Books·Posted on Mar 15, 202220 Books Releasing This Year That Are About Women Who've Changed The WorldWomen have been doing the most to make the world a better place, but their work often goes unacknowledged.by Andrea Marks-JosephBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 1. Let's Get Physical: How Women Discovered Exercise and Reshaped the World by Danielle Friedman G.P. Putnam's Sons Release date: January 4What 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.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 2. Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality by Tomiko Brown-Nagin Pantheon Books Release date: January 25What it's about: Born to a blue-collar family during the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley was expected to become a hair dresser. Instead, she became the first Black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court — and went on to argue nine more! The list of her achievements as an activist lawyer is staggering, the number of "firsts" breathtaking: Defending Martin Luther King Jr., arguing in Brown vs. The Board of Education, and playing a critical role in abolishing Jim Crow laws among them. As Constance Baker Motley remade the law and re-imagined what was possible for African Americans, her life tells the story of "the twin struggles" for gender equality and civil rights in the 20th Century. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 3. Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World by Eliza Reid Sourcebooks Release date: February 8What 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. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 4. The New Female Antihero: The Disruptive Women of Twenty-First-Century US Television by Sarah Hagelin and Gillian Silverman University of Chicago Press Release date: February 10What it's about: Fictional women — especially those in the mainstream — have had a powerful impact on the landscape of our reality. Authors Hagelin and Silverman explore the more complex, less traditionally idealized ways that women have been depicted on television in the last decade. How does an increase in conniving, devious women on screen change our view of the women in our real lives? And what does it mean for the good girl vs bad girl narrative in wider society? The authors have studied the beloved, imperfect women of Broad City and Insecure, and the terrifyingly talented schemers of Scandal and Game of Thrones, sharing their insights and analysis with us.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 5. See Me Naked: Black Women Defining Pleasure During the Interwar Era by Tara T. Green Rutgers University Press Release date: February 11What it's about: Women prioritizing pleasure is always an act of rebellion, of self-serving defiance, against a culture built to limit our joy and stifle our liberation. Black women putting their pleasure first — during an era of strict oppression from family, culture, and the government — is revolutionary. Tara T. Green explores the magnificent lives of icons like Lena Horne, Moms Mabley, Yolande DuBois, and Memphis Minnie (whose work and time in the public eye brought all of us so much pleasure) as they broke societal conventions and expectations to follow their own desires. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 6. The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World by Shelley Puhak Bloomsbury Publishing Release date: February 22What 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.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 7. In On the Joke: The Original Queens of Stand-up Comedy by Shawn Levy Doubleday Release date: April 5What'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. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 8. Sisters of Mokama: The Pioneering Women Who Brought Hope and Healing to India by Jyoti Thottam Viking Release date: April 12What it's about: To say the history of Nazareth Hospital, established in 1947 by six nuns from Kentucky, is fascinating would be an understatement. The sisters traveled to India, knowing no Hindi, and a year later opened the doors of a hospital, inviting young Indian women in to train as nursing students. The author of this book, Jyoti Thottam, is the daughter of one of these Indian nurses. Thottam's mother was born in an era when few women dared to leave home without the protection of a man. Yet at the age of 15, she traveled alone to an isolated Indian state known for its violence, for the life-changing opportunity to train as a nurse. The hospital — run almost entirely by women — was radical on many levels, insistently offering the highest standard of care, regardless of the patient's caste or religion.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 9. Paradise Falls: The True Story of an Environmental Catastrophe by Keith O'Brien Pantheon Books Release date: April 12What it's about: In the spring of 1977, a small Niagara Falls neighborhood began to smell sickly sweet. It was a group of concerned mothers who discovered the terrifying cause: Chemicals were seeping from a canal — one which the local elementary school and playground was built on top of. The city's largest employer had secretly filled this canal with toxic waste decades before. As it rose to the surface and leaked poison into their homes, the women uncovered a monumental public health crisis. Fighting for their children's' health and their families' lives, the determined mothers won support from the White House and ultimately helped to spark the movement of environmental activism as we know it today. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 10. The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet by Nell McShane Wulfhart Doubleday Books Release date: April 19What 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. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 11. Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop by Danyel Smith Roc Lit 101 Release date: April 19What it's about: Black women have been writing hits that shape American and international culture for generations. It's more than time for us to celebrate, showcase, and learn the histories of women who made our worlds brighter and more meaningful with their songs. This is an intimate ode to musical genius throughout history: opening with Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved woman who sang her poetry; including Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. Author Danyel Smith infuses her experiences with their music into the book, emphasizing how personal and moving their work has been for Black women even now. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 12. Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change by Danica Roem Viking Release date: April 26What it's about: This is a "memoir-meets-manifesto" from Danica Roem, the first openly trans person elected to US state legislature. At the time, Roem was a political newcomer and former frontwoman for a metal band (iconic in itself) and yet she unseated Virginia's most notoriously anti-LGBTQ 26-year incumbent as state delegate. Roem tells her story, from a difficult childhood, to the brutal opposition campaigns run against her, inspiring readers to set fire to their pasts and rewrite a future they want to be a part of. