100 books like Counting for Nothing

By Marilyn Waring,

Here are 100 books that Counting for Nothing fans have personally recommended if you like Counting for Nothing. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Parity of the Sexes

Valerie M. Hudson Author Of The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

From my list on feminist international relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Valerie M. Hudson is a University Distinguished Professor and holds the George H.W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. Hudson was named to the list of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, and was recognized as Distinguished Scholar of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA/ISA) and awarded an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship as well as an inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Australian National University. She has been selected as the Distinguished Scholar Award recipient for 2022 by the Political Demography and Geography Section (PDG/ISA) of the International Studies Association. 

Valerie's book list on feminist international relations

Valerie M. Hudson Why did Valerie love this book?

This slim volume by the French philosopher is one I have read many times; nearly every sentence is underlined. Though not strictly about international affairs, it was Agacinski that first sparked in me the sight of the far horizon: diarchy as the political system that should obtain between men and women. Once you understand that the face of humanity is dual, not single, everything changes. Agacinski was one of the crucial voices that led to the adoption of party candidate parity as the law of the land in France.

By Sylviane Agacinski, Lisa Walsh (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Parity of the Sexes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sylviane Agacinski has never shied away from controversy. Vilified by some-including many feminists-and celebrated by others as a pioneer of gender equality, she has galvanized the French political scene. Her articulation of the theory of "parity" helped inspire a law that went into effect in May 2000 requiring the country's political parties to fill 50 percent of the candidacies in every race with women. Sylviane Agacinski, according to The New Yorker, "is sometimes credited with making parite respectable." Agacinski begins with the notion that sexual difference should be affirmed rather than denied. Sex, Agacinski points out, is not a social,…


Book cover of Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

Debangana Chatterjee Author Of Lives of Circumcised and Veiled Women: A Global-Indian Interplay of Discourses and Narratives

From my list on gender and culture with a unique lens.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my childhood, I understood quite well that "gender" is a troubled water. Women were not allowed access to education, were domesticated, and were not allowed to vote for the longest time in history. Yet I did not quite know how to articulate how it should be! While broadly "gender" still remains a concern, growing as an academic (currently as an Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at National Law School of India University), I started asking how best we can reconcile gender and culture, and even if we do, what does it mean for my country, India and the discipline of International Relations?


Debangana's book list on gender and culture with a unique lens

Debangana Chatterjee Why did Debangana love this book?

As a graduate student, I picked up this book on gender and international relations, and there was no turning back; I now knew my domain!

I realized where I stood in the male-dominated discipline of international relations, where concerns of "Man, State, and the War" dominate. The often-overlooked frivolousness of domesticity is also a matter of international relations. This book asks: "Where are women?" as it explores the gendered aspects of everyday life, as often we women tend to ask, navigating through the alleys of personal and professional spaces.

Making feminist sense of international politics requires genuine curiosity about multi-layered women's lives: air hostesses, base women, diplomatic wives, factory and domestic workers, and more. After all, power takes a myriad of avatars; power, taste, attraction, and desire are not mutually exclusive.

The author says it best when remapping the boundaries of international and political, "We are not just acted upon;…

By Cynthia Enloe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bananas, Beaches and Bases as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this brand new radical analysis of globalization, Cynthia Enloe examines recent events - Bangladeshi garment factory deaths, domestic workers in the Persian Gulf, Chinese global tourists, and the UN gender politics of guns - to reveal the crucial role of women in international politics today. With all new and updated chapters, Enloe describes how many women's seemingly personal strategies - in their marriages, in their housework, in their coping with ideals of beauty - are, in reality, the stuff of global politics. Enloe offers a feminist gender analysis of the global politics of both masculinities and femininities, dismantles an…


Book cover of Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security

Valerie M. Hudson Author Of The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

From my list on feminist international relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Valerie M. Hudson is a University Distinguished Professor and holds the George H.W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. Hudson was named to the list of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, and was recognized as Distinguished Scholar of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA/ISA) and awarded an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship as well as an inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Australian National University. She has been selected as the Distinguished Scholar Award recipient for 2022 by the Political Demography and Geography Section (PDG/ISA) of the International Studies Association. 

Valerie's book list on feminist international relations

Valerie M. Hudson Why did Valerie love this book?

If Enloe’s book set the stage, Tickner’s 1992 book was the first to openly challenge the then-conventional verities of IR Theory in a systematic way. In her book, Tickner takes on the two major subdivisions of IR thought—Security/Conflict Studies and International Political Economy, and mounts a devastating critique of the major approaches in each. She lambasts how gendered our understandings of, say, deterrence are, and how the state is viewed in IR theory as a “masculine” entity, and how this has warped our understandings and even the very questions we ask in IR. Tickner does the same with the clearly male-focused world of microeconomic theory with its womanless world of rational utility maximizers. This book set IR back on its collective heels. 

By J. Ann Tickner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gender in International Relations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book on the role of gender in international relations.


