Happy International Women’s Day 2021! This year’s theme for IWD2021 is “Choose to Challenge:”
A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.
The following IWD2021 reading list includes books that provide research, deep knowledge, and history that can help foster greater global gender equality.
Follow the UNC Press Blog for a celebration of women’s histories and women historians throughout March.
Speaking of Feminism: Today’s Activists on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Women’s Movement by Rachel F. Seidman
From the Women’s Marches to the MeToo movement, it is clear that feminist activism is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. But how does a new generation of activists understand the work of the movement today? How are their strategies and goals unfolding? What worries feminist leaders most, and what are their hopes for the future? In Speaking of Feminism, Rachel F. Seidman presents insights from twenty-five feminist activists from around the United States, ranging in age from twenty to fifty. Allowing their voices to take center stage through the use of in-depth oral history interviews, Seidman places their narratives in historical context and argues that they help explain how recent new forms of activism developed and flourished so quickly.
Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women’s Movement, 1870–1967
By Joan Marie Johnson
Joan Marie Johnson examines an understudied dimension of women’s history in the United States: how a group of affluent white women from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries advanced the status of all women through acts of philanthropy. This cadre of activists included Phoebe Hearst, the mother of William Randolph Hearst; Grace Dodge, granddaughter of Wall Street “Merchant Prince” William Earle Dodge; and Ava Belmont, who married into the Vanderbilt family fortune. Motivated by their own experiences with sexism, and focusing on women’s need for economic independence, these benefactors sought to expand women’s access to higher education, promote suffrage, and champion reproductive rights, as well as to provide assistance to working-class women.
Indigenous Women Migrants and Violence in the Settler-Capitalist State by Shannon Speed
Indigenous women migrants from Central America and Mexico face harrowing experiences of violence before, during, and after their migration to the United States, like all asylum seekers. But as Shannon Speed argues, the circumstances for Indigenous women are especially devastating, given their disproportionate vulnerability to neoliberal economic and political policies and practices in Latin America and the United States, including policing, detention, and human trafficking.
Celia Sánchez Manduley:
The Life and Legacy of a Cuban Revolutionary
by Tiffany A. Sippial
Celia Sánchez Manduley (1920–1980) is famous for her role in the Cuban revolution. Sippial reveals the scope and depth of Sánchez’s power and influence within the Cuban revolution, as well as her struggles with violence, her political development, and the sacrifices required by her status as a leader and “New Woman.” Using the tools of feminist biography, cultural history, and the politics of memory, Sippial reveals how Sánchez strategically crafted her own legacy within a history still dominated by bearded men in fatigues.
The Women’s Fight
The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation
by Thavolia Glymph
Historians of the Civil War often speak of “wars within a war”–the military fight, wartime struggles on the home front, and the political and moral battle to preserve the Union and end slavery. In this broadly conceived book, Thavolia Glymph provides a comprehensive new history of women’s roles and lives in the Civil War–North and South, white and black, slave and free–showing how women were essentially and fully engaged in all three arenas. Glymph shows how the Civil War exposed as never before the nation’s fault lines, not just along race and class lines but also along the ragged boundaries of gender.