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Heather Dawson

March 4th, 2024

Nine recommended reads for Women’s History Month 2024

0 comments | 4 shares

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Heather Dawson

March 4th, 2024

Nine recommended reads for Women’s History Month 2024

0 comments | 4 shares

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

To celebrate Women’s History Month 2024, LSE’s librarian for Gender Studies  Heather Dawsonrecommends nine books written by, and examining the lives of, inspiring women.

As LSE’s Gender Studies librarian, it is my great pleasure to introduce some of my highly recommended books from our collection for Women’s History Month. I hope you find them educational, thought-provoking and inspiring.

During March, look out for the links I will be posting on X and Instagram to other recommended resources available via LSE Library, including databases of articles and primary resources. LSE staff and students can book one-to-one advice sessions for further help researching women’s history resources.

Book cover of suffrage and the arts with an illustration of women suffragettesSuffrage and the Arts: Visual Culture, Politics and Enterprise. Miranda Garrett and Zoë Thomas (eds.). Bloomsbury. 2019. 

LSE is privileged to be the custodian of the magnificent Women’s Library, an archive which includes extensive materials relating to the struggle for the vote. My first choice highlights the way in which visual imagery was used as an important part of the campaign. It includes information on key organisations and discussion of creative art as an expression of protest.


book cover of art and suffrageArt and Suffrage: A Biographical Dictionary of Suffrage Artists. Elizabeth Crawford. Francis Boutle Publishers. 2018. 

For serious researchers of suffrage history, I would strongly recommend any of the reference works by Elizabeth Crawford as key starting points. Her latest book is an invaluable reference for tracing accurate information about the lives of women artists who supported the campaign for the vote in Britain. It also includes some fantastic photographs! You can explore some of the images on the LSE Library Digital Library, including a section on suffrage banners.

As Good As A Marriage The Anne Lister Diaries by Jill Liddington cover showing a portrait of Anne ListerAs Good as a Marriage: The Anne Lister Diaries, 1836-38. Jill Liddington. Manchester University Press. 2023.  

Another highlight of the women’s library collection is its selection of biographies of famous and inspiring women. Fans of the Gentleman Jack BBC TV series will be interested to know that we have recently obtained a copy of As Good As a Marriage, an annotated selection of excerpts from the diaries of Anne Lister, a landowner from Yorkshire considered by some as “the first modern lesbian.” This latest volume by historian Jill Liddington focuses on the Lister’s “marriage” to heiress Ann Walker whom she lived with in Shibden Hall, near Halifax. Hear Dr Liddington speak about the book at an event with LSE Library on Wednesday 20 March at 6.00pm.

The other emmeline book cover The story of emmeline pethick lawrenceThe Other Emmeline: The Story of Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. Jane Grant. Francis Boutle Publishers. 2023. 

Another recent edition from a great friend of The Women’s Library, Jane Grant focuses on the life of Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. In 2018 one of the LSE towers was renamed in her honour to recognise her contribution to the struggle for women’s suffrage.

The title refers to the fact that she is often overshadowed by her contemporary in the Women’s Social and Political Union, Emmeline Pankhurst. However, Pethick-Lawrence’s achievements, alongside her husband, in founding the newspaper Votes for Women and in continuing to campaign for equal rights for women during the 1920s and1930s as part of the leadership of the Women’s Freedom League should not be forgotten.

Eileen Power A woman in History Book cover A Woman in History: Eileen Power, 1889-1940. Maxine Berg. Cambridge University Press. 2023.

Of course, the collection includes biographies of famous LSE staff and alumni. A key example is that of economic historian Eileen Power who was appointed as a Chair in Economic History at LSE in 1931 and was influential in founding the Economic History Review journal as well as in developing children’s radio broadcasting on historical topics. As she died young, the most well-known biography of her life is now quite old, written by Maxine Berg.

Green Book Cover of Francesca Wade's Square HauntingSquare Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London Between the Wars. Francesca Wade. Faber & Faber. 2020.

However, I was fascinated to see her included in a recent joint biography. Power is considered alongside Virginia Woolf, detective writer Dorothy L Sayers, classical scholar Jane Harrison, and modernist poet HD, who all lived nearby Mecklenburgh Square at some time from the 1920s to the 1950s. Find out more about their trailblazing (and often glamourous) lives in this recording from a 2020 LSE Library.


Angela Davis Autobopgrpahy with black and white photo of her and yellow backgroundAngela Davis: An Autobiography. Angela Y Davis. Hamish Hamilton. 2022. 

Our biographies concentrate on both well- and lesser-known figures. One which I personally recommend for her sheer endurance in the face of adversity is the renowned Angela Davis. Davis, an American political activist and academic has been involved in struggles faced by Black people, women and LGBTQ+ communities for decades.


Book cover of the Hindu bard poetry of Dorothy BonarjeeThe Hindu Bard: The Poetry of Dorothy “Dorf” Bonarjee. Dorothy Bonarjee (author) Mohini Gupta and Andrew Whitehead (eds.). Honno. 2023. 

A lesser-known figure I was astounded to discover via a BBC radio documentary was Dorothy “Dorf” Bonarjee: the first Asian woman to win the Bardic chair in 1914 for poetry at Eisteddfod, University College of Wales for verse submitted under a pseudonym. Her achievement was even more astonishing considering at the time women needed a chaperone to attend lectures. Examples of her poetry have been collected in this recent volume edited by Mohini Gupta and Andrew Whitehead.

Book cover of Kate Mosse's Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries purpleWarrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World. Kate Mosse. Mantle. 2022. 

Finally, I suggest Kate Mosse’s Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries. This is a good book to dip into to get a sense of the sheer number of influential women worldwide who made significant political, cultural and economic impacts during their lifetimes, but are now often overlooked. During this month, you can explore the padlet I will be developing based on the book’s selection of notable women.


Note: This reading list gives the views of the author and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.


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About the author

Heather Dawson LSE

Heather Dawson

Heather Dawson is the Librarian for Anthropology, Gender, Geography and Environment; International Development; Media and Communications; Psychological and Behavioural Science. You can reach her at

Posted In: Contributions from LSE Staff and Students | Gender and Sexuality | History | Reading Lists

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