In this episode, you’ll hear Gabrielle Motola talk about her career path and her work, especially her book ‘An Equal Difference’. The book looks at Iceland’s response to the 2008 financial crisis and focuses on the country’s thinking around gender equality and gender identity. Central questions in the book are “Why did Iceland react the way to its financial crisis by calling for the feminisation of the banking culture? Why did it prosecute those who did not live up to their social responsibilities and acted in self-serving ways to the detriment of society? Why did no other country react in this way?”
For me personally, 2016 was a year that underlined starkly how women aren’t seen and treated as equals in many societies, actually probably most societies. I think a good example is that of the USA, which will soon have a president who has admitted to treating women outrageously, but that’s OK by a large share of the electorate—large enough to have him elected, without him expressing remorse or regret at his behaviour. Such an attitude towards women simply isn’t a problem for many people.
I have a daughter and to me, right now, it feels as if she is growing up in a world that is taking a lot of steps backwards—including in terms of gender equality. The world has some big problems to solve. It doesn’t strike me as a good idea to marginalise half of our creative and intellectual capacity at a time when our problems are huge and growing.
And like many of you, I live in a country in which the average citizens had to bear the brunt of the financial collapse, while most of those responsible (politicians and bankers) were never called to account. That’s how it feels anyway. The same politicians are in power and they still speak with stomach-churning self-importance about their great deeds and accomplishments, ignoring the hurt, stress and despair they caused.
So Gabrielle’s book and the story behind it stirred my interest. I hope it will yours too.
A thank you to Thomas Paris, who suggested that Gabrielle would be a good person to speak with. Thomas, if you have any other suggestions, don’t hold back. That goes for anyone listening to this now. Maybe you know someone who deserves a wider audience?
And now a little confession. For some reason, my audio track stopped recording during the Skype call with Gabrielle. So, in the interests of transparency, I should tell you that I had to re-record 95% of my share of the conversation. So what you hear is I suppose me in conversation with a recording of Gabrielle’s side of the original conversation. I hope that doesn’t spoil the episode for you.