Women’s History Month

Posted on March 14, 2016. Filed under: Nonfiction | Tags: , , |

President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation in 1980 creating National Women’s History Week. The intent was to highlight  the contributions of women in society which may have gone unnoticed. Carter is quoted as saying: “ Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people. This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that ‘Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month.

So, why do we even need a Women’s History Month? As Myra Pollack Sadker states: “Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.” Here are a few of the books available at Oakton to help you learn more about Women’s History during the month of March.

9780199328338_p0_v3_s192x300American Women’s History: A Very Short Introduction
by Susan Ware
“1607, Powhatan teenager Pocahontas first encountered English settlers when John Smith was brought to her village as a captive. In 1920, the ratification of the 19th Amendment gave women the constitutional right to vote. And in 2012, the U.S. Marine Corps lifted its ban on women in active combat, allowing female marines to join the sisterhood of American women who stand at the center of this country’s history. Between each of these signal points runs the multi-layered experience of American women, from pre-colonization to the present.

In American Women’s History: A Very Short Introduction Susan Ware emphasizes the richly diverse experiences of American women as they were shaped by factors such as race, class, religion, geographical location, age, and sexual orientation (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

majorproblemsMajor Problems in American Women’s History: Documents and Essays
edited by Sharon Block, Ruth M. Alexander, Mary Beth Norton

Major Problems in American Women’s History is the leading reader for courses on the history of American women, covering the subject’s entire chronological span. While attentive to the roles of women and the details of women’s lives, the authors are especially concerned with issues of historical interpretation and historiography” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780813145136_p0_v4_s192x300A Woman’s Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences
by Alice Kessler-Harris

“In this updated edition of a groundbreaking classic, Alice Kessler-Harris explores the meanings of women’s wages in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, focusing on three issues that capture the transformation of women’s roles: the battle over minimum wage for women, which exposes the relationship between family ideology and workplace demands; the argument concerning equal pay for equal work, which challenges gendered patterns of self-esteem and social organization; and the debate over comparable worth, which seeks to incorporate traditionally female values into new work and family trajectories.

Together, these topics illuminate the many ways in which gendered social meaning has been produced, transmitted, and challenged” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781469614274_p0_v3_s192x300The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898
by Tetrault, Lisa

“The story of how the women’s rights movement began at the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 is a cherished American myth. The standard account credits founders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott with defining and then leading the campaign for women’s suffrage.

In her provocative new history, Lisa Tetrault demonstrates that Stanton, Anthony, and their peers gradually created and popularized this origins story during the second half of the nineteenth century in response to internal movement dynamics as well as the racial politics of memory after the Civil War. The founding mythology that coalesced in their speeches and writings–most notably Stanton and Anthony’s ‘History of Woman Suffrage’—provided younger activists with the vital resource of a usable past for the ongoing struggle, and it helped consolidate Stanton and Anthony’s leadership against challenges from the grassroots and rival suffragists.

As Tetrault shows, while this mythology has narrowed our understanding of the early efforts to champion women’s rights, the myth of Seneca Falls itself became an influential factor in the suffrage movement. And along the way, its authors amassed the first archive of feminism and literally invented the modern discipline of women’s history” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780060090265_p0_v2_s192x300Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts

“While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history…women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps.

Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favoured recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed and Martha Washington—proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Kevin Purtell and Gretchen Schneider


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