Four Quick Book Reviews
The following is a round up of some of the best books about female identity, how women lead, and the struggles they face on their journey. It is well worth engaging with the text of one or all of these works.
Women and Educational Leadership
By: Margaret Grogan & Charol Shakeshaft
Published: December 14, 2010
From Amazon: This groundbreaking book presents a new way of looking at leadership that is anchored in research on women leaders in education. The authors examine how successful women in education lead and offer suggestions and ideas for developing and honing these exemplary leadership practices.
Women and Educational Leadership shows how the qualities that characterize women's approaches to leadership differ from traditional approaches. The authors reveal that women leaders are more collaborative by nature and demonstrate a commitment to social justice. They tend to bring an instructional focus to leadership, include spiritual dimensions in their work, and strive for balance between the personal and professional.
This important book offers a new model of leadership that shifts away from the traditional heroic notion to a collective account that focuses on leadership for a specific purpose—such as social justice. The authors include illustrative examples of leaders who have brought diverse groups to work toward common ground. They also show how leadership is a way to facilitate and support the work of organizational members. The ideas and suggestions presented throughout the book can help the next generation fulfill the promise of a new tradition of leadership.
*Women and Educational Leadership is part of the Jossey-Bass Leadership Library in Education series.
Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders
By: Alice H. Eagly & Linda L. Carli
Published: September 17, 2007
From Amazon: Despite real progress, women remain rare enough in elite positions of power that their presence still evokes a sense of wonder. In Through the Labyrinth, Alice Eagly and Linda Carli examine why women's paths to power remain difficult to traverse. First, Eagly and Carli prove that the glass ceiling is no longer a useful metaphor and offer seven reasons why. They propose the labyrinth as a better image and explain how to navigate through it. This important and practical book addresses such critical questions as: How far have women actually come as leaders? Do stereotypes and prejudices still limit women's opportunities? Do people resist women's leadership more than men's? And, do organizations create obstacles to women who would be leaders?
This book's rich analysis is founded on scientific research from psychology, economics, sociology, political science, and management. The authors ground their conclusions in that research and invoke a wealth of engaging anecdotes and personal accounts to illustrate the practical principles that emerge. With excellent leadership in short supply, no group, organization, or nation can afford to restrict women's access to leadership roles. This book evaluates whether such restrictions are present and, when they are, what we can do to eliminate them.
Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women
By: Rebecca Traister
Published: June 7, 2011
From Amazon: Journalist and Salon writer Rebecca Traister investigates the 2008 presidential election and its impact on American politics, women, and cultural feminism. Examining the role of women in the campaign, from Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, to Tina Fey and young voters, Traister confronts the tough questions of what it means to be a woman in today’s America.
The 2008 campaign for the presidency reopened some of the most fraught American conversations—about gender, race and generational difference, about sexism on the left and feminism on the right—difficult discussions that had been left unfinished, and that are crucial to further perfecting our union. Though the election didn’t give us our first woman president or vice president, the exhilarating campaign was nonetheless transformative for American women and for the nation. In Big Girls Don’t Cry, her electrifying, incisive and highly entertaining first book, Traister tells a terrific story and makes sense of a moment in American history that changed the country’s narrative in ways that no one anticipated.
Throughout the book, Traister weaves in her own experience as a thirty-something feminist sorting through all the events and media coverage—vacillating between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and questioning her own view of feminism, the women’s movement, race, and the different generational perspectives of women working toward political parity. Electrifying, incisive, and highly entertaining, Big Girls Don’t Cry offers an enduring portrait of dramatic cultural and political shifts brought about by this most historic of American contests.
Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap
By: Peggy Orenstein
Published: September 1, 1995
From Amazon: The classic account of the hurdles facing adolescent girls in America is now reissued with a new foreword to coincide with the award-winning author's new book on women and identity. Inspired by a study by the American Association of University Women that showed girls' self-esteem plummeting as they reach adolescence, Peggy Orenstein spent months observing, interviewing, and getting to know dozens of girls both inside and outside the classroom at two very different schools in northern California. The result was a groundbreaking book in which she brought the disturbing statistics to life with the skill and flair of an experienced journalist.
Orenstein plumbs the minds of both boys and girls who have learned to equate masculinity with opportunity and assertiveness, and femininity with reserve and restraint. She demonstrates the cost of this insidious lesson by taking us into the lives of real young women who are struggling with eating disorders, sexual harassment, and declining academic achievement, especially in math and science. Orenstein's Schoolgirls is a classic that belongs on the shelf with the work of Carol Gilligan, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, and Mary Pipher. It continues to be read by all who care about how our schools and our society teach girls to shortchange themselves.