Women's History Month 2022 for Adults

Women’s History Month is a beautiful thing! In the United States, it began as Women’s History Week in 1981. Realizing that the breadth and depth of women’s history is too massive and important a subject for one week, Congress expanded it into Women’s History Month in 1987. The history and contributions of women are often hidden, unrecognized or ignored, but that is beginning to change. At Denver Public Library, we celebrate Women’s History Month all year round by providing quality literature written by, for, and about women. In March, we like to shed even more light on the topic of women’s history. We hope you enjoy this list highlighting the incredible diversity, intelligence, drive, and dedication that women contribute to our world and our history.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

With humor and levity, Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Alvarez, Julia

Set in in the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo dictatorship, this is a beautifully written novel about the magical Mirabal sisters. Based on a true story of faith and resistance.

Armstrong, Jennifer Keishin

It was the Golden Age of Radio and powerful men were making millions in advertising dollars, reaching thousands of listeners every day. When television arrived, few radio moguls were interested in the upstart industry and its tiny production budgets. Expensive television sets were out of reach for most families. But four women, each an independent visionary, saw an opportunity and carved their own paths, and in so doing invented the way people watch TV today.

Bren, Paulina

Story of the first women-only residential hotel in New York City. Opened in 1927, it catered to women looking for careers in the arts and housed many now famous authors, actresses and activists.

Brontë, Anne

The mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall is a strong-minded woman who keeps her own counsel. Narrated by her neighbor Gilbert Markham, and in the pages of her own diary, the novel portrays Helen Graham's eloquent struggle for independence at a time when the law and society defined a married woman as her husband's property. Largely considered to be the first feminist text written in English.

Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855, author.

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit, and falls in love. But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again? The pursuit of true love is an important representation of her struggle for self-realization.

Burke, Tarana

From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the "me too" movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words--me too--and how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history.

Butler, Octavia E.

A compelling story about the experiences of a contemporary woman who is summoned to 1819 Maryland and lives as an enslaved woman.

Cha, Steph

Linked stories of intergenerational trauma and race relations in L.A., set in the 1980's and the now. Both a mystery and the story of two families -- one African American and one Korean -- connected by acts of violence.

Chiaverini, Jennifer

A fictionalized telling of the life of Ada Byron King, the world's first computer programmer.

Criado-Perez, Caroline

Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender by treating men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems.

danforth, emily m.

A story within a story about strange happenings at a girls' school, and the movie that is being made about it decades later. Feminist and lesbian positive!

Gay, Roxane

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). A sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

Glover, Nicole

Featuring the indomitable Hetty Rhodes, who escaped life as an enslaved woman, acted as a conductor for the Underground Railroad, and continues to work for racial and economic justice after the Civil War.

Harjo, Joy

In the early 1800s, the Muscogee people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family's lands and opens a dialogue with history.

Haynes, Natalie

A re-visioning of the Trojan War and the fall of Troy from the perspectives of its women follows the stories of a vigil-keeping Penelope, an Amazon princess rival of Achilles, and three goddesses whose feud sparks a tragic conflict.

Holt, Nathalia

This is the untold story of the women of Walt Disney Studios who shaped the iconic films that have enthralled generations. While battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace intimidation, these women also fought to transform the way female characters are depicted to young audiences.

hooks, bell

A classic work of feminist scholarship, this book has become a must-read for all those interested in the nature of Black womanhood. Examining the impact of sexism on Black women during slavery, the devaluation of Back womanhood, Black male sexism, racism among feminists, and the Black woman's involvement with feminism, hooks attempts to move us beyond racist and sexist assumptions. The result is nothing short of groundbreaking.

James, Laura E.

Laura James didn't understand why her perceptions of the world were so different until she was diagnosed with autism in her 40's.

Lee, Mackenzi

The title says it all! Stories of women from across the world and across history who defied cultural and gender expectations to get things done.  

Marçal, Katrine

Our traditional notions about men and women have delayed innovations, sometimes by hundreds of years, and have distorted our understanding of our history. Marçal takes us on a tour of the global economy, arguing that gendered assumptions dictate which businesses get funding, how we value work, and how we trace human progress.

Mock, Janet

Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community--and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms. With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population.

Montell, Amanda

A brash, enlightening, and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us.

Moore, Wayétu

Three extraordinary people use their unusual powers to protect the fledgling state of Liberia.

Nimura, Janice P.

New biography of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in American to receive her M.D., and her sister Emily, also a skilled physician in her own right.

Otsuka, Julie

A tour de force of economy and precision, this is a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as 'picture brides' nearly a century ago.

Parker-Chan, Shelley

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her dead brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

Povich, Lynn

On March 16, 1970, Newsweek magazine hit newsstands with a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled "Women in Revolt." That same day, 46 Newsweek women, Lynn Povich among them, announced they'd filed an EEOC complaint charging their employer with "systematic discrimination" against them in hiring and promotion.

Quinn, Kate

Brings to light the contribution of  Allied women who faced danger and made huge personal sacrifices by acting as spies during World War I.

Roundtree, Dovey Johnson

The autobiography of Ms. Roundtree, who broke racial and gender barriers in the military and in her work as a civil rights attorney.

Shetterly, Margot Lee

Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.

Spotswood, Stephen

Unusual and cool locked-room noir murder mystery set in 1942, with a pair of stylish lesbian detectives.

Stewart, Amy

A novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Telfer, Tori

A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history's notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams.

Traister, Rebecca

Long before Pantsuit Nation, before the Women's March, and before the #MeToo movement, women's anger was not only politically catalytic--but politically problematic. The story of female fury and its cultural significance demonstrates the long history of bitter resentment that has enshrouded women's slow rise to political power in America, as well as the ways that anger is received when it comes from women as opposed to when it comes from men.

Walker, Alice

The story of two sisters -- one a missionary to Africa and the other a child wife living in the South -- who remain loyal to one another across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.

Williams, Paula Stone

A moving and unforgettable memoir of a transgender pastor's journey from despair to joy as she transitioned from male to female and learned about gender inequity, at home and in the workplace.

Woods, Rita

The fight for freedom and against racism, in multiple countries and times in history.