Know your Place by Faiza Shaheen
8 June 2023
The chance of Cameron and Johnson going to Oxford and becoming MPs was one in 10,000, whereas it was close to one in 10 million for me - 10 times more unlikely than getting struck by lightning. Why should anyone have to work 1,000 times harder to do the same thing as anyone else? And why would we set society up to work this way?
Dr Faiza Shaheen is a self-confessed stats geek and social mobility success story: from a working class background, she got into Oxford and is now a leading statistician, ceo of CLASS thinktank, and a visiting professor at NYU. But when her mother died after her benefits were cut by austerity measures, she decided to embark on a career in politics. When she lost in the 2019 election to incumbent Iain Duncan Smith, Shaheen decided to reframe her story, and set her own narrative against the statistics she researches.
The result is Know Your Place: how society sets us up to fail - part memoir, part polemic, this is a personal and statistical look at how society is built, the people it leaves behind, and what we can do about it. For readers of Invisible Women and Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, this is a compelling and insightful read which will change the way we think about opportunity in Britain.
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