Happy International Women’s Day! In honour of this year’s fantastic theme of #PressforProgress we've got a list of 10 books to read in celebration of women pushing for social, economic, cultural, and political change. You go, boss babes!
As a bonus, we're offering 20% off a special collection of titles today only!
View the collection and use promo code IWD20.
by Lauren McKeon
With #MeToo and #TimesUp in full swing, it’s hard to believe that across North America, women head anti-feminist campaigns, support anti-feminist politicians, back lawsuits to silence victims of campus rape, participate in anti-women harassment movements like Gamergate, and fight to end abortion rights. Where has feminism gone wrong? Through a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the new gender wars, Lauren McKeon explores generational attitudes, debates over inclusiveness, and differing views on the intersection of race, class, and gender — ultimately pushing for a better kind of feminism.
2. POWERED BY LOVE: A GRANDMOTHERS’ MOVEMENT TO END AIDS IN AFRICA
by Joanna Henry with Ilana Landsberg-Lewis
By the time the AIDS pandemic in Africa reached its height in the early 2000s, millions of children had been orphaned. In the face of overwhelming loss, the grandmothers of Africa stepped in to hold families and communities together. Joanna Henry and Alexis MacDonald visited eight African countries, interviewing and photographing hundreds of grandmothers (including Sarah Obama, Barack Obama's grandmother) who are reclaiming hope and resurrecting lives in an extraordinary fight for a better future.
*As part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers Campaign, all royalties from the sale of this book will go to African grandmothers raising children orphaned by AIDS.
3. ANNIE POOTOOGOOK: CUTTING ICE
by Nancy Campbell
When Annie Pootoogook won the Sobey Art Award in 2006, she cracked the glass ceiling for Inuit art, securing its place in contemporary art discourse and establishing herself as an artist of international importance. This beautiful hardcover volume filled with Annie’s arresting pencil crayon compositions accompanies an exhibition organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection under the direction of Nancy Campbell, who also leads the Inuit Art Centre’s first all-Inuit, all-woman team of curators.
4. THE WITCH OF THE INNER WOOD by M. Travis Lane
M. Travis Lane is a master of the long poem. Her poetry is modernist, dense, and highly allusive, drawing adeptly on classical and biblical sources, imbued with a feminist and ecocritical perspective. Her musical lines, vivid metaphors, and phenomenological acumen launch her into the company of such poetic luminaries as Don McKay, Jan Zwicky, and Tim Lilburn. This exquisite collection is an important addition to the canon of feminist literature in North America.
5. THE M WORD by Kerry Clare
This anthology presents women's lives as they really are, showing that in an age of supposed reproductive choice, many women still don't have the luxury of choosing their mothering story or how it will play out. The essays also show that women are not as divided between the mothers and the childless as we might be led to believe. Women with no children endure a similar kind of scrutiny as women who've had many, both operating outside of societal norms. It’s time for motherhood to open its gates to include everyone, not just the picture postcard stories.
6. FOREVER BARBIE by M.G. Lord
Was Barbie was the first feminist doll? She always worked in interesting positions, never married, never had a child, and never did house work. Yet today, many consider her to be an inappropriate role model. Cultural critic, investigative journalist, and first generation Barbie owner M.G. Lord shakes up preconceptions in this witty and provocative book, unearthing Barbie's low origins as a gag gift in post-war Germany, and following her development through countless makeovers and career changes into a pop-culture and feminist icon.
7. ALOHA WANDERWELL
by Christian Fink-Jensen & Randolph Eustace-Walden
We all love Wonder Woman, but have you heard of this Wander Woman? In 1922, a 15-year-old girl, fed up with life in a French convent school, answered an ad for a travelling secretary. Tall, blonde, and swaggering with confidence, she might have passed for twenty. She also knew what she wanted: to become the first female to drive around the world. Her name was Aloha Wanderwell. Drawing upon diaries, travel logs, films, photographs, newspapers, and previously classified government documents, this book reveals the story of one of the greatest explorers of the 1920s.
8. NIGHT STREET by Kristel Thornell
Inspired by the art and life of the Victorian artist Clarice Beckett (1887-1935), this is the passionate story of a young painter who defies society's strict conventions and indifferent art critics. Unmarried by choice and living at home with her ageing parents, Clarice’s seemingly monotonous existence masks a vibrant and passionate hidden life. With a mobile painting trolley in lieu of a studio, Clarice makes her way through the streets and coastline of Melbourne at dawn and dusk where she creates sombre, enigmatic landscapes. Through her art, she enters into a world of sensuality and freedom, away from the constraints of a conservative and disapproving society.
9. WITH ALL HER MIGHT by Gretchen Wilson
One day, from the top of a London bus, Gretchen Wilson's great-aunt Gertrude Harding saw a parade of Militant Suffragettes demanding votes for women; she couldn’t wait to join them. After a short initiation, Harding and a comrade-in-arms smashed up the orchid house at Kew Gardens. She organized a cadre of women who learned jujitsu and wore Indian clubs on their belts. She served as a private secretary to Christabel Pankhurst, the movement's strategist. She became the publisher of the Suffragette newspaper and a social worker among women labourers in a munitions plant. This is the story of the battle for women's suffrage and one Canadian woman's role.
10. UNCERTAIN WEIGHTS AND MEASURES by Jocelyn Parr
This historical novel with a modern feel follows Tatiana, a brilliant young woman with a scientific mind as she walks the tightropes between politics and idealism in 1920s Russia. Tatiana studies the source of genius and thrives in a state-sponsored research institute until her mentor dies under suspicious circumstances. Disconcerted and unable to find answers to her questions, she battles doubt — about her work as a scientist, her naiveté about the Revolution, her faith in the state, and her marriage — but won’t be taken for a fool.