Back to Africa Check

Golding quote mixed up with words by 21st century writer

A meme shared on Facebook in South Africa attributes some snide sexism to the late British author William Golding.

Headed “William Golding, British Novelist, Playwright & Poet”, it reads: “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!”

Best known for his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, which tells of a group of schoolboys marooned on an island, Sir William Gerald Golding (1911 to 1993) was a Nobel Prize-winning writer.

While the first two sentences in the quote can be attributed to Golding, the rest were written by a more recent author.

Golding explained why his book featured boys

The two sentences can be found in an audio recording of Golding’s introduction to Lord of the Flies, posted on YouTube. In it, he explains why the book featured boys, not girls.

At the 1:48 minute mark, Golding can be heard saying: “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been.” He then continues to talk about the book. He does not say the rest of the quote, starting with “Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.”

Most of quote by Erick Gray

The UK website William Golding says the rest of the quote is not by Golding. “It is important to note that on occasion, lines from Erick S Gray are added to this quotation, and wrongly attributed to Golding.”

An article in the Literary Review of Canada, You Too: Selling men on gender equality, also says the rest of the quote is by Gray, a New York-based author of books such as Around the Way Girls 5 and Booty Call *69. Gray published his first novel in 2003, 10 years after Golding’s death. – Taryn Willows


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.