Womens History Month 2019 blog

Women Writers Reading List

NYU Press is proud to publish thoughtful and insightful women writers. We’re making it easier than ever to read more women writers and women’s studies books this month (and all year long) with a sale on our Women’s Studies titles. 

Use promocode WMN19-FM at check-out when ordering from nyupress.org for 35% off and free domestic shipping.

Also consider following these hashtags** on your social media platform(s) of choice: #HB2, #RestoreTheVRA, #ReproRights, #Planet5050, #HeforShe to see how you can stand up,  shout out, and/or read #allthethings and make a difference. 

Click on any of the covers to learn more about them and to add them to your NYU Press cart. Apply promocode WMN19-FM at checkout for 35% off and free domestic shipping!*

*offer good from 03/01/2019 until 03/31/2019


Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers

Lives in the Law

By Jill Norgren

In Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, award-winning legal historian Jill Norgren curates the oral histories of one hundred extraordinary American women lawyers who changed the profession of law. Many of these stories are being told for the first time. As adults these women were on the front lines fighting for access to law schools and good legal careers. They challenged established rules and broke the law’s glass ceiling.Norgren uses these interviews to describe the profound changes that began in the late 1960s, interweaving social and legal history with the women’s individual experiences. The interviews, made available to the author, permit these women to be written into history in their words, words that evoke pain as well as celebration, humor, and somber reflection. These are women attorneys who, in courtrooms, classrooms, government agencies, and NGOs have rattled the world with insistent and successful demands to reshape their profession and their society. They are women who brought nothing short of a revolution to the profession of law.

“Jill Norgren has written a compelling portrait of women on the front lines of the ongoing struggle for gender equality in the legal profession.  Her book eloquently describes a central feature of the civil rights revolution that continues today, and reminds us not to take for granted the hard-won victories of those whose stories she tells.”—John Shattuck, author of Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America’s Response

Another women and law book that may interest you: Vulnerability Politics: The Uses and Abuses of Precarity in Political Debate by Katie Oliviero.


Jewish Radical Feminism

Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement

By Joyce Antler

Jewish women were undeniably instrumental in shaping the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Yet historians and participants themselves have overlooked their contributions as Jews. This has left many vital questions unasked and unanswered—until now. Delving into archival sources and conducting extensive interviews with these fierce pioneers, Joyce Antler has at last broken the silence about the confluence of feminism and Jewish identity. Antler’s exhilarating new book features dozens of compelling biographical narratives that reveal the struggles and achievements of Jewish radical feminists in Chicago, New York and Boston, as well as those who participated in the later, self-consciously identified Jewish feminist movement that fought gender inequities in Jewish religious and secular life. Recovering this deeply hidden history, Jewish Radical Feminism places Jewish women’s activism at the center of feminist and Jewish narratives.

“From consciousness-raising groups, to health collectives, to militant lesbians and women standing up to religious patriarchy, historian Antler spends time with the dozens of Jewish personalities of radical feminist movements—women who challenged the structure of society far beyond the reach of laws.”—Lilith

“The role of Jewish women in the feminist struggle was never fully explained. Jewish Radical Feminism fills this gap both in the history of modern Judaism and feminism. This valuable study is a tribute to the struggle of these pioneer Jewish feminists.”—Washington Book Review

Another book about women and Judaism that may interest you: Making Judaism Safe for America: World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism by Jessica Cooperman.


Women of the Nation

Between Black Protest and Sunni Islam

Dawn-Marie Gibson and Jamillah Karim

Women of the Nation draws on oral histories and interviews with approximately 100 women across several cities to provide an overview of women’s historical contributions and their varied experiences of the NOI, including both its continuing community under Farrakhan and its offshoot into Sunni Islam under Imam W.D. Mohammed. The authors examine how women have interpreted and navigated the NOI’s gender ideologies and practices, illuminating the experiences of African-American, Latina, and Native American women within the NOI and their changing roles within this patriarchal movement. The book argues that the Nation of Islam experience for women has been characterized by an expression of Islam sensitive to American cultural messages about race and gender, but also by gender and race ideals in the Islamic tradition. It offers the first exhaustive study of women’s experiences in both the NOI and the W.D. Mohammed community.

“This text emerges to provide some transparency for readers about these women’s lives and the lives of those who left the Nation to follow Warith Deen Mohammed. Women are in the foreground, but not without the persistent and sometimes overriding presence of the men that they marry, contend with, and serve. The co-authors actually have different strengths—Karim is an insider while Gibson is the outsider. The resultant collaboration provides readers with varying lenses into this community of women.”—Choice

Another book about women and Islam that may interest you: Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam by Sylvia Chan-Malik.

Another book about women and religion that may interest you: Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody by Melissa M. Wilcox.


