Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

Every year March 8 is observed as International Women's Day, "a global day celebrating the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present and future." The theme for this years celebration is "equal rights, equal opportunities -- progress for all." To mark the occasion, here are a few titles available from Accent on Books dealing with the triumphs and struggles of women in today's world. (Books are hardcover unless otherwise noted.)

Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristoff & Sheryl WuDunn. Two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters present stories of courageous women throughout the world fighting for justice and equality. The authors explain that expanding rights for women is not only the right thing to do but also a key to overcoming global poverty.

This Child Will Be Great, by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In 2006, Sirleaf was sworn in as President of Liberia. Here, she tells her remarkable story: from imprisonment and exile, through her career in international finance and development, to becoming the first woman president in African history.

Jesus, Jobs and Justice, by Bettye Collier-Thomas. A book that uncovers the often hidden history of African-American women and their struggle for equal rights and justice within the context of Christianity. Collier-Thomas shows how the Christian faith was an inspiration in the fight for equality, but also how the institutional Church set up barriers of racism and sexism that these women had to overcome.

In the Land of Invisible Women, by Qanta A. Ahmed, M.D. (paperback). In this memoir Ahmed, a British Muslim doctor, takes a job in Saudi Arabia after being denied a visa to stay in the United States. While she finds hostility and discrimination as a professional woman in the Kingdom, she also finds moments of grace, and unexpected strength in her Islamic faith.

A Thousand Sisters, by Lisa J. Shannon. Lisa Shannon was living a comfortable life in the United States when she became aware of the horrific conditions for women in the war-torn Congo. This is the story of her awakening to activism and about how, armed with passion and determination, each of us can make a difference.

I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala (paperback). The second edition of the now classic autobiography written by the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner. A stirring, powerful tale of the indigenous communities of Latin America, and their efforts to overcome oppression.

The Challenge for Africa, by Wangari Maathai. Founder of the Green Belt Movement, Maathai is another Nobel Laureate. In her new book she offers a realistic yet hopeful set of proposals for overcoming poverty in Africa through responsible development and environmental protection. Wangarai Maathai's memoir, Unbowed, is also available, in a paperback edition.

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