Born OTD in 1952, author and professor, feminist & activist, Gloria Jean Watkins, AKA, bell hooks. The focus of hooks’ writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. In this classic study, cultural critic bell hooks examines how black women, from the 17th century to the present day, were and are oppressed by both white men and black men and by white women. Illustrating her analysis with moving personal accounts, Ain’t I a Woman is deeply critical of the racism inherent in the thought of many middle-class white feminists who have failed to address issues of race and class.

While acknowledging the conflict of loyalty to race or sex is still a dilemma, hooks challenges the view that race … More

Born OTD in 1944, American Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Donna Haraway. She is a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology studies, and is the author of numerous foundational books and essays that bring together questions of science and feminism, such as “A Cyborg Manifesto”.

Haraway’s `A Cyborg Manifesto’ is a key postmodern text and is widely taught in many disciplines as one of the … More

Born OTD in 1759, English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences.

Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should receive a … More

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty & machismo like Duke & King & Lord; where boastful ringleaders fired guns into the air after descending a throne carried by their legions of followers, bandoliers crisscrossing their chests, ermine on their shoulders; where violent gangs stormed dances to “mash up,” breaking sound system equipment & smashing bottles of beer on brick walls, how was a little girl with a sweet song in her soul to have a chance? Some Jamaican women found a way. They endured harassment & received little or no pay to perform as backup or alongside or in front of the male musicians.

They sacrificed family & home for a life in the spotlight, or they brought their babies with them on the … More

Born on 9 January 1908, French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir. Of all the writing that emerged from the existentialist movement, Simone de Beauvoir’s groundbreaking study of women will probably have the most extensive and enduring impact. It is at once a work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, from the pen of a writer and novelist of penetrating imaginative power.

In 1946, Simone de Beauvoir began to outline what she thought would be an autobiographical essay explaining why, when she … More

Born OTD in 1962, American author, journalist and feminist, Naomi Wolf. Wolf posits the idea of an “iron-maiden,” an intrinsically unattainable standard that is then used to punish women physically and psychologically for their failure to achieve and conform to it. Wolf criticized the fashion and beauty industries as exploitative of women, but added that the beauty myth extended into all areas of human functioning

Wolf writes that women should have “the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being … More

Newman writes about the pioneering women who defied the odds to make careers for themselves and alter the course of modern history; women who achieved what they achieved while dismantling hostile, entrenched views about their place in society. Their role in transforming Britain is fundamental, far greater than has generally been acknowledged, and not just in the arts or education but in fields like medicine, politics, law, engineering and the military.

While a few of the women in this book are now household names, many have faded into oblivion, their personal … More