Tag: female

Badass Female Librarians Delivered Books on Horseback in 1930s

If you are someone who is excited about female empowerment as I am, then you’re going to love this! According to History Daily, during the Great Depression, unemployment rates soared, and in turn people endured extreme poverty, so many had little access to books.

At the time, Franklin Roosevelt was trying to resolve the Great Depression, and his Works Progress Administration created The Pack Horse Library Initiative to improve American literacy and therefore chances of employment. The librarians were mostly women who lived in the counties they served. Public schools in the local areas contributed books, magazines, newspapers and any other reading materials available.

The ‘bookwomen’ were paid $28 a month and were responsible for their own food and supplies, and horse. These librarians travelled over mountains to isolated homes—through blizzards and mud to make sure everyone had a book in their hands. The women would ride as far as 120 miles, and at times if the locations were close by, they would walk with their horses, holding on to their reins. In 1943, the program ended because employment increased massively during World War II, and nearly one thousand pack horse librarians had served 1.5 million people in forty-eight Kentucky counties!


Check out the photos below!


image via historydaily.org


image via historydaily.org


Image via historydaily.org


Image via historydaily.org


Image via historydaily.org


Image via historydaily.org


See more amazing photos of these heroic librarians on History Daily!


Featured image via atlasobscura.com
The Odyssey

The First Translation Of ‘The Odyssey’ by a Woman Tells Quite a Different Story

Most scholars believe that The Odyssey was written near the end of the 8th century, though it wasn’t translated into English until the early 1600’s. It’s only taken sixty translations into English and another four hundred years for it to finally be translated by a woman.


Emily Wilson, a professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, is that woman. The Odyssey has long been of interest to her. She first heard the story when she took on the role of Athena in a school play adapted from the story. When she was in high school, she started studying Greek and was able to read classical texts firsthand. Translating The Odyssey was a passion project for her long before she realized that she was the first woman to do so. In an interview with Bustle, she explained, “I wanted to do a translation that was going to have its own kind of music and have a regular meter, which most of the current translations don’t have.”


Emily Wilson

Image Via The Philadelphia Inquirer


Of course, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t take her role as the first woman to translate the text seriously. While The Odyssey primarily follows Odysseus, the story is full of female characters including goddesses, witches, princesses, slave girls, and even Odysseus’s own wife. According to Wilson, they don’t always put up with men’s double-standards. The goddess Calypso, for example, gets in trouble for keeping Odysseus as a lover, but Zeus gets away with this all the time, so Calypso calls him out on it. “I love that the poem is able to at least have that moment where a female character is totally powerful and totally able to say, ‘There’s a problem here, with how we’re doing this,'” Wilson said.


The Odyssey

Image Via The Washington Post


Still, while some of the most powerful goddesses and monsters in the epic are female, Wilson did not shy away from including the inherent sexism from the original. Take, for instance, when Odysseus returns home and orders all the slave women who had sex with his wife’s suitors be killed. These women don’t personally pose a threat to Odysseus, but rather than let them live and unwittingly remind him of how he almost lost his wife and his kingdom, he wants them dead.


Wilson believes that as a female translator, she is more uncomfortable with the text than previous translators, but she appreciates this fact and hopes that readers will be equally uncomfortable with the inequalities presented in the book. According to Vox, she wanted to make these aspects of the story more visible instead of glossing over them. Ultimately, her translation is meant to be a reflection of how far we’ve progressed in the centuries since the original was written down, but also a reflection of how much things have stayed the same.


Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey is available now, and you can find it on Amazon here.


Feature Image Via Viva Berlin

Books written by female authors

Study Finds Books Written By Women Cost 45% Less Than Books Written By Men

A study of over two million books done by Queens College-CUNY recently found that books written by female authors were generally priced 45% lower than books written by male authors. 


The study found that book prices tend to de-escalate as genres became more female (books that are typically considered more ‘female’ tend to either fall into the ‘romance’ category or tend to be female-driven stories primarily involving women. I wish I was making this up.).


Statistically, female authors do tend to dominate the romance field while male authors dominate the science field. So, discounting these genres and just looking at the books by male and female authors in the same genre, the study found that women are still earning about 9% less than men.


And, when discounting big publishing houses and just looking at independent publishers and self-published books, the study found that, although equality is definitely more prevalent, women are still earning 7% less than men. Even when pricing their own works, female authors have been conditioned to believe they should be pricing their books lower than the works of men. 


This inequality in the book world isn’t just prevalent when it comes to pricing: this 2015 article on Jezebel shows how one woman needed to use a male-pseudonym in order to get her manuscript noticed by literary agents.


Image via Hooded Utilitarian

Image via Hooded Utilitarian


This isn’t a new technique, though. Female authors have historically been publishing their works under male names since the beginning of time. The Brontë sisters published their works under Currer Bell, Acton Bell, and Ellis Bell after being told “literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life” by poet Robert Southey. Louisa May Alcott went by A.M. Bernard. Nora Roberts went by J.D. Robbs. Joanne Rowling is J.K. Rowling. 



Women having to de-feminize their own names in order to be taken seriously within the literary community sounds like insanity. Still, it really doesn’t come as much of a shock.


I, personally, have never read a book written by a female author and thought, “hmmmm, her work is just too womanly for my taste.” Still, I know that I’m definitely someone who tends to veer away from books considered romantic or chick-lit (why does that term still exist?), steering clear of books with bright pink covers and more feminine fonts and, instead heading straight for the books I, for some reason, consider more serious and respectable.


And, if I want things to change and equality to rise, I’m going to have to look at my own faults and flaws first. So, I’m going to take a vow to recognize my own discriminations and cut them at the roots. I’ll step out of my comfort zone and not be so quick to deem any authors work less serious than another’s.


I hope you will, too.






Feautred Image Via Skinny Dip

the handmaids tale

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Gets a Premiere Date

The Handmaid’s Tale, a Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic, has dominated television this past year. Everyone, critics and fans alike, have been talking about the show’s profound impact on the discussions of gender and reproductive rights as well as issues of gender inequality. The adaptation has also encouraged many readers and non-readers to turn towards Atwood’s source material and rediscover her haunting portrayals of gender issues which bare uncanny similarities to the modern issues we’re currently experiencing.


We simply cannot get enough of the gripping tale and are thrilled to announce that Hulu has confirmed that season two will premiere in April 2018.


handmaids tale

Image Via Hulu


While the spring premiere isn’t exactly shocking given that the first season premiered last April, we are happy that we don’t have to wait too long to see what the next chapter holds. Hulu offered fans some insight into season two, providing an official synopsis highlighting the key plot points to watch out for.


The synopsis reads:


The Emmy-winning drama series returns with a second season shaped by Offred’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. ‘Gilead is within you’ is a favorite saying of Aunt Lydia. In Season Two, Offred and all our characters will fight against – or succumb to – this dark truth.


While many of us may have already assumed that the second season would explore Offred’s pregnancy, this preview hints at the unforeseen issues we can’t even begin to fathom.


Actress Elisabeth Moss recently told fans to “give up” trying to predict season two. “I read the outline and got full body chills. Give up trying to guess what happens,” Moss said. 


Well, by her reaction I’m sure many fans can look forward to the unexpected drama that awaits us this spring!


Featured image courtesy of ‘MGM’