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The Day of the Women

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New English Library, London, 1970
(price: 30p; 176 pages)
(first published in Great Britain by Leslie Frewin)

dedication: For my daughter, Danae - one of tomorrow's women.

The blurb on the back:

A female Prime Minister ... human stud farms run by women ... mass rallies at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the day of the dominating women ... all this and more a take-over bid of the Seventies that turns to high-heeled fascism, a dictatorship of unbridled power lust.
A female elite has taken over England. Led by their 'mother', the sleek Diana Druce, they perform an economic miracle - and put the jackboot through the idea that women are the weaker sex.
Author Pamela Kettle paints, in mercilessly naked detail, a picture of the near future that is not only possible, but probable...

Yep, it's another novel on the theme of how the two-party system has failed Britain and left the way open for a radical new third party, led by a charismatic figure and run with tight discipline - see also The Leader and The Rise of Cromwell Jones. The gimmick here is that the new party is comprised entirely of women. Not a bad gimmick as it happens, though the shock value of a woman Prime Minister is perhaps less now than it was back in 1969.

The founder of the party, IMPULSE, is Diana Druce, and the story is told from the perspective of an old friend, Eve, who returns from a few years in Argentina to discover the organization up and running. It's a convenient shortcut to the meat of the story - by page 53 IMPULSE have won a parliamentary majority in the 1975 election, which leaves the way clear to tell the tale of the government - but the haste does produce fantastically clunking dialogue of the kind found in first episodes of TV dramas:

'This is a pretty important assignment for you, Michael, isn't it?' Roger said. 'I understand the company is loaning you as top man to its new South American associates. You haven't talked much about it. Fill me in on the details.' (p.8)

As an early text in the renaissance of British feminism, The Day of the Women has a certain historical interest. Whether it's any good is another matter. (It isn't, really.)

Pamela Kettle
Pamela Kettle


like this? try this:
Edmund Cooper, Who Needs Men?