Happy International Women’s Day! March 8 is a day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements worldwide.
When it comes to achievements, we of course have a penchant for the literary and bookish. So, to help you celebrate with us, we present a handful of books that centre a diversity of women and their many different experiences, struggles and achievements.
There’s Something in the Water
Ingrid R.G. Waldron
This is a story of struggle against the systemic racism that consistently sites toxic waste near communities of colour, and disempowers and attempts to delegitimize the rights of nearby residents. What is remarkable here is that the resistance against corporate and government power is so often led by women, like Louise Delisle in Shelburne, like Michelle Francis-Denny in Pictou Landing, and like the Mi’kmaw Water Protectors. Their stories are powerfully inspirational in part because their resistances have often been successful, and their own sense of community is unbreakable.
Salah’s often playful poetry covers an incredible range of styles and theme, delving into religion, sex, decolonialism, gender identity and feminism, with a highly informed yet introspective view on identity, best encapsulated in the single like: “I didn’t mean to become an I.” As critic Casey Stepaniuk notes, “the idea of the self permeates most corners of the book and informs its interrogation of the other themes.” Her analysis of self is empowering because it allows for the incredible complexity of individual identity, and all the history and context that goes into making each of us who we are.
Making Space for Indigenous Feminism
This is a powerful collection of essays by writers from around the world looking at diverse topics, all in an effort to bring together two crucial perspectives for the progress of humanity: feminism and anti-colonialism. It recognizes the intersections of colonialism, racism and sexism, and the fact that a crucial component of feminism is bridging with other social movements and analytical perspectives. These essays also seem to acknowledge the patriarchy as a colonial product–Indigenous traditions historically paid great respect to the essential roles women played in all societies.
Indigenous Women’s Theatre in Canada
Closely analyzing dramatic texts by Monique Mojica, Marie Clements and Yvette Nolan, Sarah MacKenzie explores representations of gendered colonialist violence. These plays provide an avenue for individual and potential cultural healing, by deconstructing some of the harmful ideological work performed by colonial misrepresentations of Indigeneity. They demonstrate the strength and persistence of Indigenous women, offering a space in which decolonial futurisms can be envisioned.
Amelia & Me
This is a story about how a courageous woman, Amelia Earhart (who once wrote that the soul that doesn’t know courage “Knows no release from little things: Knows not the livid loneliness of fear, Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear The sound of wings”), inspires 12-year-old Ginny Ross to become a pilot. It is a “big-hearted story of determination, grit, and adventure,” and it shows the importance of representation. If a woman in 1932 could fly, a young girl knew she too could become a pilot.