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Girl Talk: a guide to reading for young feminists and their allies


Even in a modern American, women face inequities born of millennia of patriarchal bias. Pervasive inequity persist. On average women are paid less, given diminished responsibilities, and judged based on perceived family interruptions. Micro inequities are more carefully hidden: a woman pronounced as assertive women being labeled “abrasive” or “bossy” when a man with the same qualities would bee seen as “confidant” or a leader; limited screen time for actresses; disparities in bathroom and locker room facilities. The fact is that many spheres of modern society have been and continue to be designed by men and for men.


Feature Book: The Handmaid’s Tale

Whether you read the book or watched the television series, Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, speculates about a future where the patriarchy has caste women according to traditional roles in society, robbing them of both choice and freedom. And while this is a word of speculative fiction, Atwood’s world draws upon ongoing forms of gender-based discrimination in today’s world: a women's role in the home, a devaluation of women in the workplace, and a censoring of women's actions and opinions in nearly every aspect of decision making.

Women's Issues In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

undefinedFor generations, women were limited in the roles that they were allowed to have outside of the home, with most women expected to focus all their energies on family and child rearing. As feminist movements have pushed for broader opportunities for women, awareness of discrimination in the workplaces has risen.

YA Feature: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (ebook)
Fourteen-year-old Joan, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself where a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of: a woman with a future. Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz takes readers on an exploration of feminism and housework and more.


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Women were long denied agency in the larger society. In the United States, one-half of American voices were muted until women won the vote in 1920, a short century ago. Since that time, women have been slowly permitted to enter into political life, and yet today's congress still includes only 25% women in a body that is representative of a society that is 50% female. Women were kept from serving in the U.S. military until 1976 but only earned the honor of serving in combat alongside their male teammates in 2013. Yet despite this disparity, women have played an outsized role in effecting social change through political movements (labor, civil rights, education and others) and through rarely recognized behind the scenes efforts.

YA Feature: Front Lines | Purple Hearts | Silver Stars by Michael Grant


1942. World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die.  But something has changed. A court decision makes females subject to the draft and eligible for service. So in this World War II, women and girls fight, too. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, three girls sign up to fight.  Not one expects to be on the front lines, but each will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. They will fear and they will rage; they will suffer and they will inflict suffering; they will hate and they will love. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

"I wanted to show as much of the reality of racism and misogyny and the more benign sexism as I could while staying as close to reality as possible....The reason World War II remains so fascinating is that it is a very rare example of a war that was absolutely necessary for us to fight....We had to win for human liberty to survive...[for] our belief in liberty, in tolerance, in equality before the law, in the rights of the individual." ~author, Michael Grant


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Prior to the 1972 passage of Title IX, a U.S. law outlining equal opportunities for young women to participate in school athletics, girls were often limited both in number of offerings and by rules of play that pandered to the idea that women were less physically able to withstand the physical activities that men enjoyed. Because of this landmark legislation, women's sports as grown from being mostly a high school and collegiate opportunity to include multiple professional leagues. Still, the recognition women receive has yet to garner the same attention or revenue generated by the multi-billion dollar industry.

Felicien, Bria. "3 Reasons Why We Need More YA Books About Girls Who Play Sports". Teen Vogue,3 Feb 2017.

YA Feature: Michigan vs. the Boys (ebook) by Carrie S. Allan

Hockey meets the #MeToo movement in this powerful debut novel. Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls' hockey team off the ice this year. If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there's still one team left in town ... The boys' team isn't exactly welcoming, but Michigan's prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and "harmless" pranks that always seem to target her. But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up --even if it means putting her future on the line.





NOTE: It's embarrassingly difficult to find a fiction novel that features a female athlete that
doesn't feature, or at least include, a storyline of first love. Romance is no longer the pinnacle
of what a girl can expect from life.  We need to do better. Have suggestions? Email us.



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