“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will—and hopefully sooner than we might think right now,” Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech today. “And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” It’s a particularly important message today, and one most of the women in Sam Maggs’ new book likely never heard. Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History tells the little-known stories of 25 fascinating women scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers and inventors from around the world who overcame incredible obstacles to achieve amazing things.
From the jacket:
You may think you know women’s history pretty well. But have you ever heard of:
ALICE BALL, the chemist who developed an effective treatment for leprosy — only to have the credit taken by a man?
MARY SHERMAN MORGAN, the rocket scientist whose liquid fuel compounds blasted the first U.S. satellite into orbit?
HUANG DAOPO, the inventor whose weaving technology revolutionized textile production in China — centuries before the cotton gin?
(Sadly, no. I hadn’t heard of any of them.) Sam tells their stories in engaging, everyday language, providing the historical context to show readers the barriers each woman faced in their particular place and time as well as details about their personal lives (making them multi-dimensional people).
The chapters are divided by field: women of science, medicine, espionage, innovation and adventure. In addition to the 25 featured women, there are mini profiles of other important figures in each field and Q&As with women trailblazers of today.
“It’s time to shake off the bogus fear that pursuing any interest that falls outside the traditionally “feminine” — say, working in a STEM field, exploring the world, designing a video game — will make us complete pariahs,” Sam writes. “It’s time for women to take our place in a long line of brilliant, patriarchy-smashing, butt-kicking chicks.
First though, we have to get the stories of these women out into the world. Because representation matters. And we ladies need real inspiration for the next time we find ourselves doubting our ability to invent something, the next time we fear learning how to code, the next time we feel like we just don’t belong.”
I read Wonder Women over several nights — it’s not a difficult read, but there’s a lot of information to digest. (I could spend days exploring the websites listed in the appendix alone.) I’d love to see it made required reading in high schools, but readers long out of high school would enjoy it as well. These are stories that need to be told and retold.
To enter to win a copy of Wonder Women, tell me about a woman trailblazer you admire in the comments below. (Past or present, any field.) This entry is mandatory.
For an additional entry, follow try small things on Facebook and share this post, then tell me you did so and your name on Facebook in the comments below.
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things on Twitter for your entry to count.
#Win Sam Maggs’ Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History CAN 11/30 http://bit.ly/WWSamMaggs #WonderWomen
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30, 2016. The potential winner must respond to prize notification within 48 hours, including the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another winner will be selected.
Good luck, everybody!
Update December 1, 2016: Congratulations Joy M!
Penguin Random House Canada sent me a copy of Wonder Women, however all opinions are my own.