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 13. Her Word Is Bond: Navigating Hip Hop and Relationships in a Culture of Misogyny by Cristalle "Psalm One" Bowen Forthcoming from Haymarket Books Release date: April 26What it's about: A legend to scholars of rap, Psalm One blazed the trail for women in hip-hop. With Her Word Is Bond, she's telling her story. And it's one you'll want to pay attention to! Born Christalle Bowen in Englewood, Chicago, she received a scholarship to study chemistry and began working professionally as a chemist before self-releasing her first hip-hop album. She ran a music education program called Rhymeschool, worked with some of the brightest names in rap, and has her work taught around the globe. Psalm One offers up details of her life as a young girl, a chemist, a teacher, an artist — a woman to be celebrated.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 14. Fierce and Fearless, Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Gwendolyn Mink New York University Press Release date: May 3What it's about: Patsy Takemoto Mink — a third-generation Japanese American from Hawaii — was the first woman of color, and the first Asian American woman, elected to Congress. Mink is best known as the champion of Title IX, the legislation that made it possible for girls and women to participate in school sports at the same level as boys and men. What's wonderful about this biography is that it's co-written by historian Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Patsy Takemoto Mink's daughter, Gwendolyn, who witnessed many of the struggles her mother overcame. Mink was ahead of her time, advocating for race, gender, and class equality. She changed the future of American politics and the face of American education for good. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 15. Let Me Be Frank: A Book About Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do by Tracy Dawson Harper Design Release date: May 10What it's about: An entertaining, astonishing collection celebrating the diverse trailblazers who disguised themselves as men — continuously breaking society's rules and their government's laws — to gain access to opportunities they were denied because they were women. Let Me Be Frank is a witty, sometimes infuriating, wholly inspiring look at the lengths that women had to go to publish a book, run a marathon, set sail as a pirate, practice medicine, become a miner, or serve on the military front-lines. Many of these women made history simply by following their desires, proving that women can change the world when they're allowed to be their true selves. The book also offers beautiful full color illustrations by Tina Berning.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 16. Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back to Life by Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman Doubleday Books Release date: May 10What it's about: These four women — Iris Murdoch, Philippa Foot (best known for presenting the Trolley Problem), Elizabeth Anscombe, and Mary Midgley — were philosophy students at Oxford when most of the young men on campus were conscripted to fight in the Second World War. In contemplating their existence in "this new human reality of limitless depravity and destructive power," they developed a way of thinking that could respond to the darkest revelations of war. The women concluded that humans are, as the title suggests, metaphysical animals: Creatures who can question their very being. "Who am I? What is freedom? What is human goodness?" This philosophy, created by four women who shared apartments, clothing, ideas and lovers, paved the way for discussing ethics today.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 17. Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women's Suffrage Movement by Wendy L. Rouse New York University Press Release date: May 24What it's about: Queer people have often been erased from history where they've always experienced joy, found community, and changed culture with their fierce commitment to freedom. Public Faces, Secret Lives brings to life the work and names of the queer champions of the women's suffrage movement, restoring their rightful place in history and feminism, intersectional as it should be. Author Wendy L. Rouse highlights the radical, innovative action queer suffragists took to challenge traditions around family, love and death — and shows us how they had a lasting, crucial impact on the success of the suffrage movement.Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 18. What's the Score?: 25 Years of Teaching Women's Sports History by Bonnie J. Morris Red Lightning Books Release date: June 7What it's about: Every semester since 1996, What's the Score? author Dr. Bonnie Morris has taught a provocative college course titled "Athletics and Gender, A History of Women's Sports," tackling everything from corsets, to segregated schoolyards, to the WNBA. This book is Morris' dynamic teaching memoir; a look into both the content and "decades-long dialogue with student athletes" about the state of opportunity for women in the sports world — as coaches, players, and in sports media. Dr. Morris's memoir not only serves as a guide to the icons of women's sports history and the issues we should know about, but as a means for reflection on our personal history with women's sports: What did women's sports look like at your high school? How has Title IX impacted your local town? How much have things really changed since?Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 19. Gamer Girls: 25 Women Who Built the Video Game Industry by Mary Kenney (Illustrated by Salini Perera) Running Press Kids Release date: July 19What it's about: Women are behind many of your favorite video games. They've invented entire genres, built studios, written dialogue and musical scores, and changed the gaming industry forever. From the first-of-its-kind, projector-based Sumerian Game, to the now-a-Tom-Holland-live-action-movie game, Uncharted, women have always been (and always will be) involved in creating iconic video games. Among the 25 women featured in this book are Mabel Addis Mergardt, the first person to write a video game, and Yoko Shimomura, the composer for Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts. This would make a fantastic gift for the gamers (and aspiring video game designers) in your life!Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here. 20. We Are the Troopers: The Women of the Winningest Team in Pro Football History by Stephen Guinan Hachette Books Release date: August 30What it's about: The Toledo Troopers are "the winningest team" in the National Women’s Football League. It's an incredible story! Their team was only founded as a gimmick, against the backdrop of the call to pass the Equal Rights Amendment — but they went on to win seven league championships in the 1970s. The players were housewives, hairdressers, former nuns, bartenders, and mail carriers; They were Black, white, and Latina. Previously denied the right to even play, these women not only demolished traditional gender roles, but built a win-loss record never before or since achieved in American football! The book is written by Stephen Guinan, who grew up in Toledo as a fan of the team, and had full access to everyone who made the team what it was. Get it from Bookshop or at a local bookstore through Indiebound here.