Reads for International Women’s Day

intl womens day

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), observed each year on March 8 to raise awareness about issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence & abuse against women. For 2024, the theme for IWD is “Inspire Inclusion.” With that in mind, here are some new & notable titles about these topics that you can check out using your Livingston Library card. (Descriptions provided by the publishers.) The Doctor Was a Woman: Stories of the First Female Physicians on the Frontier by Chris Enss The long-awaited follow up title to Chris Enss’s bestselling Doctor Wore Petticoats profiles 10 new female physicians of the Old West, published in time for Women’s History Month. Given the media coverage during the 2020 pandemic, the celebration of the heroics of health care workers and women’s work are trending subjects. How to Be a Renaissance Woman: The Untold History of Beauty & Female Creativity by Jill Burke Plunge into the intimate history of cosmetics, and discover how, for centuries, women have turned to make-up as a rich source of creativity, community and resistance. The Renaissance was an era obsessed with appearances. And beauty culture from the time has left traces that give us a window into an overlooked realm of history – revealing everything from 16th-century women’s body anxieties to their sophisticated botanical and chemical knowledge. ‘How to be a Renaissance Woman’ allows us to glimpse the world of the female artists, artisans and businesswomen carving out space for themselves, as well as those who gained power and influence in the cut-throat world of the court. In a vivid exploration women’s lives, Professor Jill Burke invites us to rediscover historical cosmetic recipes and unpack the origins of the beauty ideals that are still with us today. Policing Pregnant Bodies: From Ancient Greece to Post-Roe America by Kathleen Crowther Historian Kathleen M. Crowther discusses the deeply rooted medical and philosophical ideas that continue to reverberate in the politics of women’s health and reproductive autonomy. From the idea that a detectable heartbeat is a sign of moral personhood to why infant and maternal mortality rates in the United States have risen as abortion restrictions have gained strength, this is a historically informed discussion of the politics of women’s reproductive rights. Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation by Tiya Miles A National Book Award-winning, New York Times best-selling historian shows how girls who found self-understanding in the natural world became women who changed America. Harriet Tubman, forced to labor outdoors on a Maryland plantation, learned a terrain for escape. Louisa May Alcott ran wild, eluding gendered expectations in New England. The Indigenous women’s basketball team from Fort Shaw, Montana, recaptured a sense of pride in physical prowess as they trounced the white teams of the 1904 World’s Fair. Celebrating women like these who acted on their confidence outdoors, Wild Girls also brings new context to misunderstood icons like Sakakawea and Pocahontas, and to under-appreciated figures like Gertrude Bonin, Dolores Huerta and Grace Lee Boggs. For the girls at the centre of this book, woods, rivers, ball courts and streets provided not just escape from degrees of servitude but also space to envision new spheres of action. Lyrically written and full of archival discoveries, this book evokes landscapes as richly as the girls who roamed in them-and argues for equal access to outdoor spaces for girls of every race and class today. Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates by Katie Barnes A richly reported and provocative look at the history of women’s sports and the controversy surrounding trans athletes by a leading LGBTQ+ sports journalist. For decades women have been playing competitive sports thanks in large part to the protective cover of Title IX. Since passage of that law, the number of women participating in sports and the level of competition in high school, college, and professionally, has risen dramatically. In Fair Play, award-winning journalist Katie Barnes traces the evolution of women’s sports as a pastime and a political arena, where equality and fairness have been fought over for generations. As attitudes toward gender have shifted to embrace more fluidity in recent decades, sex continues to be viewed as a static binary that is easily determined: male or female. It is on that very idea of static sex that we have built an entire sporting apparatus. Now that foundation is crumbling as a result of intense culture wars. Whether we are talking about bathrooms, gender affirming care for trans youth, or sports, the debate about who gets to decide gender is being litigated every day in every community. Many transgender and intersex athletes, from a South African runner, to a New Zealand power lifter, to a wrestler in Texas, to Connecticut track stars, have captured the attention of law and policy makers who want to decide how and when they compete. Women’s sports, since their inception, have been seen as a separate class of competition that requires protection and rules for entry. But what are those rules and who gets to make them? Fair Play looks at all sides of the issue and presents a reasoned and much-needed solution that seeks to preserve opportunities for all going forward. Blackbirds Singing: Inspiring Black Women’s Speeches from the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century by Janet Dewart Bell An uplifting collection of speeches by African American women, curated by civil and human rights activist, scholar, and author Janet Dewart Bell. These magnificent speakers explore ethics, morality, courage, authenticity, and leadership, and Bell’s substantive introductions provide rich new context for each woman’s speech, highlighting Black women speaking truth to power in service of freedom and justice. But Will You Love Me Tomorrow?: An Oral History of the ‘60s Girl Groups compiled by Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz The Girl Group Sound, made famous and unforgettable by acts like The Ronettes, The Shirelles, The Supremes, and The Vandellas, took over the airwaves by capturing the mix of innocence and rebellion emblematic of America in in the 1960s.