Every year on March 8th International Women’s Day is acknowledged around the world. This day celebrated the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. The first International Women’s Day took place in 1911 when Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland held rallies, supported by over a million people, for the advancement of Women’s rights. They were rallying for the right to vote, the right to work, to hold public office, and to end discrimination. When I think about the growth the movement has seen, it is astonishing to me to realize how brave the women who came before us had to have been. Finding the courage to stand up for what you know is right, even when you might be standing against something ‘bigger’ than yourself, is an ideal that is much easier said than done. To honor them, I’ve compiled a list of books in celebration of courageous and fearless women.
- Ladies First: 40 Daring American Women Who Were Second to None by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel: This book is a collection of ‘firsts’ for women, including the first woman to graduate from medical school, the first African American woman writer to be published, and the first woman to be inducted into the Motorsports hall of fame. This book is packed with inspirational stories from women of all walks of life.
- The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates: In this ‘call to action’ for women’s empowerment, author Melinda Gates talks about her philanthropy work, equality in her own marriage, and tells stories about women’s struggles around the world.. One of the quotes Ms. Gates uses often, and one of my personal favorites is, “When we lift up others, they lift us up too.” She is a true believer that empowering women changes the whole world.
- Feminism: The March Toward Equal Rights for Women by Jill Dearman is geared more toward teens, but I found it interesting even as an adult. This book has an introduction on what feminism is, a timeline of historic events for womens’ rights, and comics throughout to explain certain terms and make them more relatable. At the end of every chapter, there is an “Inquire and Investigate” page with instructions on how to take what you have learned even farther than what can be found inside the book.
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: When Anne Shirey is taken from an orphanage to live with Matthew and Marilla, who were expecting a boy to help out around the place, their lives are forever changed. Anne has changed my life as well. She is one of the first examples of a feminist that I ever read as a young child and is a book character that I’ve continued to love and learn from even in my adult years.
This year’s ‘theme’ for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual. They believe “An equal world is an enabled world,” and are asking all mankind to take action for equality. To learn more about International Women’s Day visit their website at www.internationalwomensday.com. Here in Avon Park Public Library we will have a display of all of the books I’ve mentioned in this article and more great reads for anyone interested in the subject. We hope to see you soon!