Where Are The Women? by Sara Sheridan

Sara Sheridan's Where Are The Women? is a comprehensive, vital portrait of Scotland through a female lens

Book Review by Emily Hay | 01 May 2019
  • Where are the Women?
Book title: Where are the Women?: A Guide to an Imagined Scotland
Author: Sara Sheridan

Everywhere you look in Scotland you can find monuments to famous men: the Wallace Monument, the Scott Monument, and the infamous cone-wearing statue of the Duke of Wellington to name a few. But have you ever stopped and wondered: where are the women?

Sara Sheridan has, and Where are the Women? offers a comprehensive portrait of Scotland told through the lens of women’s stories. You only need open the book to realise why it’s sorely needed. Taking a different approach from a traditional guidebook, Sheridan invents monuments to women where none have stood before, and rededicates existing ones to memorialise women, as well as mentioning the scant few which do exist, creating a map of women – both ordinary and extraordinary – to rival the usual male centric narrative.

Heed the tagline of the book: this is a guide to an imagined Scotland, not one whose streets you can currently walk. It may seem odd the number of monuments Sheridan has had to rename or invent entirely, but the true horror is that she’s been left with no option but to do so. The real ones simply don’t exist.

Sheridan may be rewriting the guidebook to Scotland, but she isn’t rewriting history. Where are the Women? is an alternative guide to a Scotland which has always existed, a testament to a history which hasn’t so much been hidden as been blatantly ignored while existing in plain sight. 

Historic Environment Scotland, 9 May, £14.99