Inspiring reads, on International Women’s Day

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International Women’s Day on March 8 is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. 

Sophia vom Bauer Jackson, chair of Islanders Working Against Violence and former manager of Black Sheep Books on Salt Spring, shares her favourite books about, or by, women breaking the gender bias. Vom Bauer Jackson holds a master’s degree in North America studies and within this interdisciplinary field, Women’s and Gender Studies had the greatest impact on her. 

Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own 

This is my personal favourite. Published in 1929 this essay is still well worth reading, not just for the beautiful language. Woolf touches on many topics that are still relevant today to all women who want to be creative — not just writers. It is a book that speaks to me through the divide of nearly a hundred years. 

Caroline Criado Peréz: Invisible Women – Data Bias in a World Designed for Men 

A really important read. Perez examines the bias against women in every kind of data collected, from health care to safety guidelines, from economic development to policy making. Easy to read science writing touching all aspects of women’s lives. It opens our eyes to how the exclusion of women from the data collected affects women’s health and wellbeing, their safety and economic prosperity, their ability to participate in the world. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We Should All Be Feminists 

I chose this book because Ngozi Adichie challenges stereotypical notions of feminism in a very personal way and discusses in a clear argument why the gender divide is harmful to all — women and men. If you don’t have time to read, you can also listen to her TED Talk which she adapted into this essay. 

Cathy Converse: Against the Current – The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron 

A Canadian author writing about an extraordinary British Columbian. Agnes Deans Cameron, who lived from 1863 to 1912, was born in Victoria and took a path in life highly unusual for a woman of her time. She was an educator (the first female principal in the province), writer, lecturer and adventurer, and worked tirelessly to achieve workplace equality and voting rights for women. 

Judy Rebick: Ten Thousand Roses – The Making of a Feminist Revolution 

Judy Rebick is another Canadian writer and activist. Rebick brought together the many stories that reflect the activism of Canadian women from the 1960s to the 1990s. I believe it is important to know and to understand what the women before us did to make a better world as well as to acknowledge what they achieved. Check out the Facebook and Instagram accounts of The Circle Education and Islanders Working Against Violence for more book and movie recommendations.

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