“Patriarchy has no gender.” – bell hooks

It’s a word we hear often, especially in feminist circles. It’s been scorned, scoffed, screamed and battled against. But what exactly is the patriarchy, how does it affect us, and how are we going to smash it?

Join authors and ground-breaking voices Salma El Wardany (These Impossible Things), Mona Eltahawy (Headscarves and Hymens: Why The Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution), Tina Beattie (Between Two Rivers) and Zeba Talkhani (My Past is a Foreign Country), as they discuss how they turned experiences of prejudice into hope, and how every written word can be an act of resistance.

Chaired by Poorna Bell.

About The Authors

Shot of Salma El-Wardany

Salma El-Wardany

Writer, poet and BBC radio presenter Salma El-Wardany performs internationally, has given 2 TEDx Talks and partners with organisations and global brands to have the uncomfortable conversations we’ve ignored for so long. Her work revolves around female stories and bringing the often-ignored realities of women into the spotlight. 

Tina Beattie Headshot

Tina Beattie

Tina Beattie left her full-time post as Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in 2020, to concentrate on independent research and writing. In addition to academic monographs published by Routledge, OUP and Continuum, and numerous journal articles and book chapters, she has published two novels –  The Good Priest (2019) and Between Two Rivers (2022). She is interested in the ways in which fictional characters emerge as bearers of complex and conflicted meanings and stories which elude the constraints of academic writing. Between Two Rivers is set in pre-independence Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), and it draws on her many years of living in sub-Saharan Africa. She was born and grew up in Zambia, and has also lived in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Tina moved from Harare to Bristol with her husband Dave and four little children in 1988, and became a mature student at the University of Bristol when her youngest child started school. Dave and she now live on the south coast near Rye.

Reviewing Between Two Rivers, Zimbabwean poet and author Chiedza Musengezi writes that “Beattie explores our humanity in its beauty and brokenness through women’s voices. Fictional voices of the marginalised have been inserted in the recorded history of the country, not to create an alternative history but to add to its rich, multi-faceted texture.”


Zeba Talkhani

About The Journalist

Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is the author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. Her commentaries have appeared in several publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows.

About The Chair

Poorna Bell