100 books like Parity of the Sexes

By Sylviane Agacinski, Lisa Walsh (translator),

Here are 100 books that Parity of the Sexes fans have personally recommended if you like Parity of the Sexes. 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 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 Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women Are Worth

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?

Waring, a former MP for New Zealand, wrote what I consider the foundational book in feminist political economy. Removing the scales from our eyes in this book, she questions how it is that when an oil tanker spills, that event adds to the GDP of a nation, but when a woman gives birth to a baby, that event adds nothing to the GDP. She was the first to note that the “production boundary” stipulated by the male-created GDP indicator completely invisibilizes—even erases—the enormous contribution of women, simply because it is unpaid and performed for members of the same household. Waring then goes further and asks how this gendered approach to understanding economic success actually destroys our goal of sustainable, functional societies.

By Marilyn Waring,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Counting for Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Safe drinking water counts for nothing. A pollution-free environment counts for nothing. Even some people - namely women - count for nothing. This is the case, at least, according to the United Nations System of National Accounts. Author Marilyn Waring, former New Zealand M.P., now professor, development consultant, writer, and goat farmer, isolates the gender bias that exists in the current system of calculating national wealth.As Waring observes, in this accounting system women are considered 'non-producers' and as such they cannot expect to gain from the distribution of benefits that flow from production. Issues like nuclear warfare, environmental conservation, and…


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 Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to Be Different

Renée Sentilles Author Of American Tomboys, 1850-1915

From my list on tomboys by a historian of tomboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl, I thought I was a tomboy—or I wanted to be one, because the image of a “normal” girl was far too pink and frothy and shallow for my tastes. For me, being a tomboy was less about being boy-like than being unable to claim the markers of femininity. As a historian of women and girls, I wondered how young women saw their futures in this modernizing America, with its True Women and New Women and the opening of advanced education. Did tomboys grow into the rebels who changed the world? Or, like the tomboys in so many fictional stories, did they renounce their assertive sense of self upon marriage and motherhood?

Renée's book list on tomboys by a historian of tomboys

Renée Sentilles Why did Renée love this book?

This one is for girls who want to know more about tomboys in the here and now. Davis essentially asks “how did we get to this time of transgender and nonbinary identity?” She interrogates the term “tomboy” as a way of understanding how our understanding of gender norms has changed and remained unchanged—at the same time.

By Lisa Selin Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on the author’s viral New York Times op-ed, this heartfelt book is a celebration and exploration of the tomboy phenomenon and the future of girlhood.

We are in the middle of a cultural revolution, where the spectrum of gender and sexual identities is seemingly unlimited. So when author and journalist Lisa Selin Davis's six-year-old daughter first called herself a "tomboy," Davis was hesitant. Her child favored sweatpants and T-shirts over anything pink or princess-themed, just like the sporty, skinned-kneed girls Davis had played with as a kid. But "tomboy" seemed like an outdated word—why use a word with "boy"…


Book cover of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Author Of White Women, Rape, and the Power of Race in Virginia, 1900-1960

From my list on sex in the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over my twenty years as a historian, the common thread in my work is the gap between how people are supposed to behave and how they actually do behave. From interracial sexual relationships in the segregated South, to rum smuggling from Cuba during Prohibition, to abortion on college campuses before Roe, I'm interested in how people work around rules they don’t like. And rules about sex are some of the most ignored rules of all. Reading about strange beliefs and common desires connect us to our ancestors. Being a professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama allows me to research bad behavior in the past to my heart’s content.

Lisa's book list on sex in the past

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Why did Lisa love this book?

We assume people have always recognized two sexes, male and female. But did they? In the past, people believed men and women were the same sex; women were just incomplete, unfinished men. Men and women had the same sexual organs, with women’s located internally. Surprisingly, if conditions were right, women could even turn into men. They also thought women needed to achieve orgasm to conceive.  That’s right. For over a thousand years of western history, women’s sexual pleasure was as important as men’s. 

By Thomas Laqueur,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a book about the making and unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in the West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of developments in reproductive anatomy and physiology. We cannot fail to recognize the players in Thomas Laqueur's story-the human sexual organs and pleasures, food, blood, semen, egg, sperm-but we will be amazed at the plots into which they have been woven by scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of every stripe.

Laqueur begins with the question of why, in the late eighteenth century, woman's orgasm…


Book cover of We Should All Be Feminists

Stephenie Foster Author Of Take Action: Fighting for Women & Girls

From my list on advocates and activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in an Italian-American, Catholic household. Early in life, I was told I couldn’t be an altar boy. When I asked my mom why, she told me that girls weren’t altar boys…that seemed ridiculous to me and it started me on a lifelong journey of advocating for the rights of women and girls. I have built a career out of pushing for better laws and policies to provide women the same opportunities and resources as men. I’ve served as Chief of Staff to two U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill, General Counsel in the Executive Branch, and in senior leadership in the non-profit sector.

