FE: Books on women who changed the world

17 Mar FE: Books on women who changed the world

“Books were my pass to personal freedom.” ~Oprah Winfrey


Let’s spotlight books about women who’ve changed the world as we honor Women’s History Month!
Women have been doing the most to make the world a better place, but their work often goes unacknowledged.


Let’s Get Physical: How Women Discovered Exercise and Reshaped the World by Danielle Friedman
What it’s about: Today, exercise is considered a vital, casual part of women’s lives, but that was not always the case. Before the 1960s women’s exercise revolution that Let’s Get Physical chronicles, sweating was considered unladylike, and urban legends about the effects of physical exertion terrified girls. This book reveals the origins of women’s fitness culture as we know it, (from sweating in your living room, to the invention of barre; the liberation of jogging, the rise of aerobics, and the explosion of yoga) providing post-war cultural context and spotlighting the pioneers who made it possible. Author Danielle Friedman ultimately tells the story of how physical strength has brought power to the women’s movement, and how culture now moves towards inclusivity and the celebration of all bodies.


Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World by Eliza Reid
What it’s about: Author Eliza Reid is an immigrant from small-town Canada who ended up becoming (wait for it!) the First Lady of Iceland. She’s interviewed dozens of Sprakkar — an Icelandic word meaning “extraordinary or outstanding women” — for this book. Why Iceland? Because the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Iceland the number one country succeeding at closing the gender gap for the past 12 years! Secrets of the Sprakkar examines how this tiny country has made such great strides in gender equality, showing us what a world with true gender equality looks like, and what we can learn about increasing fairness in our own countries.


The Dark Queens by Shelley Puhak
What it’s about: The Dark Queens tells the remarkable tale of two women in the Early Middle Ages who had immense power and changed the face of Europe, despite living at a time when women were excluded from noble succession and the blood sport of royal politics: Brunhild was a foreign princess to be married off for alliance-building; Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a palace slave. They wielded strategy like swords, commanded armies, formed and broke coalitions, and even fought a decades-long civil war against each other. Their brutal, sharp rivalry laid the foundations of what became Charlemagne’s empire, but its history was rewritten after their deaths. Author Shelley Puhak presents this compelling narrative non-fiction book to set the record straight.

In On the Joke: The Original Queens of Stand-up Comedy by Shawn Levy
Release date: April 5
What’s it about: It took work for women to be allowed in comedy clubs, let alone welcomed on stage. Shawn Levy’s In On the Joke introduces us to the hilarious, brilliant women who broke down barriers and opened up doors for the women in comedy we love today. Levy notes upfront that he’s a white man telling the stories primarily of women of color, and it’s clear that he felt inspired to use his platform as a prolific biographer and pop culture historian to do the much-needed work of honoring their role in the world of comedy. His remarkably researched, passionate recounting of comedy history extensively quotes these women (Moms Mabley, Rusty Warren, and Joan Rivers among them) to ensure their voices play a major role in telling the story of their place in history — and the hard work that it took to earn it.


The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet by Nell McShane Wulfhart
Release date: April 19
What it’s about: In the 1960s, women were drawn into the “Golden Age of Travel” with promises of glamorous stewardess jobs on airplanes. Jobs which, while exciting, came with many constraints, including weight restrictions, prohibiting marriage and children, and forced resignation at the age of 32. The story of the stewardesses’ trailblazing push-back against their employment conditions has greatly influenced the modern labor movement for gender equality in the workplace. Read about how these brave women fought against corporations for their rights and won, and be inspired that you can too.
Lean in to more literary inspo: https://apple.news/An993DWOcTeSx-6BT9YYkHQ

We wish you the best on your entrepreneur path!
Thank you for reading and welcome your comments below.


Akasha Lin
Akasha Garnier for #TheWishwall
Author, Brand Expert, Filmmaker
Photo: AkashaLin
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