The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations records the words of 1,466 people - and just 136 of them are women.
Another compilation published within the last few years has more quotes in it from fictional men from 'Yes Minister' and 'House of Cards' than there are from real women.
The Centre for Women & Democracy (www.cfwd.org.uk) has been campaigning since 2007 to get more women into politics, power, and public decision-making roles at all levels. When we found that there is actually no collection of women's political quotations, and therefore no record of women's collective political wisdom and insight, we started our own and put it on our website in a section called ‘In Our Own Words’. That has about five hundred or so quotes, but now we want to do something really special.
We want to create a much bigger collection and publish it in book form to mark International Women’s Day 2016.
The absence of the political voices of women and girls - both historic and contemporary - from the recorded political culture feeds the perceptions that women are less able speakers and writers, and are less likely have interesting, witty or significant insights into politics, power and government. It robs us of our hinterland, denies us access to the words of many remarkable women, and means that most women politicians are forgotten much more quickly than their male counterparts. And we know too that women who are BAME, disabled, young, working class or LBT are even more likely to be rendered invisible. We think all this needs to be put right.
Can you help us to raise at least £5,000 to create a unique record of women's political voices?
We need the funding so that we can pay someone to work with us to comb through speeches, articles, interviews, memoirs and websites to find new quotes and cover publishing and basic design costs. Proceeds from the sales of the book will go towards the balance of the costs and, once they are covered, to supporting CFWD to continue its work on women's political equality. We can only achieve all this with your generosity and support. But we think it will be worth it.
Proceeds from the sale of the book will be split between the Centre for Women & Democracy and a charity which we'll be announcing shortly.
We believe that women's experience of politics is at least as memorable as men's, and just as much worth preserving.
If you agree, please donate. There are some great rewards available (see the list on the right) not the least of which will be the warm glow of helping to do something so worthwhile.
And, if we’re successful, the end result will be a lasting record of women's words which will feed into future major collections, not to mention a brilliant present (for yourself and others) for all occasions.
Thank you in advance for being part of this adventure!
'It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.' Madeleine Allbright, first woman US Secretary of State
'There are hazards in anything one does, but greater hazards in doing nothing.' Baroness Shirley Williams