Stephenie's book list on advocates and activists

Stephenie Foster Why did Stephenie love this book?

This is a short, readable book that makes a compelling case about feminism and how it has a positive impact on society. It is easy to take in and very accessible. It encourages us all to talk about issues of equality and disparity and understand how we can all move forward together.

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Should All Be Feminists as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The highly acclaimed, provocative essay on feminism and sexual politics—from the award-winning author of Americanah

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.


Book cover of Why So Slow?: The Advancement of Women

Chris Wind Author Of This is what happens

From my list on what it's like being female in a sexist society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started keeping a journal when I was fifteen. Ten years later, I had the raw material for Fugue, a portrait of the artist as a young woman (I had read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) that ends in celebration, rather than suicide (I had also recently read Plath's The Belljar). It did not get published. Thirty years later, I had so little, far too little, to celebrate.  The portrait had become one of relentless frustration and persistent failure, despite my continued effort ... so much effort ... And so I wrote This is what happens, dedicating it to all the passionate, hard-working, competent women — it's not you. 

Chris' book list on what it's like being female in a sexist society

Chris Wind Why did Chris love this book?

On occasion, most notably in a personal letter to Valian, I have described This is what happens as a fictional version of her book. She covers sexism at home, sexism at work, the effects on ourselves, the effects on women in the professions, on women in academia... It was, is, very gratifying to have one's experience validated!

By Virginia Valian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why So Slow? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Virginia Valian uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women.

Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige? Virginia Valian uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women. According to Valian, men and women alike have implicit hypotheses about gender differences—gender schemas—that create small sex differences in characteristics, behaviors, perceptions, and evaluations of men and women. Those small imbalances accumulate to advantage men and disadvantage women. The most important…


Book cover of Genderspeak: Men, Women and the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense

Shelle Rose Charvet Author Of Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence

From my list on books for nice people to be more persuasive.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not many people know that I was so timid as a child; I used to burst into tears if I had to ask for something in a store. Now, I am known for my “out there” presentation style and mastery of words. Since 1982, I have been working with individuals and groups to help them get better at persuading, solving conflicts, and having inspiring relationships. So, how can you be a nice, caring person and still be persuasive, even with the most skeptical of people? These books helped me do this.

Shelle's book list on books for nice people to be more persuasive

Shelle Rose Charvet Why did Shelle love this book?

I have read this book so many times! It changed how I communicate with people operating from the Traditional Male Model or the Traditional Female Model.

She explains that someone’s Operating Metaphor can be “Life is a game” or “Life is like a traditional classroom”. Game players want to win, and students want to get a great evaluation or pass an exam, so I need to shift my communication style for each. 

And who knew that women and men have different definitions of common terms? A lie is either: “Saying something that is not true” or “Something that is not true and harmful!” This book showed me how specifically to develop my flexibility and stop being so judgy!

By Suzette Haden Elgin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Communications guru Suzette Haden Elgin bridges the gender gap. In this groundbreaking book, the internationally acclaimed author of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self--Defense helps you anticipate and avoid the frustrating conversational knots in which men and women all too often find themselves entangled. Picking up where other authors leave off, Suzette Haden Elgin arms you with her proven techniques for dealing effectively with verbal confrontation in your personal and professional lives. She zeroes in on how to: aeo Identify the differences between womena s and mena s perceptions of the world and avoid the dangerous semantic traps they create…


Book cover of You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

Carol T. Kulik Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on making work a better place to be.

Why am I passionate about this?

The average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime – that’s roughly one quarter to one third of a person’s life. I’m an academic researcher who studies work. I know how to design workplaces that are good for organizations (high productivity) and the people who work in them (high employee well-being). But if we leave it all up to senior management, we won’t generate positive changes fast enough. There’s a robust body of evidence that we can all use to make our local workplaces more supportive, inclusive, and fulfilling. I’m on a mission to make the world a better place, one workplace at a time. 

Carol's book list on making work a better place to be

Carol T. Kulik Why did Carol love this book?

Deborah Tannen has a unique ear for the different ways that men and women communicate.

The book resonated with my personal experiences, and helped me to understand why I was having different kinds of conversations with men than with women – particularly around work issues. Professor Tannen emphasizes that these communication styles are taught to us when we are very young (and they are reflected in the different games men and women play as children).

But that means we can change our communication styles too – we can communicate more clearly about our work-related needs, and adapt our communication patterns to better align with the listener. Professor Tannen inspired me to bring research evidence to the attention of people who can use it in their daily lives.  

By Deborah Tannen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked You Just Don't Understand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This guide highlights problems of communication between men and women, who can interpret the same conversation completely differently, even when there is no apparent misunderstanding. It examines how the sexes can work through communication barriers and get to the heart of the matter.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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