Books

This is a partial list of books highlighting women’s history. If you would like to have a book added to the list, please contact us.

Ancient Women

Sarah Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives And Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity
The basic textbook on women’s history in Greece and Rome

Leonie Archer, Women in Ancient Societies
A collection of essays on women’s lives and their representations in ancient societies

Medieval Women

Henrietta Leyser, Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450 – 1500
Exploration of the attitudes towards and the intellectual and spiritual worlds of Medieval women

Helen Castor, She-Wolves
A study of medieval queenship, looking at the Queens of England that preceded Queen Elizabeth I

 16th Century Women

Anne Chambers, Granuaile: Ireland’s Pirate Queen
Biography of 16th century Grace O’Malley

Barbara Sjoholm, The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O’Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea
Collection of stories of women’s contributions to sea faring as sailors, ship builders and storm witches 

17th Century Women 

Antonia Fraser, The Weaker Vessel: Woman’s Lot in Seventeenth Century England
An examination of women of all backgrounds in the 17th century 

Maria Kroll, Sophie, Electress of Hanover: A Personal Portrait
Biography of the patroness of the arts and heiress presumptive of the English throne

18th Century Women 

Jane Aiken Hodge, Passion and Principle: Loves and Lives of Regency Women
Examines the lives of upper class women living in the UK from 1780 to 1820

Karen O’Brien, Women and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Women rewritten into the Enlightenment narrative as participants rather than subjects 

Erica Harth, Cartesian Women: Versions and Subversions of Rational Discourse in the Old Regime
Examination of how women in 17th and 18th century France contributed to rational discourse 

19th Century Women 

Enid Moberly Bell, Josephine Butler
Narrative of the life of the Victorian activist who campaigned for the welfare of prostitutes

 Gerry Holloway, Women and Work in Britain Since 1840
Chronological examination of over 150 years of women’s employment history and struggle 

Louise Raw, Striking a Light: The Bryant and May Matchwomen and Their Place in History
Account of the strike in 1888 and how it has been hidden and manipulated by historians 

Harriet Taylor Mill and John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women
Essay published in 1869 arguing in opposition to social and legal inequalities imposed on women; many publications refuse the credit Harriet Taylor Mill as co-author

Jane Robinson, Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education
Stories of the heroines who fought for education and first account of early women students 

20th Century Women 

Tony Barnsley, Breaking their Chains: Mary Macaurther and the Chainmakers’ Strike of 1910
Women strike in Cradley Heath, win minimum wage for the first time and double their pay

Martha Gellhorn, The View From the Ground
A collection of essays by the veteran journalist covering events from the 1930s to 1980s 

Amrit Wilson, Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain
Study and recounting of the experiences of Asian women in the 1960s and 1970s

Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie and Suzanne Scafe, The Heart of the Race. Black Women’s Lives in Britain
Places black women’s experience and resistance at the forefront of history

Patricia Hollis, Jennie Lee: A Life
Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing Biography of the Labour party MP who became a MP in 1929 at the age of 24, when she was too young to vote, served as Minister for the Arts for 6 years and was instrumental in the creation of the Open University  

Kira Cochrane, Women of the Revolution: Forty Years of Feminism
Collection of feminist writing published in The Guardian from 1970 onwards

Kate Evan, Thank You Greenham
One woman’s memories of direct action, an insightful view into day to day life at Greenham common women’s peace camp 

Sasha Roseneil, Common Women: Uncommon Practices: Queer Feminisms of Greenham
A book about the mass social movement of the women’s peace camp at Greenham common

Helen Graham et al (eds), The Feminist Seventies
Articles offering perspectives of the feminist movement in the 1970s

Beatrix Campbell, Wigan Pier Revisited
Retracing of George Orwell’s footsteps during the 1980s, but including examination of women’s lives

Rosemary Sales, Women Divided: Gender, Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland
Exploration of the impact of societal divisions in Northern Ireland on women

Sheila Rowbotham, A Century of Women: The History of Women in Britain and the United States, Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the 20th Century and Hidden From History: 300 Years of Women’s Oppression and the Fight Against It
Readable and broad ranging studies of western women’s experiences

Eleanor Mills (ed), Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs: 100 Years of the Best Journalism by Women
Anthology of writing by women journalists

Charlotte Mosley, The Mitfords
Letters of the Mitford sisters

Phoolan Devi, I Phoolan Devi: The Autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen
The dacoit who delivered justice to rape victims and stole from the rich to give to the poor

Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
The story of working class (women’s) determination to achieve self-education

 Women and Suffrage 

Anne Haverty, Constance Markievicz: Irish Revolutionary
Biography of the politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist

Jane Purvis, Emmeline Pankhurst: A Biography
Biography of one of the leaders of the suffrage movement

Hannah Mitchell, The Hard Way Up
Autobiography of dressmaker, trade unionist, suffragette, pacifist and Manchester city councillor

