9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022

Here are some thought-provoking stories of the resilient women in history. Happy reading!
Rupendra Brahambhatt
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Women’s History Month is not just a reminder of the contribution of women in our society but it is also the time that encourages us to take inspiration from their seldomly discussed journeys, struggles, and achievements that changed the world. Famous English writer Virginia Wolf once said: “For most of history anonymous was a woman”. However, now our sheroes need not stay anonymous as there are some outstanding books available that are powerful enough to make you aware of the memorable roles women have played throughout history. 

Books related to women's history, health, and human rights are crucial for spreading awareness on not only issues that concern women, but on how these issues impact both men and women. The stories and knowledge imparted through them inspire everyone and could help us all in creating a more gender-sensitive society. So if you also look forward to reading something shocking and entrancing this Women’s History Month, then here is a list of some thought-provoking books written by amazing female authors.  

1. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Rachel Ignotofsky/Amazon

Women inventors and scientists are not discussed that much in the news, but the immense contribution of female innovators in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is something every generation must be aware of. And this book offers you just that. Written by New York Times Bestselling author Rachel Ignotofsky, Women in Science talks about 50 female scientists whose efforts shaped the technological capabilities achieved by humanity.

From the most dedicated doctors to famous mathematicians and perhaps less-known female astronauts, Ignotofsky’s book highlights the achievements of 50 remarkable women who now serve as an inspiration for girls and women across the globe who are looking towards pursuing STEM-related careers.

2. The Moment of Lift

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Melinda Gates/Amazon

In this eye-opening memoir, Melinda Gates writes about problems faced by women in both underdeveloped and developed countries of the world. In this work, she doesn't only talk about burning issues such as gender inequity at workplaces, child marriage, and problems that women face related to birth control, but also shares the struggles she went through herself in achieving equality in her own marriage. 

The Moment of Lift also focuses on the power of communication and the ways through which women in a society can work to lift up one another. The various incidents mentioned in the book show that women can solve any problem if they stay connected to each other. 

3. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Margot Lee Shetterly/Amazon

The book throws light on the journey of some of the black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the 1950s and 1960s and helped the agency establish its dominance in space research and aeronautics after World War II. Despite facing sexual and racial discrimination throughout their lives, these "human calculators" and mathematicians refused to give up and made significant contributions to some of the biggest achievements of NASA including the moon landing of July 1969.    

Margot Lee Shetterly, American writer and author of Hidden Figures won several awards, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Communication Award for her book.

4. The Slow Moon Climbs: The Science, History, and Meaning of Menopause

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Susan Mattern/Amazon

This brilliant book by author Susan Mattern views menopause not as an end, but as a transition to another important stage in a woman’s life. The book throws light on the various myths and misconceptions that still confuse men and even many women in their late 40s, and discusses the "Grandmother Hypothesis”, an intriguing theory that highlights the evolutionary benefits of living longer for women - that the help of grandmothers allows women to have more children. So, women with the genetic makeup for living longer end up with more grandchildren carrying their genes.

The Slow Moon Climbs does a great job when it comes to explaining the scientific and historical aspects of menopause. It’s a must-read for all women who are either going through menopause or are about to, especially as the discussion of menopause is still considered taboo in various parts of the world. Even in developed countries, women are not completely aware of the changes in their bodies and minds go through during this stage of life. 

5. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Francesco Cavallo, Elena Favilli/Amazon

If you want to educate your children about women's role in strengthening our society, culture, and economy, this book is the best gift you can give them this Women’s History Month. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is a collection of 100 inspiring stories from the lives of great women from both past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Marie Curie and Michelle Obama, the book features stories of 100 courageous female leaders, scientists, artists, lawyers, etc., whose stories are worth telling.

Written by Italian authors Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, this New York Times bestseller also contains illustrations from 60 female artists from across the globe. 

6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Rebecca Skloot/Amazon

This book brings out the real-life story of Henrietta Lacks and the story of her cells. Lacks was an African-American woman who died in 1951 of aggressive cervical cancer. Months before her death, samples of her cancerous cells were taken while treating her. These cells were then given without Lacks' consent to a researcher. Her cells turned out to have an extraordinary capacity to survive and reproduce. Later, those cells (the HeLa cell line) played an important role in gene mapping, cancer treatment, in-vitro fertilization, and in development of a polio vaccine. The cells were shared widely and became a workhorse of biological research - yet Lacks' family never received a penny of the many billions made from the medicines and treatment techniques that were developed using her cells.

In addition, for decades after her death, doctors and scientists repeatedly failed to ask her family for consent, even as they openly shared Lacks' name and medical records, and published her genome online.

Lacks died more than sixty years ago, and most don’t even know where she is buried. However, through her research and impressive writing, author Rebecca Skloot has done a fantastic job in presenting Lacks' forgotten story before the world.

7. The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Dava Sobel/Amazon

The Glass Universe reveals the stories of unsung female heroes whose contributions played an important role in increasing our understanding of outer space. It is filled with exciting accounts of women who worked as human computers for interpreting observations made by astronomers at the Harvard College Observatory during the mid 19th century.

This thoughtful work by American writer Dava Sobel was published in December 2016, and the following year it was ranked among the best books of the year by leading science publications such as the Smithsonian, NPR, and Nature.

8. Jane Eyre 

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Jane Eyre/Charlotte Brontë

A classic Women’s History Month book that presents the story of a brave female survivor named Jane who grew up as an orphan and faced extreme cruelty and injustice. Yet she manages to emerge as a strong and spirited independent woman by following her conviction. This heart-throbbing novel was written by English writer Charlotte Brontë and although it was published in the year 1847, Jane’s story is relevant even today because of the way it realistically depicts a women’s emotions while she struggles for finding purpose and love in her life.  

In the last 170 years, millions of Jany Eyre copies have been sold, and in 2018, the book was also nominated for America’s best-loved 100 novels in PBS’s The Great American Read.

9. Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

9 books to read during Women’s History Month in 2022
Source: Linda Babcock, Sarah Laschever/Amazon

A book that encourages women to raise their voice for equal treatment at homes, offices, and any other places where they face any type of social, economic, or political discrimination on the basis of sex. Linda Babcock who co-authored Women Don’t Ask once noticed in her college that many male graduates were teaching courses, whereas female graduates were working as assistants only. When she raised this issue before the dean, he replied - "More men ask. The women just don't ask."

The dean’s response made authors Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever think about the psychology that prevented women from asking for opportunities and resources they have earned and deserve, and how this failure to ask perpetuates the many inequalities which women suffer from. The book explores how tradition, institutions, child-rearing practices, and assumptions all prevent women from asking for the rights they are entitled to.

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