Waring, Marilyn. 1 WAY 2 C THE WORLD: writings 1984-2006. 2009. University of Toronto Press. Canada.

Marilyn Waring's Book Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Photo © Theresa Wolfwood.

Waring is a brilliant woman, what some might call a renaissance woman. She earned a PhD at the age of 22; then she became a Member of Parliament in her native New Zealand at 24 years. She could be described as a politician, a scholar, a peace, environmental, feminist, human rights activist and a goat farmer. She spoke recently in Victoria and I was delighted to hear her witty and wise speech which I dubbed to myself as, ´Commonsense about the Commons.´ Much of her wisdom comes from her intense commitment to her principles and her dedicated work on important issues.

In this collection she looks back on her years of involvement through a series of short articles and essays that she wrote for various publications while she wrote and published her previous books, she covers issues of importance not only in New Zealand, but of importance everywhere. Here is the link to the podcast of her talk:


She has reclaimed the real meaning of work and economics; in her earlier work If Women Counted, she gives recognition and value to the unpaid work of women. She says that if it was included in traditional economic calculations, the importance of women´s work would have to be recognized. She says, “well–being is not an economic term.” She works to promote a broader, more human way of calculating human welfare; she is a Founding Board Member of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, which seeks to provide a holistic way to measure and improve quality of life [see www.ciw.ca]. She and her ideas are the subjects of a Canadian National Film Board film: http://www.nfb.ca/film/whos_counting

Her observations on Canada are interesting; she applauds us for various policies and attitudes from our more advanced than NZ laws on same sex relationships and our recognition of Cuba.

She is also grounded in the land and life around her. I was moved by her description of the saving of the Black Robin and her account of a journey through caves with Maori friends.

She has an amazing all–encompassing knowledge and dedication to the world around her; New Zealand should call her a national treasure.

Filed under Book Reviews, Marilyn Waring