Book cover of Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace

Valerie M. Hudson Author Of The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

From my list on feminist international relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Valerie M. Hudson is a University Distinguished Professor and holds the George H.W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. Hudson was named to the list of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, and was recognized as Distinguished Scholar of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA/ISA) and awarded an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship as well as an inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Australian National University. She has been selected as the Distinguished Scholar Award recipient for 2022 by the Political Demography and Geography Section (PDG/ISA) of the International Studies Association. 

Valerie's book list on feminist international relations

Valerie M. Hudson Why did Valerie love this book?

Ruddick was a pioneer in her advocacy that feminist IR not only must deconstruct masculinist notions of security and peace, but it must build new paradigms on which healthy societies must be built. She argued that the sturdiest foundation for that rebuilding would be the practicalist reasoning that arises from the discipline of caregiving. Indeed, this would cede an intellectual advantage to women, who are often tasked with just such endeavors. One of the best dimensions of her work is her attempt to build a new language these practitioners could use to remain authentic to their vision while still permitting non-caregivers to understand and appreciate it. 

By Sara Ruddick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maternal Thinking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 1989

Philosopher, mother, and feminist Sara Ruddick examines the discipline of mothering, showing for the first time how the day-to-day work of raising children gives rise to distinctive ways of thinking.


Book cover of The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Karen Sherman Author Of Brick by Brick: Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere

From my list on women driving change around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been driven to help advance women and girls around the world for years, shining a light on their stories of resilience and strength, even in the most dire of circumstances. My thirty-plus-year career in global development has introduced me to hundreds of inspirational women who are changing their own lives, investing in their families, and building their communities. I am a woman for women because of them. The recommended authors are inspirational women in their own right who have used their writing to amplify the voices of other women. I hope you enjoy these books and can identify with the personal stories found in their pages. 

Karen's book list on women driving change around the world

Karen Sherman Why did Karen love this book?

“When you lift up women, you lift up humanity." These words from Melinda Gates’ book resonate deeply with my own story and experiences. Melinda gives several examples of women driving change on different levels in their families, communities, and societies. Similar to the pages in my book, Melinda shares heart-rending conversations she’s had with women all over the world and offers practical solutions for how we can get involved to make the world a better place.

By Melinda Gates,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Moment of Lift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings―and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.

For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift society up, you need to stop keeping women down.

In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels…


Book cover of The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America

Siobhan Talbott Author Of Conflict, Commerce and Franco-Scottish Relations, 1560-1713

From my list on early-modern business history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my academic career working on political history until a chance conversation and a serendipitous find in an archive changed the direction of my doctoral research. Since then, I have become increasingly enmeshed in Business History, interested predominantly in the people that were at the heart of commercial activity. It is my belief that the landscape of business was – and is – shaped more by the people directly involved in it than by those making policy and devising international treaties. My current work – funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellowship – explores the ways in which information was created, disseminated, and utilised in early modern business networks.

Siobhan's book list on early-modern business history

Siobhan Talbott Why did Siobhan love this book?

It has been broadly recognised in recent years that the traditional perception of early-modern Atlantic business as a male-dominated space is outmoded and inaccurate. In this superb book, Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor shows that the women who participated in commerce – from all ranks of society – were not exceptions in exclusively male-dominated markets but were ‘quintessential market participants’. Appealing strongly to my own approach to business history, Hartigan-O’Connor marries social and economic history, providing an updated view of who the commercial players were in eighteenth-century America.

By Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ties That Buy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1770, tavernkeeper Abigail Stoneman called in her debts by flourishing a handful of playing cards before the Rhode Island Court of Common Pleas. Scrawled on the cards were the IOUs of drinkers whose links to Stoneman testified to women's paradoxical place in the urban economy of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Stoneman did traditional women's work-boarding, feeding, cleaning, and selling alcohol-but her customers, like her creditors, underscore her connections to an expansive commercial society. These connections are central to The Ties That Buy.
Historian Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor traces the lives of urban women in early America to reveal…


Book cover of Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World

Autumn Carolynn Author Of Traveling in Wonder: A Travel Photographer's Tales of Wanderlust

From my list on books to take with you on the plane before your international travel adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an avid lover of all cultures, especially travel memoirs. I had a goal to travel to 30 countries in 30 years, and I wrote a memoir, Traveling in Wonder. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting both the author and side characters in all of these books, as each brings something extraordinary to the story. I also loved the descriptions in these memoirs, which brought me back to my memories!

Autumn's book list on books to take with you on the plane before your international travel adventure

Autumn Carolynn Why did Autumn love this book?

Eliza does an incredible job of sharing her story with her readers. I enjoyed her stance on moving from the President’s Wife of Iceland to building her own name, Eliza Reid.

In the book, I learned about a multitude of amazing women who have created a safe space to read about their journeys and triumphs!