What Works for Women at Work, Updated Edition

Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know

By Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey

Foreword by Anne-Marie Slaughter

Based on interviews with 127 successful working women, over half of them women of color, What Works for Women at Work presents a toolkit for getting ahead in today’s workplace. Distilling over 35 years of research, Williams and Dempsey offer four crisp patterns that affect working women: Prove-It-Again!, the Tightrope, the Maternal Wall, and the Tug of War. Each represents different challenges and requires different strategies—which is why women need to be savvier than men to survive and thrive in high-powered careers. Williams and Dempsey’s analysis of working women is nuanced and in-depth, going far beyond the traditional cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approaches of most career guides for women.

“Written by a mother-daughter duo, this decidedly unwonky examination of gender bias doubles as a playbook on how to transcend and triumph.”—Abbe Wright, O, The Oprah Magazine

“Deftly combining sociological research with a more casual narrative style, What Works for Women at Work offers unabashedly straightforward advice in a how-to primer for ambitious women.”—Debora L. Spar, The New York Times Book Review

“The book offers an accessible and sound model of problems faced by women climbing the corporate ladder, and presents clear strategies to take while waiting for business to catch up.”—Publishers Weekly

“In their compelling new book, Williams…and Dempsey…spell out the two sets of rules, higher standards and closed doors that many women encounter on the job these days.”—Kerry Hannon, Forbes

You also may be interested in the What Works for Women at Work: A Workbook by Joan C. Williams, Rachel Dempsey, and Marina Multhaup.



A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970-1992

By Sabra Moore

Foreword by Lucy R. Lippard and Margaret Randall

Published by New Village Press

This abundantly illustrated personal narrative takes readers through twenty-two years of activism in the women’s art movements in New York City during a period of great cultural change. Author Sabra Moore vividly recounts life in this era of social upheaval in which women artists responded to war, racial tension and reconciliation, cultural and aesthetic inequality, and struggles for reproductive freedom. We learn intimately how she and fellow women artists found ways to create politically and personally effective art works, exhibitions, actions, and institutions. The book features Moore’s involvement in pivotal art organizations of this time and her own development as an artist, counterbalanced with her connections to family in rural East Texas and friends in New Mexico.
“[Openings is] crucial to the understanding of women artists in New York . . . it really captures what it must have been like to be an artist in New York in the 70s and 80s.”—Patricia Hills, Art historian and Professor Emerita, Boston University

“This is important reading for aspiring women artists today, and evidence that the received history of the feminist movement . . . is not always the full picture.”—Suzanne Lacy, Chair, MFA in Public Practice, Otis College of Art and Design

“Moore’s memoir is radical not only because it frames feminist art history as central, but also in its very telling, where monumental events in the art world stand equal to Moore’s personal life, her dreams, and her poetic tenderness.”—Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, playwright, creator of My Little Red Book, and co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project

Another memoir by a woman that may interest you: A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain by Christina Crosby.


Sex and Stigma

Stories of Everyday Life in Nevada’s Legal Brothels

By Sarah Jane Blithe, Anna Wiederhold Wolfe, and Breanna Mohr

The state of Nevada is the only jurisdiction in the United States where prostitution is legal. Wrapped in moral judgments about sexual conduct and shrouded in titillating intrigue, stories about Nevada’s legal brothels regularly steal headlines. The stigma and secrecy pervading sex work contribute to experiences of oppression and unfair labor practices for many legal prostitutes in Nevada.  Sex and Stigma engages with stories of women living and working in these “hidden” organizations to interrogate issues related to labor rights, secrecy, privacy, and discrimination in the current legal brothel system. Including interviews with current and former legal sex workers, brothel owners, madams, local police, and others, Sex and Stigma examines how widespread beliefs about the immorality of selling sexual services have influenced the history and laws of legal brothel prostitution.

“Sex and Stigma is an engaging and informative book, blending first-person perspectives with feminist scholarship to demystify the brothel as a workplace. A smart and innovative study, readers will benefit from the authors’ blend of scholarly expertise, their unique access to a difficult-to-reach population, and the inclusion of multiple sex workers’ perspectives.”—Shira Tarrant, author of The Pornography Industry: What Everyone Needs to Know

Another book about women and sex that may interest you: Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance by Amber Jamilla Musser.


Feminist Accountability

Disrupting Violence and Transforming Power

By Ann Russo

Feminist Accountability offers an intersectional analysis of three main areas of feminism in practice: anti-racist work, community accountability and transformative justice, and US-based work in and about violence in the global south. Russo explores accountability as a set of frameworks and practices for community- and movement-building against oppression and violence. Rather than evading the ways that we are implicated, complicit, or actively engaged in harm, Russo shows us how we might cultivate accountability so that we can contribute to the feminist work of transforming oppression and violence.
“Replacing hyper-individualism and division with interconnectivity and community, Russo develops useful strategies for post-oppositional transformation. Her emphasis on accountability, responsibility, and relationship-building within contexts of uneven power offers a healing approach to social justice work.”—AnaLouise Keating, Author of Transformation Now!: Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change

“As a feminist organizer, I’ve been waiting for this collection of essays for years. How do we address and transform violence in non-punitive ways? Ann Russo offers a compelling analysis of how a praxis of accountability can guide us toward some answers to this question.”—Mariame Kaba, Founder of Project NIA

Another book about women and feminism that may interest you: Feminist Manifestos: A Global Documentary Reader edited by Penny A. Weiss.


