Hot Off the Presses!

New book releases!

  • Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion
    Jean H. Baker
    Hill and Wang

    Book cover: Margaret Sanger: A Life of PassionUndoubtedly the most influential advocate for birth control even before the term existed, Margaret Sanger ignited a movement that has shaped our society to this day. Her views on reproductive rights have made her a frequent target of conservatives and so-called family values activists. Yet lately even progressives have shied away from her, citing socialist leanings and a purported belief in eugenics as a blight on her accomplishments. In this captivating new biography, the renowned feminist historian Jean H. Baker rescues Sanger from such critiques and restores her to the vaunted place in history she once held.

    Trained as a nurse and midwife in the gritty tenements of New York’s Lower East Side, Sanger grew increasingly aware of the dangers of unplanned pregnancy—both physical and psychological. A botched abortion resulting in the death of a poor young mother catalyzed Sanger, and she quickly became one of the loudest voices in favor of sex education and contraception. The movement she started spread across the country, eventually becoming a vast international organization with her as its spokeswoman.

    Sanger’s staunch advocacy for women’s privacy and freedom extended to her personal life as well. After becoming a wife and mother at a relatively early age, she abandoned the trappings of home and family for a globe-trotting life as a women’s rights activist. Notorious for the sheer number of her romantic entanglements, Sanger epitomized the type of “free love” that would become mainstream only at the very end of her life. That she lived long enough to see the creation of the birth control pill—which finally made planned pregnancy a reality—is only fitting.

    Publisher's Book Synopsis


  • Markets and Bodies: Women, Service Work, and the Making of Inequality in China
    Eileen M. Otis
    Stanford University Press

    Book Cover: Markets and BodiesIInsulated from the dust, noise, and crowds churning outside, China's luxury hotels are staging areas for the new economic and political landscape of the country. These hotels, along with other emerging service businesses, offer an important, new source of employment for millions of workers, but also bring to light levels of inequality that surpass most developed nations.

    Examining how gender enables the globalization of markets and how emerging forms of service labor are changing women's social status in China, Markets and Bodies reveals the forms of social inequality produced by shifts in the economy. No longer working for the common good as defined by the socialist state, service workers are catering to the individual desires of consumers. This economic transition ultimately affords a unique opportunity to investigate the possibilities and current limits for better working conditions for the young women who are enabling the development of capitalism in China.

