September 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups—to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long (white, cis, heterosexual, male); and to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us.

Here’s to all the great writers out there toiling away to make us think, learn, feel and fly … and to the 30 on this list.  

When Women Were King

The Woman King, a new film starring Viola Davis, reclaims the narrative of the fiercely resistant African “Amazons.”

“My hope is that young African-descended girls and women see themselves in these powerful women. I hope they too will aspire for greatness.”

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Brittney Griner’s Detention Matters for All Women; Is Serena Williams Retiring on Her Own Terms?

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation in politics, on boards, in sports and entertainment, in judicial offices and in the private sector in the U.S. and around the world—with a little gardening and goodwill mixed in for refreshment!

This week: Is Serena Williams retiring on her own terms?; progress for women in Kenyan politics; India falls behind for parity; Brittney Griner’s detention is a travesty; women of color are well-positioned to take power after the Minnesota primaries; New York Times endorses three white men; and more.

Rest in Power: Urvashi Vaid, the Queer Movement’s Legendary Firebrand

There has never been a queer leader like Urvashi Vaid. Until her death of metastatic breast cancer on May 14 at age 63, she spent the better part of five decades fighting injustice. Principle drove Urvashi in almost everything she did. She exploded onto the scene with a dynamism that has never been equaled since.

“The lesbian agenda is the reconstruction of families … the reimagining of power … the reorganization of the economic system … the reinforcement of civil rights and dignity for all people … the end of the oppression of women, the end of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia … the reestablishment of a proper relationship to our environment. … When I list this laundry list of oppression, it does not overwhelm me; it tells me how far I have to go in my struggle; it tells me who my allies are.”

Ms. Global: Historic Kenyan Elections; Malaysia Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill; Germany Introduces Self-Determination Act

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.

This week: news from India, Germany, Malaysia, Iran, and more.

Ms. Global: Iranian Women Unveil in Protest; Hungary Sued Over Anti-LGBTQ Law; Sierra Leone Overturns Abortion Ban

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.

Abortion Providers From Around the World Share the Dangers of Practicing Under Bans

Over the last 30 years, only four countries have restricted access to abortion: Poland, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the U.S. While the leaked Supreme Court decision is cause for alarm, it is also a reminder of how far we’ve come, and why we cannot turn back the clock in countries that have liberalized abortion. Stories of abortion providers in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Nepal of life before their countries legalized abortion show the U.S. how restricting abortion rights can endanger women’s lives.

I Am Not a Slave to the Biological Clock

A biological pull, no matter how powerful, is not an imperative. In fact, while there is surely the possibility that I will one day regret not having had a child, there is an equal possibility that I would regret having had one—a possibility so terrifying that our failure to warn young people of its existence (just Google “I regret having children,” and be prepared for a ride) seems grossly negligent.