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The Power of Women

While women account for 50% of the population they only occupy around 0.5% of recorded history. When pre-history turned into history, and, as new civilisations expanded, society became more militarised, and the story of “humanity” was often filtered through male perspectives. So the tales of many strong and powerful women became stifled and forgotten.

It’s time to restore the stories of feisty, courageous, and athletic females into the historical narrative. It’s time to reconsider what it means for men and women to be human and to seek to excel. Jane Daoud’s The Power of Women takes an important step toward that goal.

ISBN 9781922332196 (PB, 76pp);
140mm x 216mm
AUD $25 USD $18 NZD $28 GBP £12 EUR €14
ISBN 9781922332202 (eBook) AUD $13 USD $9 NZD $15 GBP £6 EUR €7


Jane Daoud gives voice to the power of women through reflections on what is possible, what has been achieved and what has not been seen with eyes wide shut. Stories of gladiatrices, dagger wielders, weightlifters, pirates, bikini girls, and jockeys tease the senses and makes one think about what is assumed, unobserved and lost to the true telling of his story and her story. Women know that women have power. It’s not a secret that they have kept to themselves. Ever. Jane allows anyone, everyone, all of us, to see and think differently, to peer into, and then appreciate, what is actually in plain sight: women and their power, casually but rightfully worn.
– Margot Foster AM LLB OLY

If there is little good poetry on sport, there’s even less on women’s place in the history of physical endeavour. The Power of Women splendidly redresses some of the imbalance, introducing us to some of the most fearless and fearsome women who have ever put their strength to the test. With poems spanning ancient history to the modern Olympics, via a touch of piracy, this collection will convince you that women have paved the way to excellence in many and diverse fields, including taking up arms when necessary. It delivers a whole new understanding to the concept of going to the gym.
– Laurice Gilbert, Past-President, New Zealand Poetry Society

Jane Daoud

After watching female powerlifters training, Jane became curious about gladiatrices and ancient female athletes. Many stories of course have been omitted from history, and others distorted, i.e. women were the pre-show entertainment! Outraged, Jane decided to write poems about these women from a clearer perspective.

Jane enjoys skiing and playing tennis, and wishes she was still as fit as she once was! She is an Australian-based New Zealander and this is her first collection of poetry. She has previously enjoyed using storytelling in a therapeutic setting, and with those nearing the end of life. She now hopes to spend more time writing for the screen, as well as short stories and poetry.


A walk around The Powerhouse

Strong. Stronger. Strongest. a small sign shouts
as Arnold Schwarzenegger bursts out of his suit.
They’re motivational, she says
with candour and shining eyes.
I don’t feel motivated. I just feel scared and breathless.

220 kg zone
230 kg zone
Stop. You have to earn the right,
to be lifting at this end.

Red tape holds foam on the bar
where her neck will never rest;
it’s just to preserve the skin.

An exit sign flickers unnoticed,
her loyal dog watches with caution.

Weights sing as they fall and
sometimes applaud as they land.

Someone is resting spread-eagled
lying still, gazing upwards
Comfortable there? she queries.

We do not rise to the level of
our expectations, we fall to the
level of our training, a sign claims.

I leave thinking about my lack of effort
and walk down the mottled street
dark and light dancing haphazardly
to where five people still go to church.
It is a metaphysical church
where rising and falling aren’t based on effort.

We’re given a rose for Rose Sunday.
It looks almost naïve in its tenderness.
I blink, look again. It is brilliant.
As he hands us the wine the Priest says,
May you know the self as One.

A stone indignant

A stone indignant
sits on a doormat
and looks stronger than
everything else
in the chamber room.

A great oval wall
of belligerent
still grey-ness. Scratch the
surface and there is
more wall, and then more.
I will not be moved.

She approaches it
with steely will and
wriggles her fingers
under its amused
dead weight and she lifts.

A tiny stagger
is quickly flattened.
The rock is shelved and
given the finger.

She marches away
not smiling at all.
Because it’s not over,
it’s never over.

The Trophy Room

I step into her trophy room
Great clusters of medals, not just one here or there
Get behind her, yells the ref
She bounces and bellows, pumping the crowd.

Great clusters of medals, not just one here or there
Jangling, applauding as I brush past
She bounces and bellows, pumping the crowd
Lifting her hands to show more, more.

Jangling, applauding as I brush past
Praising, pressuring, pushing her on.
Lifting her hands to show more, more
One last roar before placing her hands on the bar.

Praising, pressuring, pushing her on.
This could be the moment.
One last roar before placing her hands on the bar:
She wants Gold this time.

This could be the moment.
Get behind her yells the ref
She wants Gold this time.
I step into her trophy room.

Unusual distractions

A 200 square metre gladiator site is found buried in Austria.
Inside rests a sculpture of a bare-chested woman in a loincloth, brandishing a scythe-like object.
Historians clamour to confirm long held theories and wild debate begins:
She must have been the pre-show entertainment.
She might have been a slave, ordered to fight.
Her arm is up because she’s cleaning herself and she’s holding an ancient skin scraper.
Academics question each other in a flurry of consternation:
What could possibly motivate her?
Where is her helmet?
She wouldn’t risk losing a boob.
Someone writes a heading: Erotic Impact of Topless Fighting.
She’s topless to entertain the men.
She’s topless because that’s the norm.
She’s topless and fighting because she was an “unusual distraction” from the main act.
An academic in Finland stands her ground:
Helmet down, scythe high. It’s her victory pose.