    Publisher's Book Synopsis


  • When Protest Makes Policy: How Social Movements Represent Disadvantaged Groups
    S. Laurel Weldon
    The University of Michigan Press
    Book cover: When Protest Makes PolicyWhat role do social movements play in a democracy? Political theorist S. Laurel Weldon demonstrates that social movements provide a hitherto unrecognized form of democratic representation, and thus offer a significant potential for deepening democracy and overcoming social conflict.
    Through a series of case studies of movements conducted by women, women of color, and workers in the United States and other member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Weldon examines processes of representation at the local, state, and national levels. She concludes that, for systematically disadvantaged groups, social movements can be as important—sometimes more important—for the effective articulation of a group perspective as political parties, interest groups, or the physical presence of group members in legislatures.
    When Protest Makes Policy contributes to the emerging scholarship on civil society as well as the traditional scholarship on representation. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with advancing social cohesion and deepening democracy and inclusion as well as those concerned with advancing equality for women, ethnic and racial minorities, the working class, and poor people. 
    "A must-read for scholars across a broad sweep of disciplines. Laurel Weldon weaves together skillfully the theoretical strands of gender equality policy, intersectionality, social movements, and representation in a multimethod/level comparative study that unequivocally places women's movements at the center of our understanding of democracy and social change."
    —Amy G. Mazur, Washington State University
    "Laurel Weldon's When Protest Makes Policyexpands and enriches our understanding of representation by stressing social movements as a primary avenue for the representation of marginalized groups. With powerful theory backed by persuasive analysis, it is a must-read for anyone interested in democracy and the representation of marginalized groups."
     —Pamela Paxton, University of Texas at Austin
    "This is a bold and exciting book. There are many fine scholars who look at women's movements, political theorists who make claims about democracy, and policy analysts who do longitudinal treatments or cross-sectional evaluations of various policies. I know of no one, aside from Weldon, who is comfortable with all three of these roles."
    —David Meyer, University of California, Irvine
    S. Laurel Weldon is Professor of Political Science at Purdue University.
  • An Islam of Her Own: Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
    Sherine Hafez
    NYU Press
    Book Cover: An Islam of Her OwnAs the world grapples with issues of religious fanaticism, extremist politics, and rampant violence that seek justification in either “religious” or “secular” discourses, women who claim Islam as a vehicle for individual and social change are often either regarded as pious subjects who subscribe to an ideology that denies them many modern freedoms, or as feminist subjects who seek empowerment only through rejecting religion and adopting secularist discourses. Such assumptions emerge from a common trend in the literature to categorize the ‘secular’ and the ‘religious’ as polarizing categories, which in turn mitigates the identities, experiences and actions of women in Islamic societies. Yet in actuality Muslim women whose activism is grounded in Islam draw equally on principles associated with secularism.
    In An Islam of Her Own, Sherine Hafez focuses on women’s Islamic activism in Egypt to challenge these binary representations of religious versus secular subjectivities. Drawing on six non-consecutive years of ethnographic fieldwork within a women's Islamic movement in Cairo, Hafez analyzes the ways in which women who participate in Islamic activism narrate their selfhood, articulate their desires, and embody discourses in which the boundaries are blurred between the religious and the secular.
    Sherine Hafez is an assistant professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Riverside, and the author of The Terms of Empowerment: Islamic Women’s Activism in Cairo.
    “This unique study of the personal narratives of women active in Islamic charity organizations in Cairo allows us to glimpse the surprisingly complicated and contemporary meanings for them of ‘Islam as a way of living.’”
    -Lila Abu-Lughod, author of Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories
    “A lucid account of the personal, community, and national forces that shape Egyptian Muslim women who engage in social activism as part of their commitment to religious ideals. This book seeks to go beyond the usual dichotomies that pit the secular and modern against the religious and traditional.”
    -Marnia Lazreg, author of Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women

    “Emphasizing narratives that explore modern selfhood and identity politics among Islamic activist women, Hafez examines the many contexts that transcend an opposition between religion and secularism. This timely, excellent book formulates new methodological and theoretical approaches relevant to anthropology, religious studies, gender studies, and Middle East studies.”
    -Susan Slyomovics, co-editor of Women and Power in the Middle East

    “Exquisitely captures the multi-faceted desires that draw Egyptian women into Islamic beliefs and practices. Compelling insights, challenging to key standing theories. Powerfully and convincingly argued.”
    -Suad Joseph, editor of Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures


  • Today I Am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah around the World
    Edited by Barbara Vinick and Shulamit Reinharz
    Indiana University Press

    Book Cover: Today I Am a WomanRecollections of the first bat mitzvah at the only synagogue in Indonesia, a poignant bat mitzvah memory of World War II Italy, and an American bat mitzvah shared with girls in a Ukrainian orphanage—these are a few of the resonant testimonies about the transition from Jewish girl to Jewish woman collected in Today I Am a Woman. Introduced by brief biographical notes and descriptions of Jewish communities around the world, these stories reveal how Judaism defines this important rite of passage in a girl's life in widely disparate settings. The contributions are from bat mitzvah girls of the past and present, their parents, communities, and religious leaders. Including evocative family photos—some recent, some from decades past—this rich compilation is an ideal gift for bat mitzvah celebrants, their families, and friends.

  • The Truth About Girls and Boys: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children
    Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett
    Columbia University Press
    Book cover: The Truth about Girls and BoysCaryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett are widely acclaimed for their analyses of women, men, and society. In The Truth About Girls and Boys, they tackle a new, troubling trend in the theorizing of gender: that the learning styles, brain development, motivation, cognitive and spatial abilities, and “natural” inclinations of girls and boys are so fundamentally different, they require unique styles of parenting and education.