By Eliza Reid,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Secrets of the Sprakkar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER!

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Pick

"Secrets of the Sprakkar is a fascinating window into what a more gender-equal world could look like, and why it's worth striving for. Iceland is doing a lot to level the playing field: paid parental leave, affordable childcare, and broad support for gender equality as a core value. Reid takes us on an exploration not only around this fascinating island, but also through the triumphs and stumbles of a country as it journeys towards gender equality."
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

Iceland is the best place on earth to be a…


Book cover of City of Women

Katrina Gulliver Author Of Modern Women in China and Japan: Gender, Feminism and Global Modernity Between the Wars

From my list on the history of cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in cities through my research on culture in Asia. I came to appreciate how much cities generate culture - and are the exchange points for different ideas. I’ve hosted a podcast on urban history, edited a book (Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience), and written about urban space for various magazines and websites.

Katrina's book list on the history of cities

Katrina Gulliver Why did Katrina love this book?

While this book is about New York, it offers great insights into the role of women in urban spaces that are relevant across the world. Stansell weaves together statistical and official records, court reports, press stories, and paints detailed pictures of the lives of women in the nineteenth-century city. This includes the range of employment women took, and their various strategies to resolve disputes, run businesses, and manage their lives. In a city as diverse as New York, this included women from all over the world.

By Christine Stansell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked City of Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before the Civil War, a new idea of womanhood took shape in America in general and in the Northeast in particular. Women of the propertied classes assumed the mantle of moral guardians of their families and the nation. Laboring women, by contrast, continued to suffer from the oppressions of sex and class. In fact, their very existence troubled their more prosperous sisters, for the impoverished female worker violated dearly held genteel precepts of 'woman's nature' and 'woman's place.'

City of Women delves into the misfortunes that New York City's laboring women suffered and the problems that resulted. Looking at how…


Book cover of Women, Work, and Life Cycle in a Medieval Economy: Women in York and Yorkshire C.1300-1520

Candace Robb Author Of The Riverwoman's Dragon

From my list on medieval York.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing the Owen Archer mysteries, set in and around the city of York in the late 14th century, for 30 years, ever since falling in love with the city of York on a visit. As I studied medieval literature and culture in graduate school, with a special interest in Chaucer, I’ve focused my research on the period in which he lived. I’ve spent months walking the streets of the city, hiking through the countryside, and meeting with local historians. Besides the 13 Owen Archer mysteries I’ve also published 3 Kate Clifford mysteries covering Richard II’s downfall, both series grounded in the politics and culture of medieval York and Yorkshire. 

Candace's book list on medieval York

Candace Robb Why did Candace love this book?

A classic cited in every title on my list, Goldberg’s book provides a glimpse into the lives of women in the area, both rural and urban. The book grew out of the question, How far was marriage a necessity for medieval women? His focus is on women in the north, with its unique labor issues. To answer the question he examines the economy and how women participated in it, with an emphasis on the changes brought on by the decline in population after the Black Death in the later 14th century.

He covers tradeswomen, servants, prostitutes, farm laborers, with glimpses into the lives they led and how the different groups made choices about marriage. Women in York and Yorkshire chose to enter the workforce, often delaying marriage until it offered a clear advantage, and their economic independence offered them an advantage in making decisions about their future. Gives a…

By P.J.P. Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women, Work, and Life Cycle in a Medieval Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an innovative analysis of the relationship between women's economic opportunity and marriage in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is based on an intensive study of York and Yorkshire, but also utilizes evidence from other parts of England and continental Europe.

P. J. P. Goldberg explores the role of women in the economy and the part that marriage played in their lives. Importantly, he challenges the Wrigley and Schofield thesis of nuptiality: his analysis of the demography of marriage demonstrates that in late medieval Yorkshire, women participated strongly in the labour force, deferring marriage or avoiding it entirely.…


Book cover of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

Mark R. Cheathem Author Of Andrew Jackson, Southerner

From my list on explaining Andrew Jackson.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in Andrew Jackson as an undergraduate student who worked at his Nashville plantation, The Hermitage. Nearly thirty years later, I am still fascinated by Old Hickory. We wouldn’t be friends, and I wouldn’t vote for him, but I consider him essential to understanding the United States’ development between his ascension as a national hero during the War of 1812 and his death in 1845. That we still argue about Jackson’s role as a symbol both of patriotism and of genocide speaks to his enduring significance to the national conversation about what the United States has represented and continues to represent.  

Mark's book list on explaining Andrew Jackson

Mark R. Cheathem Why did Mark love this book?

A number of books explain the world in which Jackson came to national recognition, but Howe’s provides a decidedly critical view of Old Hickory and his politics. He is clearly sympathetic to the Whigs, opponents of Jackson and his Democratic party; nevertheless, Howe’s book is a good starting point for a broader perspective on Jacksonian America.

By Daniel Walker Howe,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked What Hath God Wrought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary
improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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