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Why did the West become so rich? Why is inequality rising? How ‘free’ should markets be? And what does sex have to do with it? In this passionate and skilfully argued book, leading feminist Victoria Bateman shows how we can only understand the burning economic issues of our time if we put sex and gender – ‘the sex factor’ – at the heart of the picture. Spanning the globe and drawing on thousands of years of history, Bateman tells a bold story about how the status and freedom of women are central to our prosperity. Genuine female empowerment requires us not only to recognize the liberating potential of markets and smart government policies but also to challenge the double-standard of many modern feminists when they celebrate the brain while denigrating the body. This iconoclastic book is a devastating exposé of what we have lost from ignoring ‘the sex factor’ and of how reversing this neglect can drive the smart economic policies we need today.