2019 CBC Massey Lectures

Award-winning author, journalist, and human rights activist Sally Armstrong is this year’s CBC Massey Lecturer.

In her 25 years covering stories in conflict zones, Armstrong has been relentlessly advocating for women, exposing abuse and oppression. She was the first journalist to bring the story of Afghan women living under the Taliban to the world.
Through her lectures, Armstrong argues that improving the status of the women is crucial to our collective surviving — and thriving. The facts are beyond dispute: when women get an education, all of society benefits; when they get better healthcare, everyone lives longer.
In many ways, it has never been a better time to be a woman: a fundamental shift has been taking place all around us, and we’re all better off. Yet the promise of genuine equality still eludes half the world’s population.
By looking at the past, Armstrong examines the many roles women have played in society, and the social developments for women over millennia across many benchmarks: in sex, religion, culture, politics, and economics. What we learn is that gender inequality comes at too high a cost for all of us, and that the only way forward for all of us, men as well as women, is for women to become truly equal with men.

The book version of the 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution, is published by House of Anansi Press. It will be available on Sept. 17, 2019.

Book Cover
Armstrong Headshot

SALLY ARMSTRONG is sometimes called “the war correspondent for the world’s women.” She’s also known as “La Talibanista.” She’s a journalist who covers zones of conflict. Her beat is to find out what happens to women and girls.
An award winning author, journalist and human rights activist she’s a four-time winner of the Amnesty International Canada media award; she holds ten honorary degrees and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Armstrong was the first journalist to bring the story of the women of Afghanistan to the world and is relentless when it comes to exposing the abuse of women whether on an American university campus or a village in a war zone.
Michele Landsberg, author of Writing the Revolution describes her this way: “Striding into Taliban-held Afghanistan with a chador over her six-foot frame, playing high-fives with a traumatized child rape survivor in the Congolese jungle, marching with the defiant grandmothers in Swaziland, she explores the darkest reaches of women’s experience and brings back astonishing news of hope, challenge and change. From Tahrir Square to LA, Armstrong discovers that the sisters are doing it for themselves—and revolutionizing the world.” Michele Landsberg, author of Writing the Revolution

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