11 Mar Books to Challenge Your Thinking for International Women’s Day
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. We have selected three new books which celebrate and challenge your thinking on women’s history and pursuit for equality in the last 100 years.
Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders: The Pioneering Adventures of the First Professional Women by Jane Robinson
It is a myth that the First World War liberated women. The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 was one of the most significant pieces of legislation in modern Britain. It should have marked a social revolution, opening the doors of the traditional professions to women who had worked so hard during the War, and welcoming them inside as equals.
Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders focuses on the lives of pioneering women forging careers in the fields of medicine, law, academia, architecture, engineering and the church. In her startling study into the public and private worlds of these unsung heroines, Jane Robinson sheds light on their desires and ambitions, and how family and society responded to this emerging class of working women.
Their shared vision, sacrifice and spirited perseverance began a process we have yet to finish. Their experiences raise live questions about equal opportunity, the gender pay gap, the work/life balance – and whether it is possible for women to have it all.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez (Waterstones Non-Fiction for March 2020)
Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.
Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado-Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.
Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis
Well-behaved women don’t make history: difficult women do. Helen Lewis argues that feminism’s success is down to complicated, contradictory, imperfect women, who fought each other as well as fighting for equal rights. Too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in our modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines.
It’s time to reclaim the history of feminism as a history of difficult women. In this book, you’ll meet the working-class suffragettes; the pioneer of the refuge movement who became a men’s rights activist; the ‘striker in a sari’ who terrified Margaret Thatcher; and the lesbian politician who outraged the country.
Taking the story up to the present with the twenty-first-century campaign for abortion services, Helen Lewis reveals the unvarnished – and unfinished – history of women’s rights. Drawing on archival research and interviews, Difficult Women is a funny, fearless and sometimes shocking narrative history, which shows why the feminist movement has succeeded – and what it should do next. The battle is difficult, and we must be difficult too.