Women speak up louder and stronger with every passing day, even though it can be hard to make the world listen. Women’s History Month is a time for recognizing the milestones reached on the road to equality and the pioneering women who have made progress possible. Five outstanding new titles focus on the female experience from a variety of viewpoints.
An inspiring tribute to 100 sensational women, Julia Pierpont’s The Little Book of Feminist Saints celebrates trailblazing figures from the past and present. This who’s who of winning women spotlights educators and athletes, artists and activists. Luminaries include Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo, Gloria Steinem, Sandra Day O’Connor, Billie Jean King and Oprah Winfrey. Small but jam-packed, the volume contains facts and anecdotes about each woman, along with memorable quotes and plenty of feminist trivia. Taking her cue from Catholic saint-of-the-day books, Pierpont gives each woman in her book “matron saint” status and a special feast day. (Nina Simone, for instance, is the “Matron Saint of Soul.”) In luminous, full-color portraits, artist Manjit Thapp captures the essence and individuality of her subjects. Small enough to tuck into a bag, this delightful book offers instant inspiration.
PROGRESS AT THE POLLS
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment—a history-making move by the state legislature that enabled women to vote in elections across the nation. In her absorbing new book, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, bestselling author Elaine Weiss retraces the road to victory traveled by female reformers such as Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. Weiss does a wonderful job of laying out the background of the American women’s suffrage movement, which began to take shape in the 1840s, providing a setup for the tension-filled debates and protests in Nashville that culminated in the August vote. Weiss brings the struggle for women’s suffrage to life through vivid portrayals of the suffragists and the “Antis” who challenged them, including Tennessee native Josephine Pearson. A lively slice of history filled with political drama, Weiss’ book captures a watershed moment for American women.
JOIN THE SISTERHOOD
The internet may make connecting with others easier than ever before, but there’s no substitute for old-fashioned, face-to-face friendship. In I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women’s Lives, F. Diane Barth, a prominent psychotherapist, explores the particular challenges and rewards women face when forging friendships. Barth interviewed a wide range of women on the topic of friendship, and she includes their heartfelt testimonies in the book. She also provides advice on negotiating the thorny territory that often comes with connection, offering suggestions on what to do when a friend drops you, as well as guidance on relationships with women who are competitive or controlling. Each chapter concludes with a “What You Can Do” segment that has proactive steps on how to combat loneliness, reach out to others and find the unique fulfillment that comes with friendship. A compelling look at the ways in which women bond, Barth’s book is eye-opening and essential reading for anyone trying to build—or maintain—a strong social circle.
Beverly Bond established the organization BLACK GIRLS ROCK! in 2006 in order to support and promote the accomplishments of black women. Over the years, the organization has evolved into a movement, with an annual awards show, youth enrichment activities and now a book edited by Bond, Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth., an inspiring salute to outstanding black women who are leading the way in politics, education and entertainment. This coffee table-worthy book spotlights fierce figures like Misty Copeland, Maxine Waters, Joy Reid, Lupita Amondi Nyong’o, Erykah Badu and Serena Williams, each of whom contribute thoughtful essays on their experiences as black women. Divided into nine sections that highlight a particular facet of “Black Girl Magic,” the volume is filled with gorgeous new and archival photographs. “The women in this book showcase the beautiful complexity, depth of diversity, rich cultural traditions, and bountiful contributions of Black women,” Bond writes. “They remind us of our collective magic.” Rock on!
EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Former USA Today editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman delivers a fascinating overview of today’s working environment in That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together. In this important, accessible book, Lipman examines on-the-job dynamics between genders, addressing topics such as unconscious bias, communication and salary disparity. She also shares stories about her own professional evolution and investigates efforts by companies such as Google to create an equitable workplace. Women, Lipman says, “are attempting to fit into a professional world that was created in the image of men.” Drawing upon statistics from studies about women in the workplace, she explores the unique obstacles that female professionals face. (Case in point: According to one survey, women are 15 percent less likely to get promoted than men.) Perhaps most importantly, Lipman looks at the ways in which small businesses and large corporations alike can bridge the gender gap. Her book is a must-read for the career-minded reader—male or female.
This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.