It sometimes seems that women have been fighting for their rights since the beginning of time. Historically, the fight for women’s rights began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York City, where Elizabeth Cady Stanton gathered an audience of 300 women and men to discuss the importance of women’s rights. We see now that Stanton’s narrative of women’s rights was extremely white-washed, segregated, and classist. Not to mention that it most certainly didn’t include gay or transgendered women. However, her work was the beginning of a revolution for women’s equality everywhere. Women’s Equality Day is held on August 26th to celebrate the passing of the nineteenth amendment in the United States Consitution, which prohibits states and governments from denying individuals the right to vote based on sex. To commemorate this historic day in history, take a look at some of our recommendations from all over the world that celebrate the fight for women’s rights.
It was just after midday when the Taliban shot a fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai. If she survived, nothing would ever be the same. I Am Malala tells the life story of the famed Pakistani teen who was attacked and displaced by the Taliban because of her commitment to fighting for women’s education. She shares loving memories of her town before the terrorist attacks, stories leading up to the darkest day of her life, and reasons for why continues to fight for women every day. At just sixteen, Malala became a global icon and the youngest nominee for the Nobel Pease Prize. You most certainly can’t miss out on reading her story.
On Reproductive Rights
Gloria Steinem is one of the most controversial figures of the women’s rights movement. From being a spokesperson during America’s second wave of feminism in the 1970s to speaking out against former President Trump’s atrocious anti-transgender healthcare policies, Steinheim has taught us that women’s equality means equality for all. My Life on the Road documents Steinem’s growth from childhood in rural Ohio to her worldwide travels as an adult that broadened her mind. She is open about receiving an illegal abortion when she was just twenty-two, and she is credited for bringing female genital mutilation awareness to the United States. If you haven’t heard the name Gloria Steinem, it’s high time that you began your research into one of the most iconic feminists of the twenty-first century.
On Being Displaced
Clemantine Wamariya spent six years as a refugee following the Rwandan genocide. The Girl Who Smiled Beads tells the story of Clemantine as she grows up during a civil war and finds herself displaced in a world of luxury and privilege. While both her and her sister, Claire, end up as refugees in the United States, they find themselves in two very different worlds, both haunted by the same path. Clemantine’s story is one of fight and inspiration and teaches readers that despite your past, you can succeed well beyond your wildest dreams.
On Generational Women
New York Times reporter Karoline Kan wouldn’t be here if her mother followed China’s One-Child Policy. Under Red Skies tells the story of three women—Kan’s grandmother, mother, and herself— beginning in Beijing during the Great Famine and ending in current-day America. Through each woman, readers learn lessons about themselves and the world around them. And though times will always change, Kan learns that its our roots and our past that help us look ahead to the future.
This last book is crowd favorite not only because of its author, but because of its story : Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Michelle not only tells the story of like on the road during her husband’s presidential campaign but also the stories in and around that crazy year of 2008 that changed her life forever. She talks of her roots, the butterfly effect occurrences that led her to jobs and to meeting Barack, and even the crazy sacrifices she made as a former First Lady. She speaks of secret moments in the White House, and she candidly points out the racism her family received as the first black First Family. Most importantly though, Michelle notes the times in which she was told to hold back to not outshine her husband or come across too aggressive. But it is the culmination of all these moments—the scary, the intimidating, and the magical— that helped Michelle become who she is today.
Want to read more about badass women but not a non-fiction person? Click here to read about the importance of feminism (in all of its forms) in fiction novels.
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