BOOK REVIEW / The fighting sex: 'By Faith and Daring' - ed Glenys Kinnock: Virago, 6.99 pounds

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The Independent Culture
GLENYS KINNOCK has put together a collection of 'interviews with remarkable women'. At best these are women distinguished not by their celebrity but for their quiet, often unremarked struggles against injustice or disability.

I was delighted to see the prominence given to Margaret Simey, the veteran Liverpool Labour politician who stood up to Michael Heseltine and fought Alison Halford's case against the hard boys of the Merseyside force. Her account of arriving in Liverpool as a young girl in the Twenties - as she crosses the mud-flats of the Mersey, smelling the stench of the chemical plants at Widnes - vividly conveys the birth of an activist. I was also won over by Claire Rayner's musings on the difficulties of life with a husband she describes as 'a dream' but who still cannot fulfil all her needs.

Like all collections, though, this one inevitably irritates by its omissions. Glenys Kinnock has been rightly criticised for confining herself to women of the left. Teresa Gorman, as a committed Tory feminist, would surely have extended this book's interest. And where are the activists from the campaign for the ordination of women? They may not fit Glenys Kinnock's personal canon, but her book is the poorer for their exclusion.

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