Postracial Resistance

Black Women, Media, and The Uses of Strategic Ambiguity

By Ralina L. Joseph

From Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Shonda Rhimes to their audiences and the industry workers behind the scenes, Ralina L. Joseph considers the way that Black women are required to walk a tightrope. Do they call out racism only to face accusations of being called “racists”? Or respond to racism in code only to face accusations of selling out? Postracial Resistance explores how African American women celebrities, cultural producers, and audiences employ postracial discourse—the notion that race and race-based discrimination are over and no longer affect people’s everyday lives—to refute postracialism itself. In a world where they’re often written off as stereotypical “Angry Black Women,” Joseph offers that some Black women in media use “strategic ambiguity,” deploying the failures of post-racial discourse to name racism and thus resist it.

“With the spectacular visibility of Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé, such a book is needed now, perhaps, more than ever. To advance conversations about the intersections of race, class, gender, media, and accomplishment, Ralina Joseph introduces us to the concept of ‘strategic ambiguity,’ one that complicates the realities of celebrity life for women of color in the wake of the ‘postracial’ condition.”—Herman Gray, author of Cultural Moves, African Americans and the Politics of Representation

Another book about Black women and technology/media that may interest you: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble.


Her Own Hero

The Origins of the Women’s Self Defense Movement

By Wendy L. Rouse

At the turn of the twentieth century, women famously organized to demand greater social and political freedoms like gaining the right to vote. However, few realize that the Progressive Era also witnessed the birth of the women’s self-defense movement. It is nearly impossible in today’s day and age to imagine a world without the concept of women’s self defense. Some women were inspired to take up boxing and jiu-jitsu for very personal reasons that ranged from protecting themselves from attacks by strangers on the street to rejecting gendered notions about feminine weakness and empowering themselves as their own protectors. Through self-defense training, women debunked patriarchal myths about inherent feminine weakness, creating a new image of women as powerful and self-reliant. This book is a fascinating and comprehensive introduction to one of the most important women’s issues of all time.

“Wendy L. Rouse examines the self-defense movement through an intersectional feminist lens. . . . Rouse explores boxing, jujitsu, street harassment, the suffrage movement, and domestic violence to provide historical context to the 20th-century women’s movement . . . a compelling read.”—Bitch Magazine

“The individual triumphs described in Her Own Hero are the sort of satisfying stories that would go hugely viral today. . . . a thorough and fascinating examination of the eruption of one important insight into public American life: Women can successfully use force against those who are assumed to be more powerful.”—The New Republic

“Martial arts turn out to be a great lens for examining increasing freedoms in a time of industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, though the book also gives a clear overview of America’s prejudices and limitations. A highly readable study whose historical accounts of sexism and xenophobia bear repeated discussion.”—Foreword Reviews

Gilded Suffragists

The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote

By Johanna Neuman

In the early twentieth century over two hundred of New York’s most glamorous socialites joined the suffrage movement. Their names—Astor, Belmont, Rockefeller, Tiffany, Vanderbilt, Whitney and the like—carried enormous public value. These women were the media darlings of their day because of the extravagance of their costume balls and the opulence of the French couture clothes, and they leveraged their social celebrity for political power, turning women’s right to vote into a fashionable cause. Although they were dismissed by critics as bored socialites “trying on suffrage as they might the latest couture designs from Paris,” these gilded suffragists were at the epicenter of the great reforms known collectively as the Progressive Era.  Johanna Neuman restores these women to their rightful place in the story of women’s suffrage.  Understanding the need for popular approval for any social change, these socialites used their wealth, power, social connections and style to excite mainstream interest and to diffuse resistance to the cause.  In the end, as Neuman says, when change was in the air, these women helped push women’s suffrage over the finish line.

“Setting the record straight on the driving forces in the early-20th-century fight for women’s suffrage . . . Neuman counters the popular opinion that these women were merely “bored socialites trying on suffrage as they might the latest couture designs from Paris,” and she makes a solid case . . . Neuman concisely explains how these gilded women have been airbrushed out of history, resented by those who felt exploited, but thankfully, they succeeded, and women vote today because of them.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This flowing account of women, whose financial contributions, celebrity, style, and innovative strategies revitalized a cause and changed history, will be welcomed by all readers.”—Library Journal

Another book about historical women that may interest you: What Would Mrs. Astor Do?: The Essential Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age by Cecelia Tichi.



Click on any of the covers to learn more about them and to add them to your NYU Press cart. Apply promocode WMN19-FM at checkout for 35% off and free domestic shipping!*

*offer good from 03/01/2019 until 03/31/2019

**Hashtags at the top were originally compiled by The Odyssey Online.

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