A Reading List for Women’s History Month

If my work as a middle school librarian has taught me one thing, it’s that one of the best ways to inspire people is to tell them a good story. For this Women’s History Month, I’ve curated a list of books that do just that – tell a beautiful story, and in the process change or contribute to our understanding of girlhood. Below you’ll find a wide array of books – historical fiction, non-fiction, comics, tales of adventure – which bring together gender identity, culture, and race to tell a story about modern girlhood, and what it means to be a woman today. Grades K-2...

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Women’s History Month 2017: New Illustrated Girls!

It’s been a tough few months for girls and women, and it doesn’t look to get easier in the immediate future. And whilst March and Women’s History Month is a time to focus on the amazing women who’ve helped to get us where we are, this year we opted for something different. With our Political Powerhouses column, we’ve got some pretty amazing women featured on our blog each week. And our weekly entries for 52 examine objects integral to understanding the history–and current culture–of girlhood. So this year, instead of looking at some of the amazing women in...

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African-American Congresswomen Launch Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls

Women’s History Month and Black History Month collided and created the first congressional Black Women and Girls Caucus! Three African-American female lawmakers announced its launch with a new congressional caucus to support the lives of Black women and girls through policy discussions and promoting legislation that addresses the socio-economic disadvantages Black women and girls face. The announcement was a historic victory for the many who have critiqued the nation’s lack of attention to issues that affect Black women and girls, such as health, education, safety and economic well being....

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Inspirational quotes by women

In honour of International Women’s History month I was thinking about all the motivational women who have inspired us though history, and have compiled a list of some of my favourite quotes by inspirational women. ‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.’ – Helen Keller ‘Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.’ – Hillary Clinton ‘Above all be the heroine of your own life, not the victim.’ – Nora Ephron ‘Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead...

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Flora Sandes

Flora Sandes (22 January 1876 – 24 November 1956) was a very interesting woman in the First World War. Although she was British, she enlisted into the allied Serbian army and consequently was the first British woman to fight as a soldier during the war. Flora was born in Yorkshire in 1876 but moved to Suffolk at the age of nine. Flora always dreamed as a child of being a soldier and was always yearning for that bit of adventure that came with it. However as a British woman this was not going to happen. Before WWI she did, however, find herself exploring the world, first working in Cairo,...

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Rosa Luxemburg

During WWI, Germany was having complex political problems on its home front. We don’t often hear much about German women during the war, but Rosa Luxemburg (5th March 1871 – 15th January 1919) was a heroine, standing up and dying for her political views in Germany. Rosa was born in Poland in 1871 to Jewish parents. From an early age, she knew the world had to change and she wanted to be involved with that. So she studied hard at school and moved to Zurich, Switzerland to go to university there; a place that allowed women to study. Her degree was in philosophy, but she also attended extra...

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Mairi Chisholm

Thoughts of the First World War often conjure up images of men in the trenches, fighting over no man’s land, and men travelling in ambulances, cars, or motorbikes. However, men were not the only people who utilized motorbike transport during WWI. The Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) also used motorbike messengers. Another daring and inspirational woman who rod a motorbike was Mairi Chisholm (1896–1981), a nurse and worker at a first aid station behind enemy lines in Belgium. Mairi left for France in September 1914 at the age of 18, and set up a relief and first-aid station in the bombed-out...

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Helen Fairchild

Helen Fairchild (November 21, 1885 – January 18, 1918) was an American nurse who served as part of the American Expeditionary Force. Like many brave women who went to the frontline, Helen put her life on the line to help the soldiers injured in combat. For America, the First World War began on the 6th April, 1917, after Germany began using submarine warfare on any ship close to Britain. Up to that point, America remained neutral. Helen Fairchild had just graduated from nursing school in 1913, and a month after the war was declared in America she decided to help. In May 1917, Helen was...

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Alice Isaacson

Alice Isaacson was born in Ireland in 1874 and emigrated to America with her family shortly after her birth. Alice received her nursing training at St. Luke’s Hospital, Iowa and the Chicago Lying-In Hospital. Until the start of World War One in 1914, little is known about Alice’s work as a nurse or how she eventually joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in 1914. However, we do know that in 1916 she was transferred to the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) to work in hospitals in England and France. This is where Alice’s story really begins, as she left behind two diaries that detail...

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Marietta Victorina van Aerde

Marietta Victorina van Aerde was born on the 2nd December 1888 or 1889 to Frans Joename van Aerde and Celestine van Aerde. Marietta was the eldest of five; Marietta, Terese, Seraphine, Pauline and little brother Alexander. Little is known of the van Aerde children’s early life but it may be presumed that Marietta and her three sisters were taught at home by governesses as her father was a wealthy man. We next hear of Marietta on a birth certificate for her son, Victor Adolphus Francois Somers on the 28th October 1908. It is easy to work out that after finishing her education, Marietta came...

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