Bateman introduced her book, which is semi-autobiographical in nature and argues that women’s rights and freedoms were a key factor in aiding the development of the West. She said “women’s freedom is the elephant in the room when it comes to explaining how Britain and the West went from being global backwater to being the richest part of the world in the 19th Century through to the present day”.
Bateman admitted that “progress can be stubborn” but “unless women have freedom, economics will hit a wall”. Bateman highlighted that this freedom of women, in particular over their bodies, is pivotal to our prosperity and economic wellbeing.
She said “what economics needs, isn’t the X Factor, but the Sex Factor”.
Bateman, known for her naked protests, said that she has received verbal abuse and criticism for using her body to protest. She likened the experience to how sex workers are treated. She said that it is fundamental that women have control over their own bodies; if they choose sex work, they should not be shamed by others, as long as they can do it in a safe manner.
If you are interested in more like this please also Event 141 at 2.30pm on Monday 27 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.
Picture by Sam Hardwick