by Hannah Bressler
This book is a beautifully written and well-organized overview of women's political movements around the world. Even if you are already well acquainted with world history or the many uprisings of oppressed people, this book will teach you the limits of your own perspective.
Freedman documents stories of women reimagining their rights from all over the globe. From the women who demanded the right to vote in Egypt, or the history of genital cutting in Nigeria (and it's use as a show of defiance when the occupying colonialists outlawed the practice) Freedman explores many forms of social engineering or accidental outcomes from political action.
She explains all kinds of major ideological differences between branches of feminism in United States (and gives an in depth explanation of it's connection to the abolitionist movement.) She offers many considerations to the limits and rights of marriage in several different cultures. She covers worker's movements around the world and reveals how, for many people, surviving poverty is the more urgent need than say, resisting workplace sexism. She explains the struggle for non-traditional sexuality, the politics of motherhood and prostitution, and so much more. She entices us to learn about the shifting position of gender around the world.
Freedman doesn't only tell us to be aware of women's social injustices, she tells us the history of how that situation came to be and the story of what happens when people get organized around changing it. I think we all need this book for it's educational element, but also for the inspiring activism that affects how communities think and how governments act.
As Aiano reminds me, "Feminism paints with a wide brush." No matter what associations you have with feminists, this book will challenge that narrative you are telling yourself. And trust me, you need it to be challenged.
Note: There is a free PDF of this book here. Click the first link.