Just over a month ago we celebrated International Women’s Day, thinking about all the achievements of the women who came before us. These women through their hard work have helped create the world we live in today and through their bravery and tough action, we are closer to true equality than ever before. In order to reflect on this and to think about the future, we have collected the stories of many influential women throughout history. These women can serve as inspiration to future generations and show us why some of them should not have been removed from history in the first place.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

During the First World War, women flocked to take on previously unavailable roles.  Working in factories, young American women would use radium to make the dials and hands of clocks glow. However, as the years passed they fell ill and suffered some mysterious symptoms. The very work that made them feel alive was slowly poisoning them. With employers denying all responsibility these women refused to accept their fate and fought for justice.

Femina by Janina Ramirez

Extraordinary women have held positions of power throughout history but, aside from the select few, why do we not hear about them? Historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women’s names struck out of historical records, with the word ‘Femina’ annotated beside them. By weaving a vivid and evocative picture of the lives of the women who influenced their society, we re-discover these astonishing narratives and reframe our view of history. (Available 21/07/22)

`In Defence of Witches by Mona Chollet (translated by Sophie R Lewis)

Mona Chollet takes three archetypes from historic witch hunts and examines how women today have the same charges levelled against them: independent women; women who choose not to have children; and women who reject the idea that to age is a terrible thing. Finally, Chollet argues that by considering the lives of those who dared to live differently, we can learn more about the richness of roles available, just how many different things a woman can choose to be.

A Woman’s World, 1850 – 1960 by Marina Amaral and Dan Jones

A Woman’s World, 1850-1960 explores the many roles – domestic, social, cultural and professional – played by women across the world before second-wave feminism took hold. Whether in the science lab or protesting on the streets, performing on stage or fighting in the trenches, running for election or exploring the wild, this vivid and unique history brings to life and full colour the female experience in a century of extraordinary change. (Available 04/08/22)

Woman Made: Great Women Designers by Jane Hall

This glorious visual celebration of the most incredible and impactful design ever produced by women designers flips the script on what is historically considered a man’s world. With each designer represented by a key product and short text, this fascinating A-Z survey shines a vital spotlight on the most extraordinary objects made by women designers.

The Dark Queens by Shelley Puhak

A vivid double biography of two fearless Early Medieval queens, and an enthralling journey of discovery across the blood-soaked historical landscape of sixth-century France. Brunhild was a Visigothic princess, and her sister a lowly palace slave. And yet – in sixth-century Merovingian France, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport – these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms for decades, changing the face of Europe.

In Search of Mary Seacole by Helen Rappaport

Having been raised in Jamaica and worked in Panama, Mary Seacole came to England in the 1850s and volunteered to help out during the Crimean War. When her services were turned down, she financed her own expedition to Balaclava, where she earned her reputation as a nurse and for her compassion. Popularly known as ‘Mother Seacole’, she was the most famous Black celebrity of her generation – an extraordinary achievement in Victorian Britain.

A History of the World in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

Jenni Murray gives the lie to Thomas Carlyle’s infamous declaration that ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men.’ Women have played just as great a role in the story of humankind, only for their own tales to be marginalised, censored and forgotten. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops. They were pioneers in the arts and geniuses of science. They led while others followed, spoke truth to power and fought for change. All left behind an indelible mark.

Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II by Robert Hardman

Elizabeth II was not born to be queen. Yet from her accession as a young mother of two in 1952, she has proved an astute and quietly determined figure, leading her family and her people through more than seventy years of unprecedented social change. She has faced constitutional crises, confronted threats against her life, rescued the Commonwealth, seen her prime ministers come and go, charmed world leaders, and steered her family through a lifetime in the public eye.

Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back to Life by Clare Mac Comhaill and Rachael Wiseman

Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley, Philippa Foot and Elizabeth Anscombe were philosophy students at Oxford during the Second World War when most male undergraduates (and many tutors) were conscripted. Taught by refugee scholars, women and conscientious objectors, the four friends developed a philosophy that could respond to the war’s darkest revelations. As creatures who use language – as human animals – it is in our nature to ask questions. We are metaphysical animals.