Glenda Norquay (ed.), Voices and Votes: A Literary Anthology of the Women’s Suffrage Campaign
Literary texts from the early 20th century offering perspective on the campaign for votes 

Melanie Phillips, The Ascent of Women
Story of the fight for women’s suffrage

Elizabeth Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide
Reference guide covering the suffrage movement from 1866 to 1928 

Julia Bush, Women Against the Vote: Female Anti-Suffragism in Britain
Account of maternal reformers, women writers and imperialist ladies active against the vote

 Women and the Visual Arts 

Wendy Buonaventura, I Put a Spell on You: Dancing Women from Salome to Madonna
A worldwide history of dance and dance styles 

Walter MacQueen-Pope, The melodies linger on: The story of music hall
Theatrical history of music hall and the women who performed there 

Diana McLellan, The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood
Women in film from the silent era until the 1950s 

James Morton, Lola Montez: Her Life and Conquests
Biography of actress, dancer and the most famous courtesan of the nineteenth century

 Women and War 

Vera Brittain, Chronicle Of Youth: Great War Diary, 1913-1917
Diaries of a woman whose experiences during the First World War led her to pacificism

Norman Gooding, Honours and Awards to Women to 1914
Looks at the contribution which women made in campaigns where men received an award but they did not and, later, at those campaign medals which actually were issued to women prior to the First World War. 

Lucie Aubrac, Outwitting the Gestapo
Autobiographical account of experiences during the French Resistance, May 1943 to June 1944

Shrabani Basu, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan
Descended from Indian royalty, Noor was a British secret agent in the Second World War 

Joyce Chapman Lebra, Women Against the Raj: the Rani of Jhansi Regiment
History of the women’s unit of the Indian army, fighting for independence from Britain during WWII

Anne de Courcy, Debs at War
Experiences of young women living through the Second World War

Rita Kramer, Flames in the Field: Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France
True story of four SOE agents sent into Nazi occupied France during the Second World War

Giles Whittell, Spitfire Women of World War II
Social history of women pilots flying missions during the Second World War

Kate Adie, Corsets to Camouflage: Women and War
Women and the armed forces, from camp followers to war correspondents and soldiers

Cynthia Cockburn, From Where We Stand: Women’s Activism and Feminist Analysis
Study of women’s resistance to war across the world  

Women and Science

Ruth Bleier, ed., Feminist Approaches to Science
Application of feminist analyses and perspectives to the theories and practices of science

Patricia Fara, Pandora’s Breeches, Newton: The Making of a Genius and Scientists Anonymous
Books covering the instrumental yet overlooked contributions women have made to science 

Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science
Exploration of scientific history and the possibilities of a gender free science 

Muriel Lederman and Ingrid Bartsch (eds), The Gender and Science Reader
Analysis of the gender, class and racial prejudices of modern science 

Caroline Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution
Traces the scientific revolution and its effects on women, the environment and science today 

Sandra Harding, Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?: Thinking from Women’s Lives
Essays examining science and its practice and history from a feminist perspective

Londa Schiebinger, The Mind Has No Sex?: Women in the Origins of Modern Science and Nature’s Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science
Historical studies exploring the influence of sex roles in the development of modern science and profiles of women scientists who resisted prejudice 

Ann B. Shteir, Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Flora’s Daughters and Botany in England, 1760-1860
Evidence detailing the significant role of women in the study and popularisation of botany

Ruth Watts, Women in Science: A Social and Cultural History
Detailed survey of the history behind scientific engagement on race, gender and masculinity

Women in World History

Elaine Morgan, Descent of Women
Woman centred account of evolution written in opposition to prevailing focus on ‘man as hunter’

Roberta Gilchrist, Gender and Archaeology: Contesting the Past
Examination of the impact of feminist perspectives on archaeology 

Rosalind Miles, The Women’s History of the World
Reappraisal aiming to re-establish women’s importance at the centre of worldwide history 

Rosalind Miles, Warrior Women – 3000 Years of Courage and Heroism
A collection of biographies of amazing women from all over the world

Juliet Mitchell, Women: The Longest Revolution
Essays in Feminism, literature and Psychoanalysis

Estelle Freedman. No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women
An overview of the history of feminism and its political roots and objectives

Dale Spender, Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them
Attempt to redress the erasure of women from history by detailing women’s thoughts and ideas over three centuries 

Elaine Showalter, A Jury of Her Peers: American Woman Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx
Comprehensive history of American women’s literature

Gerda Lerner, Why History Matters, Creation of Patriarchy and The Rise of Feminist Consciousness
Three wonderful books by the founder of women’s and African American history

 Fiction

Marge Piercy, The Longings of Women
This novel looks at the lives of three women (Becky, Leila and Mary) who do not fit into society, how their lives become entwined adn Study and how they start supporting each other