Every year in March we celebrate Women’s History Month, a perfect time to be inspired by the triumphs of real-life heroes. Let us not forget the path it took to get this far and the tribulations that these women endured. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Society has come so far, but we still have a ways to go. We have compiled a list of titles that explore the ups and downs of this journey as well as present bold ideas to improve the future.
- 100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment edited by Holly J. McCammon and Lee Ann Banaszak
100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment looks back at the century since the United States ratified the amendment giving women the right to vote. The volume asks: how has women’s political engagement unfolded over the last one hundred years? Read a free chapter here
- Cabinets, Ministers, and Gender by Claire Annesley, Karen Beckwith, Susan Franceschet
Cabinets lie at the center of governing power. Why are more men than women appointed to cabinets? One chapter identifies formal and informal rules as forces shaping women’s opportunities for cabinet appointment, and introduces the concept of the “concrete floor,” the minimum proportion or number of women for the cabinet team to be perceived as legitimate. Read the chapter here.
- Ending Global Poverty by Constantine Michalopoulos
Ending poverty is a noble goal and a major challenge for the global community. This book tells a never-before-told story of four female cabinet ministers joining together to fight global poverty. It examines the lessons to be learned from the so-called “Utstein Four,” who joined forces to challenge the establishment policies of international institutions.
- The Global Gag Rule and Women’s Reproductive Health by Yana van der Meulen Rodgers
In recent decades, the long arm of US politics has reached the intimate lives of women all over the world. Since 1984, healthcare organizations in developing countries have faced major cuts in US foreign aid if they perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning. One chapter provides a detailed examination of global abortion laws and rates. Read a free chapter here.
- The Inclusion Calculation by Melody E. Valdini
Power-holders and gate-keepers in political parties and governments continue to be primarily men. How are they responding to the increasing numbers of women seeking leadership roles in politics? One chapter offers a new approach to understanding the conditions under which women are included in the political sphere. Read it here.
- The Politics of the Pill by Rachel VanSickle-Ward, Kevin Wallsten
Long before the federal government required health insurance providers to cover the costs of birth control under the Affordable Care Act, 28 states adopted their own policies mandating coverage of prescription contraceptives. One chapter considers the political, religious, and ideological factors that shaped the passage and content of this diverse group of state-level policies, with a particular focus on the impact of women officeholders. Read it here.
- The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism by Catherine Rottenberg
The notion of a happy work-family balance has not only been incorporated into the popular imagination as a progressive feminist ideal but also lies at the heart of a new variant of feminism. One chapter argues that progress has come to signify women’s ability to successfully balance work with family. Read it here.
- The Oxford Handbook of Women and the Economy edited by Susan L. Averett, Laura M. Argys, and Saul D. Hoffman
Despite decades of progress relative to men in work and schooling, women remain severely underrepresented among top corporate and political leaders. One chapter discusses the current status and recent progress of women in leadership positions, with a focus on the realm of corporate leadership. Read it here.
- Women as Foreign Policy Leaders by Sylvia Bashevkin
Hillary Rodham Clinton served four years as secretary of state following Barack Obama’s swearing in as president in 2009. Before her, no American woman had risen from White House spouse to elected legislator to top diplomat. This chapter evaluates the trajectory of Hillary Clinton from the roles of first lady, senator, and presidential candidate to secretary of state. Read it here.
This reading list honors all the women who stood up and fought for equal rights in voting, leadership position, poverty reduction, and changes in electoral politics. With more information on these topics, we want to deepen the understanding of women’s contribution to the world, celebrating their advancement, and exploring how we can improve as a society.
Featured image by Libraryofcongress via Unsplash