National Women's History Month might be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean you don't have time to celebrate, learn about, and give a voice to women across the country. There are so many different ways to celebrate National Women's History Month, but one of the best ways to honor the holiday is to educate yourself about the issues, past and present, with the help of books about women's rights.
Though women's rights have come a long way in the U.S., but there's still so much further to go. Just ask Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who explains in her now famous quote, "[W]hen I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the supreme court]? And I say ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that." In this country over the last century, women have won the right to vote, have been guaranteed equal pay, and have opened the doors to education, but every day is a fight to keep and expand those rights which should be considered basic and essential to all citizens. Despite all of our victories, there is still a serious gender pay gap that needs to be addressed, and a woman's sexual reproduction rights are constantly threatened, both on the state level and a national one.
To ensure we retain our rights and to help inspire us to keep fighting for more, it's important to understand the long and complicated history of women's rights. In honor of National Women's History Month, and in the spirit of nationwide girl power, her are 9 essential books about women's right. Get educated, get empowered, and get equality.
1. Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement by Sarah Erdreich
A comprehensive examination of women's ongoing battle for reproduction rights, both before Roe v. Wade and now, Sarah Erdreich's Generation Roe tackles the issues surrounding abortion, the political and the personal, with a sharp and critical eye. Well researched and highly readable, Generation Roe is the inspiring feminist book every woman needs to read.
2. The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich
Women have been waging a long and tireless battle for fair wages, and in 1970, 46 women at Newsweek decided to take their fight to the courts. The Good Girls Revolt follows some of women at the center of the story, recounting how their cultural and personal experiences led them to take a stand against discrimination, sexism, and a society who didn't want to see them as equals. An in-depth and emotional look at a pivotal moment in the women's rights movement, The Good Girls Revolt will get you off the couch and charging the court steps, demanding equality now.
3. Jailed for Freedom: American Women Win the Vote by Doris Stevens
There are moments in time that change the course of history, and the organization of the National Woman's Party is one of those defining instances. A firsthand account by suffragist Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom includes photos, illustrations, and extensive research to recreate one of the most important movements in American women's history.
4. In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution by Susan Brownmiller
One of the most prolific and important feminists and women's rights activists of the last century, Susan Brownmiller shares her incredible experiences, insights, and unique perspective as only she can in Our Time . A memoir of her own life and the women's rights movement, this book paints a vivid picture of other feminist icons including Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, and Gloria Steinem. An engaging and profound book of observation, Our Time should be required reading for all.
5. Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement by Sally G. McMillen
You know the names, you know the place, but you have never known the details of the Seneca Falls Convention as Sally G. McMillen writes them in her history of the birth of the women's right movement. Seneca Falls helps bring focus to over 50 years of women's history and political activism, illuminating the moment where everything changed and shedding a light on everything that followed.
6. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance — A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire
A powerful and emotional book, At the Dark End of the Street is the Rosa Parks story like you've never seen it before. In her poignant narrative, author Danielle L. McGuire exposes the ugly, tragic truth about the rape and assault of a young black women that led Parks to take the actions that started the 1955 bus boycott and fueled the fires of the civil rights movement. An essential addition to the library of civil rights history books, At the Dark End of the Street will change the way you see black women in the Jim Crow era, and the Montgomery bus riots, and, of course, Rosa Parks.
7. The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women's Rights by Minky Worden
It may be National Women's History Month in the U.S., but there are women all over the globe whose stories need to shared and whose voices demand to be heard. In Minky Worden's anthology, the global struggle for women's rights is explained, in no uncertain terms, as an ongoing battle that, from middle America to the Middle East, we all must be fighting. Covering essential women's rights issues including sexual violence, education, health care, The Unfinished Revolution reminds us that there's still a lot of work left to do before all women can be free.
8. Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win by Anne E. Kornblut
Now that we're in the full-swing of another presidential election, there's no better time to read Anne E. Kornblut's thought-provoking examination of women, politics, and what exactly needs to happen before we can see a female president. Whether you're a Hillary supporter or not, Notes from the Cracked Ceiling is a thoughtful and sharp-witted study featuring prominent women in politics from both sides of the aisle. This is the gender politics book you need to read.
9. Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It by Mariko Lin Chang
Despite all the progress that has been made for women in this country, from securing the right to vote and guaranteeing the opportunity for education, we are still earning significantly less than men across the board. Mariko Lin Chang's Shortchanged takes a hard look at the facts — that single mothers only have 8% of the wealth of single fathers and single women employed full-time have 84% less wealth than men in the same situations — to shine a bright light on the gaping hole that is the gender wage gap. Well researched and insightful, Shortchanged not only exposes the problem, but it also offers up a solution.