    Ignoring the science that challenges these claims, those who promote such theories make millions while frightening parents and educators into enforcing old stereotypes and reviving unhealthy attitudes in the classroom. Rivers and Barnett unmake the pseudoscientific rationale for this argument, stressing the individuality of each child and the specialness of his or her talents and desires. They recognize that in our culture, girls and boys encounter different stimuli and experiences, yet encouraging children to venture outside their comfort zones helps them realize a multifaceted character. Educating parents, teachers, and general readers in the true nature of the gender game, Rivers and Barnett enable future generations to transform if not transcend the parameters of sexual difference.
    Caryl Rivers is professor of journalism at the College of Communication at Boston University. A nationally known author and journalist, she was awarded the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished work in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. Her articles have appeared in the The New York Times MagazineThe NationSaturday ReviewMs.Mother JonesMcCall's,GlamourRedbookRolling Stone, and Ladies' Home Journal. She writes for theWashington PostLos Angeles TimesBoston Globe, and Chicago Tribune and is the author of Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women, among other works of fiction and nonfiction.

    Rosalind C. Barnett is a senior scientist at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Her pioneering research on workplace issues and family life in America has been sponsored by major federal grants, and she is often invited to lecture at major venues in the United States and abroad. Dr. Barnett has a private clinical practice and is the author of scholarly and popular books and articles appearing in SelfWorking WomanMcCall'sLadies' Home JournalThe New York Times Magazine, and Working Woman. She is the recipient of the Radcliffe College Graduate Society's Distinguished Achievement Medal and the Anne Roe Award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education for her contribution to women's professional growth and the field of education. Both Barnett and Rivers received an honorable mention in the 2011 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism for their work in this field.
  • For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women's Work
    Sarah Damaske
    Oxford University Press
    Book cover: For the Family?Winner of the National Women's Studies Association's Sara Whaley Book Prize
    In the contentious debate about women and work, conventional wisdom holds that middle-class women can decide if they work, while working-class women need to work. Yet, even after the recent economic crisis, middle-class women are more likely to work than working-class women. Sarah Damaske deflates the myth that financial needs dictate if women work, revealing that financial resources make it easier for women to remain at work and not easier to leave it. Departing from mainstream research, Damaske finds three main employment patterns: steady, pulled back, and interrupted. She discovers that middle-class women are more likely to remain steadily at work and working-class women more likely to experience multiple bouts of unemployment. She argues that the public debate is wrongly centered on need because women respond to pressure to be selfless mothers and emphasize family need as the reason for their work choices. Whether the decision is to stay home or go to work, women from all classes say work decisions are made for their families. In For the Family?, Sarah Damaske at last provides a far more nuanced and richer picture of women, work, and class than the one commonly drawn.
    • Damaske investigates women of various classes and races, providing a comparison that is rarely seen in contemporary work-family research.
    "In this pathbreaking book, Sarah Damaske shows us what should have been obvious all along: financial resources actually help women find a good job and establish a stable career, rather than push them out of the workplace. Yet the pressure to be considered a good mother means women of all class backgrounds describe their actions as a matter of family need rather than personal desire. Beautifully written and persuasively argued, For the Family? overturns conventional wisdom and compels us to reconsider what we thought we knew about women and work."--Kathleen Gerson, Professor of Sociology, New York University, and author of The Unfinished Revolution
    "At a moment when messages about working mothers have never been more mixed, For the Family? provides a bracing fact check. Moving beyond facile understandings, Sarah Damaske gives us a much-needed exploration of women across the class and race spectrum, revealing commonalities and differences in their weaving of work and family. Nuanced and insightful, this meticulously researched book offers a new take on work and motherhood which gives lie to the mommy wars."--Pamela Stone, Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of Opting Out?
    "Sarah Damaske probes the complex factors that influence how and why women move in and out of the labor force during their 20s and 30s, the years when the demands of constructing both families and careers are most intense. Her challenge to the usual dichotomies between women who 'need' to work and women who 'choose' to cut back or quit their jobs advances our understanding of the interplay between work, family, class, and race."--Stephanie Coontz, Member of the Faculty, History and Family Studies, Evergreen State College, and author of A Strange Stirring
    Sarah Damaske is Assistant Professor of Labor Studies & Employment Relations and Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University
  • In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate
    Nancy Gertner

    From a "Human Rights Hero," a memoir of her illustrious career litigating groundbreaking cases

    Today Judge Nancy Gertner dons a long black robe while presiding over court cases for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. But in the 1970s, when she was one of few women in a stubbornly male profession, she sported bright red suits that reflected her fearless choice of cases and her daring litigation tactics. Defending clients in some of the most prominent criminal and civil rights cases of the time, Gertner drove home the point that women lawyers belonged in our courtrooms.

