Women’s History Month 2021: These are the Books You Should be Reading
The Collective Rising |
An essential aspect of The Collective Rising’s mission is to increase the representation and visibility of women, globally. To start off Women’s History Month on a high note, we have taken the time to highlight a few books by and about women who have pushed boundaries, affected change, redefined roles, and helped us to define and understand what it means to be an influential and powerful woman.
Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women’s Vote
By: Dawn Langan Teele
In the 1880s, women were barred from voting in all national-level elections, but by 1920 they were going to the polls in nearly thirty countries. What caused this massive change? Why did male politicians agree to extend voting rights to women? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was not because of progressive ideas about women or suffragists’ pluck. In most countries, elected politicians fiercely resisted enfranchising women, preferring to extend such rights only when it seemed electorally prudent and in fact necessary to do so. Through a careful examination of the tumultuous path to women’s political inclusion in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, Forging the Franchise demonstrates that the formation of a broad movement across social divides, and strategic alliances with political parties in competitive electoral conditions, provided the leverage that ultimately transformed women into voters.
Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility among India’s Professional Elite
By: Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen
In India, elite law firms offer a surprising oasis for women within a hostile, predominantly male industry. Less than 10 percent of the country’s lawyers are female, but women in the most prestigious firms are significantly represented both at entry and partnership. Elite workspaces are notorious for being unfriendly to new actors, so what allows for aberration in certain workspaces? Drawing from observations and interviews with more than 130 elite professionals, Accidental Feminism examines how a range of underlying mechanisms—gendered socialization and essentialism, family structures and dynamics, and firm and regulatory histories—afford certain professionals egalitarian outcomes that are not available to their local and global peers.
For the Many: American Feminists and the Global Fight for Democratic Equality
By: Dorothy Sue Cobble
For the Many presents an inspiring look at how US women and their global allies pushed the nation and the world toward justice and greater equality for all. Reclaiming social democracy as one of the central threads of American feminism, Dorothy Sue Cobble offers a bold rewriting of twentieth-century feminist history and documents how forces, peoples, and ideas worldwide shaped American politics. Cobble follows egalitarian women’s activism from the explosion of democracy movements before World War I to the establishment of the New Deal, through the upheavals in rights and social citizenship at midcentury, to the reassertion of conservatism and the revival of female-led movements today
Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide
By: Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
When Linda Babcock wanted to know why male graduate students were teaching their own courses while female students were always assigned as assistants, her dean said: “More men ask. The women just don’t ask.” Drawing on psychology, sociology, economics, and organizational behavior as well as dozens of interviews with men and women in different fields and at all stages in their careers, Women Don’t Ask explores how our institutions, child-rearing practices, and implicit assumptions discourage women from asking for the opportunities and resources that they have earned and deserve—perpetuating inequalities that are fundamentally unfair and economically unsound. Women Don’t Ask tells women how to ask, and why they should.
Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics
By: Sylvana Tomaselli
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, first published in 1792, is a work of enduring relevance in women’s rights advocacy. However, as Sylvana Tomaselli shows, a full understanding of Wollstonecraft’s thought is possible only through a more comprehensive appreciation of Wollstonecraft herself, as a philosopher and moralist who deftly tackled major social and political issues and the arguments of such figures as Edmund Burke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Adam Smith. Reading Wollstonecraft through the lens of the politics and culture of her own time, this book restores her to her rightful place as a major eighteenth-century thinker, reminding us why her work still resonates today.
We Are Not Born Submissive: How Patriarchy Shapes Women’s Lives
By: Manon Garcia
What role do women play in the perpetuation of patriarchy? On the one hand, popular media urges women to be independent, outspoken, and career-minded. Yet, this same media glorifies a specific, sometimes voluntary, female submissiveness as a source of satisfaction. In philosophy, even less has been said on why women submit to men and the discussion has been equally contradictory—submission has traditionally been considered a vice or pathology, but female submission has been valorized as innate to women’s nature. Is there a way to explore female submission in all of its complexity—not denying its appeal in certain instances, and not buying into an anti-feminist, sexist, or misogynistic perspective? We Are Not Born Submissive offers the first in-depth philosophical exploration of female submission, focusing on the thinking of Simone de Beauvoir, and more recent work in feminist philosophy, epistemology, and political theory.
Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins
By: Artemis Leontis
This book tells the fascinating story of Eva Palmer Sikelianos (1874–1952), an American actor, director, composer, and weaver best known for reviving the Delphic Festivals. Yet, as Artemis Leontis reveals, Palmer’s most spectacular performance was her daily revival of ancient Greek life. For almost half a century, dressed in handmade Greek tunics and sandals, she sought to make modern life freer and more beautiful through a creative engagement with the ancients. A brilliant and gorgeous New York debutante who studied Greek at Bryn Mawr College, Palmer rejected conventional society to live a lesbian life in Paris before moving to Greece, where she married the poet Angelos Sikelianos and began recreating ancient art forms. Drawing on newly discovered letters and featuring previously unpublished photographs, this is a vivid biography of a remarkable nonconformist whom one contemporary described as “the only ancient Greek I ever knew.”