hadn’t pants.’ These gems come from more than a century ago, but how much has changed for women, at least in the world of politics? Who can forget Julia Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’ of 2012?

Sylvia Martin reviews 'Vida: A woman for our time' by Jacqueline Kent

Vida: A woman for our time

by Jacqueline Kent

Viking, $34.99 pb, 329 pp

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