    In 1975, Nancy Gertner launched her legal career by defending antiwar activist Susan Saxe, who was on trial for her role in a robbery that resulted in the murder of a police officer. It was a high-profile, complex, and highly charged case. What followed for Gertner was a career of other groundbreaking firsts, as she fought her way through the boys' club climate of the time, throwing herself into criminal and civil cases focused on women's rights and civil liberties.

    Looking back on her storied career, Gertner writes about her struggle to succeed personally and professionally while working on benchmark cases. Among her clients were a woman suing the psychiatrist who had repeatedly molested her; another on trial for murdering her abusive husband; Teresa Contardo, suing Merrill Lynch for discrimination; and Clare Dalton, suing Harvard Law School for the same offense. In her signature red suit, Nancy Gertner was always the unrepentant advocate in defense of women. But over the years she also represented a student accused of rape; Ted Anzalone, on trial for extortion; and Matthew Stuart, implicated in his brother Charles's infamous murder of his pregnant wife.

    In Defense of Women is the one-of-a-kind memoir of an exceptional, self-proclaimed "outsider lawyer."


  • Up the Capitol Steps: A Woman's March to the Governorship
    Barbara Roberts
    Oregon State University Press

    Book cover: Up the Capitol StepsUp the Capitol Steps is a personal and political memoir by Oregon’s first (and only) woman governor, one of only thirty-four women who have served as state chief executives in the history of the United States. Barbara Roberts offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a woman’s life in politics and aims to “demystify” leadership by telling the story of her own unlikely rise to power.

    The mother of an autistic child before the advent of special education, Roberts began her life in public service as an advocate for the rights of children with disabilities. She documents her expanding political career from school board member to legislator to Secretary of State and finally, Governor. In this gripping and poignant memoir, hotly contested elections and tough policy decisions are interspersed with intimate details of personal ups and downs. Throughout, Roberts reveals the warmth and humor that show the “real” person behind the politician.
    Only the third published autobiography by an American woman head of state, Up the Capitol Steps is “a very significant contribution to Oregon history, the history of women in politics, and especially the history of women governors,” according to series editor Melody Rose. The book captures a period of our nation’s political history and a view of women’s expanding role in government that brings new understanding to the term, “social revolution.”
    Listen to Barbara Roberts on OPB's Think Out Loud.
  • Tough Cookies: Leadership Lessons from 100 Years of the Girl Scouts
    Kathy Cloninger
    Book cover: Tough CookiesMillions of American businesswomen, thought leaders, and politicians received their first lessons in salesmanship, money management, marketing, teamwork, and fulfillment in the Girl Scouts. The Girls Scouts has shaped the lives of more than 50 million alumnae alive today. Eighty percent of American female senior business executives and business owners are former Girl Scouts. In March 2012, the Girl Scouts will celebrate their 100th anniversary. Tough Cookies captures the essence of this iconic organization and the principles that have allowed them to build and sustain a 100-year-old organization.
    Under current CEO Kathy Cloninger's leadership, the Girl Scouts has transformed and enhanced its ability to develop leadership in young women. Tough Cookiesoutlines the rise of the Girl Scouts, this recent and dramatically successful shift, and lessons that are applicable to make any business or organization a success.
    • An inspiring story of the Girl Scouts founding, along with leadership and business lessons that can be applied to organizations of any size
    • No other organization compares to Girl Scouts in size, experience, and resources devoted to developing leadership skills
    • Publication coincides with the 100-year anniversary of GSUSA