Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet.

Women in Proverbs from Around the World


In cultures all over the globe, sex and gender issues have been expressed in proverbs, the world's smallest literary genre. This irresistible book provides revealing insights into the female condition across centuries and continents. Mineke Schipper discovered surprisingly more similarities than differences in thousands of proverbs about women, originating from hundreds of languages and more than 150 countries. Those vivid and earthy proverbs reflect women's phases of life: from girl to bride, to wife or co-wife; from mother to mother-in-law, widow and grandmother; the joys and sorrows of love, sex, and childbearing; women's work, their talents, and their power.

The bewildering views of men and women in this intriguing cross-cultural history of humanity have to do with all of us. Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet is a stunning and entertaining rough guide showing us how far both sexes have progressed on the road towards world citizenship where, in the words of a Tibetan proverb, 'A hundred male and a hundred female qualities make a perfect human being.'


'Fascinating. An engrossing book.' Times Literary Supplement

'Schipper's prose is light, fast-paced and witty, and her analysis of what

lies behind the proverbs is completely gripping.' Daily Telegraph


‘Recently, Mineke Schipper, a novelist and critic, has leapt to the forefront of proverb scholarship. … Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet  is a lively and sharply pointed book that combines her immense knowledge of proverbs with her interest in the status of women. A talented as well as industrious scholar, she writes with poise and intelligence about a subject she obviously knows well. Lexis Nexis


'An extremely interesting book. A fine contribution to the cosmopolitan

conversation that ought to come about with globalization.'

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University

Mineke Schipper © 2018