Monday, March 8, 2010

In Honour of International Women's Day. . .

On International Women's Day, it's important to acknowledge that however far we feel feminism may have helped women in the West, there's still a way to go, and in particular millions of women in developing nations struggle daily not just for equal rights, education, and to live without the fear of continual violence, but to put food into the mouths of their families and to rebuild their communities devastated by war or famine. Here are a couple of new books to recommend to patrons and especially teenage girls:

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
These authors have travelled around the world looking at the oppression of women in developing countries and showing how global poverty can only be fought when women are given educational and economic opportunities. This book contains a lot of stories of hope, showing how some women have completely changed their lives with just a little bit of help, empathy and opportunities.

Because I'm A Girl by Tim Butcher, Xiaolu Guo, Joanne Harris, Kathy Lette, Henning Mankell, Deborah Moggach, Marie Phillips and Irvine Welsh
This anthology of short stories ties into Plan's campaign to help fight childhood poverty, in particular by focusing on educating young girls around the world. In this collection, the authors have travelled to several different countries and written about issues facing the young women in them, from lack of education, to genital mutilation, to the inability to access birth control or health care during pregnancies.

I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Lives of Girls Around the World by Eve Ensler.
From the author of the Vagina Monologues comes a new series of short pieces based on interviews that Ensler has done with girls from around the world. She recounts their struggles, unhappiness, fears and insecurities covering issues from anorexia, rape, peer pressure and pregnancy, to dealing with genital mutilation or working in a sweat shop. Also recommended is her very powerful and disturbing book Necessary Targets: A Story of Women and War.

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