Women's Rights

Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril and Romance by Marthe Jocelyn

Mable Riley

1901, Ontario, Canada

Riding the train to a small farming community, young Mable and her older—and rather bossily annoying—sister Viola are about to embark on an autumn of possibilities, although certainly everything seems dull as dishwater on the surface. Goodhand Farm, where they will be rooming, seems the same as countless other family dairy farms, and the one-room school where 19-year-old Viola will be teaching seems much like countless others across territory.  But there are some very important details in Marthe Jocelyn’s book, Mabel Riley, that change the dull into the brilliant to illuminate the friction of a swiftly changing world.

Mayada: Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival under Saddam Hussein

By Jean P. Sasson

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"Mayada was born into a powerful Iraqi family. One grandfather fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. The other is acclaimed as the first true Arab nationalist. Her uncle was Prime Minister for nearly forty years, her mother an important politician. When Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath party seized power, and instituted his reign of terror, Mayada found herself alone in Baghdad, a divorced parent of two children, earning a meagre living printing brochures. Until one morning in August 1999 when she was summarily arrested and dragged to the notorious Baladiyat Prison, falsely accused of printing anti-government propaganda.

"There she was thrown into a cell with 17 'shadow women'. Like latter-day Sherezades, these women passed their days, while waiting for the next interrogation and torture session, telling each other their stories. They were eager to hear Mayada's stories of her privileged former life, of the history of her proud family, of kings and queens, of meetings with Saddam himself. Not only the story of a woman intimately connected to Iraq's cultured, ancient history, this book is a powerful witness to the terror and horror wrought by Saddam on the lives and souls of its ordinary citizens."

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Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: An Illustrated History

By Geoffrey C. Ward

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"With contributions by noted historians Ann D. Gordon and Ellen Carol Dubois, and dozens of evocative contemporary photographs, Not for Ourselves Alone provides a view of the suffrage movement through the eyes of the women who fought hardest for it. 'We are sowing winter wheat,' Stanton confided to her diary, 'which the coming spring will see sprout and which other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.' Indeed, neither Stanton nor Anthony lived to be able to cast a ballot. But Burns and Ward have assured them of a larger place in the American memory--as is their right."

This book was written in conjunction with Ken Burns' documentary.

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The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice

By Sandra Day O'Connor

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"Tracing some of the origins of American law through history, people, and ideas, O'Connor sheds new light on the basics, and through personal observation she explores the development of institutions and ideas we have come to regard as fundamental. O'Connor discusses notable cases that have shaped American democracy and the Court as we know it today, and she traces the turbulent battle women have fought for a place in our nation's legal system since America's inception. Straight-talking, clear-eyed, inspiring, The Majesty of the Law is more than a reflection on O'Connor's own experiences as the first female Justice of the Supreme Court; it also contains a discussion of how the suffrage movement changed the lives of women--in voting booths, jury boxes, and homes across the country."

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A Woman of Egypt

By Jihan Sadat

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"This is an autobiography by Jehan Sadat, widow of Anwar el Sadat, tracing her early life in Cairo where she had a middle-class Egyptian upbringing, to when she was 17 and fell in love with a divorced revolutionary. She recounts how she and Anwar Sadat overcame her parents' objections to their marriage and how she was soon the wife of a rising political leader who was an intimate of President Nasser. When the President died unexpectedly, Anwar Sedat succeeded him. Thus Jehan Sadat began her life as wife of a political leader and tells of how she was the first wife of a Muslim leader to have her picture in a newspaper, to travel alone outside her own country and to take up public causes.

"Her courageous achievements in a world dominated by men and strict cultural traditions included reforming the divorce laws, setting up co-operatives for peasant women, nursing wounded veterans from Egypt's wars with Israel and supporting her husband who was under continuous attack. Her story concludes with the events surrounding her husband's assassination by right-wing fundamentalists."

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Twenty Years at Hull-House, with Autobiographical Notes

By Jane Addams

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Originally published in 1910, this was Jane Addams' most successful book. Now regarded as a classic of American social history, this first annotated edition is issued on the occasion of the Hull-House centennial.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

By Azar Nafisi

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Nafisi details her experiences in Iran from 1979 to 1997, when she taught English literature in Tehran universities and hosted a private seminar on Western literature for female university students. Born and raised in Iran, the author offers readers a personal account of events in the postrevolutionary period that are often generalized by other writers.

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Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

By Roya Hakakian

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A Jew in a land where Islamic fundamentalism grew ever stronger, Roya was twelve when the revolution came, closing opportunities to the young woman even as she matured into a brilliant student.

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Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope

By Shirin Ebadi

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The Nobel Peace Prize-winner speaks of her pre-revolution law career in Iran, the ideals behind that revolution, and her difficult life in the reality which its leaders brought to the country. Demoted by authorities who believe women are unfit to be judges, she nevertheless fought on for the rights of women and children, despite imprisonment and assasination attempts.

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If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights

By Anne Kamma

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In the familiar question-and-answer format, this installment in the acclaimed If You Lived . . . history series tells the exciting story of how women worked to get equal rights with men, culminating in the 19th amendment to the Constitution.
(From the publisher's description)

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