The Authority Gap


A Guardian ‘best politics book of the year’
A Times ‘best philosophy and ideas book of the year’
A Waterstones ‘best political book of the year’
Highly Commended, Business Book Awards 2022

Learn more about what people think of The Authority Gap.

“Mary Ann Sieghart’s The Authority Gap, a study of why women still struggle to be taken seriously in professional life, goes some way to explaining why the default template for leaders is an Oxbridge-educated white man. Crackling with controlled anger, it features some eye-popping stories and a stellar cast of interviewees, from presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to the novelist Bernardine Evaristo. Buy it for any woman ever talked over in a meeting, or patronised by a man who knows less than them.”

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Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian

"Eye opening and gloriously galvanising … Impassioned, meticulously argued and optimistic ... Send to all the men you know."

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"In her extensive research and command of the evidence, Mary Ann Sieghart delivers nothing less than a modern map of the way we live, think and interact - and how we can do so much better. A must-read by one of the most important public intellectuals at work today."

Matthew d'Ancona

"You have to read this book. Honestly, you really do. Because if you don't, you won't know what life is really like. Whether you are a man or a woman, you are going to see your life as a parent, a partner, a colleague quite differently."

Daniel Finkelstein

"Just in case anyone still thinks the patriarchy is a figment of feminist imagination, this book will prove otherwise. Everyone needs to read The Authority Gap, because in order to change our culture, we need to fully recognise the problem."

Bernardine Evaristo

"At one arresting moment in this punchy and incisive book Mary Ann Sieghart thanks her male readers. 'You are unusual in picking up a book written by a woman,' she says, 'and even more unusual in being prepared to read a book primarily about women.' I hope she is wrong. I was paid to read this book, so I hardly deserve Sieghart’s thanks. But I would warmly recommend it to men."

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James McConnachie, The Sunday Times

“The Authority Gap is an impassioned, meticulously argued and optimistic call to arms for anyone who cares about creating a fairer society. Now we just have to get men to read it.”

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Stephanie Merritt, The Observer

"Mary Ann Sieghart combines an absorbing review of the evidence on the systematic undervaluing of women with some powerful new insights. Whether you know a little or a lot about sexism and misogyny, there is much to learn from this book, including some very practical tips on creating change that you can implement the minute after you turn the last page. "

Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister

"Deeply researched, profoundly thoughtful and a book very much for the here and now: Mary Ann Sieghart's The Authority Gap is the book she was probably born to write. It is both a warning tract for bombastic, dismissive men, and a cheerful manual for all ambitious women."

Andrew Marr

"At last here is a credible roadmap that is capable of taking women from the margins to the centre by bridging the authority gap that holds back even the best and most talented of women. Read this and weep at what we are wasting. Read this and believe we can fly on two wings and soon."

Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland

"Here is a brilliant manifesto explaining why women are still so underestimated and overlooked in today’s world, but how we can also be hopeful for change."

Philippa Perry

"Fascinating, powerful - the subject is very close to my heart."

Elif Shafak

“Well-written and illuminating… The book has some excellent comebacks, statistics and arguments for the rest of us to use against the office sexists, or to understand better the gap that harms even very successful women.”

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FT Business Books

"A thorough and sometimes enraging book shows how women are stripped of authority, why that’s bad news for everyone and what we can all do about it."

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Nesrine Malik, The Guardian

"All men stand to benefit from this book, by becoming more self-aware. But it is also a great guide to how to work and live together more productively, by understanding our fellow human-beings better, be they female or male, colleagues, friends or family."

Bill Emmott, former Editor of The Economist

"A passionate new book reveals how, even today, women are belittled and patronised - and some of the world’s most successful reveal how they beat men at their own game."

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Mark Mason, Daily Mail

"Sieghart writes with empathy, clarity and passion ... The book is enormously authoritative, knitting together academic studies with interviews of leading public figures."

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Frieda Klotz, Irish Independent

"Sieghart, a former Times columnist and senior editor, demonstrates through meticulous use of the research data that these manly sins are disproportionately likely to be directed by men against women, and that their cumulative effect can sometimes be enormous."

Louise Perry, The Times


Why women are still taken less seriously than men, and what we can do about it

Imagine living in a world in which you were routinely patronised by women.

Imagine having your views ignored or your expertise frequently challenged by them.

Imagine trying to speak up in a meeting, only to be talked over by female colleagues.

Imagine subordinates resisting you as a boss, merely because you’re a man.

Imagine being trolled by women on social media for daring to express an opinion.

Imagine people always addressing the woman you are with before you.

Now imagine a world in which the reverse of this is true.

The Authority Gap provides a startling perspective on the unseen bias at work in our everyday lives, to reveal the scale of the gap that still persists between men and women. Marshalling a wealth of data with precision and insight, and including interviews with pioneering women such as Baroness Hale, Mary Beard and Bernadine Evaristo, this is a fresh feminist take on how to address and counteract systemic sexism in ways that benefit us all.

This book will make you angry; it will make you shake your head in in disbelief. But it will also inspire you, because it contains the key to addressing these problems, mapping out the measures we can take, as individuals and society, both to counteract them and to see them for what they are – an irrational but tenacious product of our social conditioning.

About the author

Journalist, author, public speaker, consultant, non-executive director, broadcaster

Mary Ann Sieghart is author of the best-selling book, The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About it. She spent 20 years as Assistant Editor and columnist at The Times and won a large following for her columns on politics, economics, feminism, parenthood and life in general. She has presented many programmes on BBC Radio 4, such as Start the Week, Profile, Analysis, Fallout and One to One. She chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and recently spent a year as a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She has chaired the Social Market Foundation think tank, is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, and sits on numerous boards. She was Chair of the judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.

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Mary Ann Sieghart