Women’s Equality Day Reading List

August 26th, 1920 marks the day that the women’s vote officially became a part of the U.S Constitution.  Today, Women’s Equality Day means a lot more than just a pinnacle turning point in the history of women’s rights – it represents the equality of all genders in every aspect of life and the continuous fight to implement it. From intersectional marriage equality to millennial feminist activism to women in business, this reading list explores a range of female representation in both modern and past society.

The Perils of Marriage Equality
Katherine Franke

“[E]ven if same-sex marriage recognition does not exactly replicate the experiences of post-Civil War African American couples, the history of state-sanctioned African American marriage, by turns exhilarating and crushing, remains an important challenge to the dominant narrative that recognition is a pure good, as well as a reminder that there are always (at least) three parties in every marriage. And yet the romantic conception of marriage continues to peddle the idea that intimate relationships are the most private and personal of decisions made between two people.”

Times Literary Supplement

What Works for Women at Work
Four Patterns Women Need to Know
Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey

“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

An additional resource to read alongside this book: What Works for Women, a Workbook 



 A Body, Undone
Living on After Great Pain [A Memoir]
Christina Crosby

“Part grueling diary of living with chronic pain and part celebration of survival, this is a complicated understanding of what it means to change your definition of living while living through it.”





Gilded Suffragists
The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote
Johanna Neuman

“With its rollicking narratives of determined personalities and rancorous barbs, Gilded Suffragists makes the story of winning woman suffrage encompass the several determined and super-wealthy New York women whose leadership, social cachet and fashionable presence injected new liveliness and power into the movement at crucial junctures.”

—Nancy F. Cott, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University

Available for pre-order now.

No Shortcut to Change
An Unlikely Path to a More Gender Equitable World
Kara Ellerby

No Shortcut to Change is a groundbreaking critique of common-sense approaches to improving gender equality throughout the world. A must-read book for anyone who seriously cares about this important issue.”

—Laura Sjoberg, author of Women as Wartime Rapists: Beyond Sensation and Stereotyping



Domestic Workers of the World Unite!
A Global Movement of Dignity and Human Rights
Jennifer N. Fish

“A beautifully written ethnography chronicling the international struggle for domestic workers! Jennifer Fish brings the unionization alive by weaving workers and organizers’ stories into the political, economic and legal background that frames the journey of these women who organize locally, nationally and internationally. This is a must read for scholars and activists concerned about the rights of precarious women workers and the strategies for organizing vulnerable workers.”

—Mary Romero, author of The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream

The Political Thought of America’s Founding Feminists
Lisa Pace Vetter

“In this innovative book, Vetter expands the contours of U.S. political theory. The Political Thought of America’s Founding Feminists compellingly demonstrates how feminist and critical race theory enrich the conceptualization of liberty, equality, citizenship, self-ownership, and democracy.”

—Mary Hawkesworth, author of Embodied Power: Demystifying Disembodied Politics



Rebels at the Bar
The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers
Jill Norgren

“Intriguing and enriching, Norgren’s book on the first generation of women lawyers in America offers an in-depth look at the careers of eight notable women…this intersection of legal and feminist history is unquestionably inspiring.”

Publishers Weekly




Finding Feminism
Millennial Activists and the Unfinished Gender Revolution
Alison Dahl Crossley

“Welcome to waveless feminism! As Crossley’s study of campus feminism suggests, the river is a better metaphor for how women’s movement activism shifts course and encounters turbulence as it moves through historically changing contexts. This book provides examples of innovation and organization that in a rapidly changed political scene will remain timely and helpful.”

—Myra Marx Ferree, author of Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective


Women Doing Life
Gender, Punishment and the Struggle for Identity
Lora Bex Lempert

Women Doing Life is an outstanding piece of work that unapologetically showcases an understudied group within our criminal justice system by mixing together the voice of feminist criminology, crime statistics, and powerful stories of self-reform, despair, injustice, courage, and hope.”

Journal of Family Strengths



Governed Through Choice

Autonomy, Technology, and The Politics of Reproduction
Jennifer M. Denbow

“Denbow provides a legal and philosophical analysis of reproductive politics in the US.  She develops the concept of women’s reproductive autonomy, drawing from classic definitions of autonomy by Rousseau and Kant.”


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