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Feminist Culture Club: April 2024

Welcome back to the Feminist Culture Club. In this edition, we are covering the intersection between book bans and violence against women and girls, our favorite podcasts, and a look back at our recent activities, including celebrating World Poetry Day and Gloria Steinem’s 90th birthday.

Book Bans & Violence Against Women and Girls

The book bans currently sweeping the United States have a disproportionate impact on the health and safety of girls. Worldwide, women and girls are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than their male counterparts. And without books, many girls don’t have the words to explain or understand their experiences and seek help.

Book Riot shared an example of a ten-year-old girl who checked out from her local library “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health” by Robie H. Harris. Not long after, the girl brought the book to her mom and showed her the chapter on sexual abuse, and for the first time, she shared that her dad was abusing her. When the case went to court and her dad was convicted, the judge said, “There were heroes in this case. One was the child, and the other was the book.” 

Pen America estimates that more than 3,000 books that included rape or sexual assault scenes were banned in the 2022-2023 school year. Though these topics can be challenging and uncomfortable to talk about, they’re essential to protecting girls and teaching them about these situations as well as about unhealthy relationships, consent, and more.

Information is power. By robbing girls of these books, we are also robbing them of the chance to better protect and express themselves.

Podcast Recommendations

Equality Now’s podcast We Change the Rules has engaged incredible women like Gloria Steinem, Julia Gillard, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and more. Listen now on AppleSpotify, or YouTube to learn about gender inequality and the activists and movements inspiring change.

Professors and sisters Olivia Meikle and Dr. Katie Nelson host What’sHerName. Each episode tells about a woman lost in history. With episodes airing biweekly on Wednesdays, you will surely learn about incredible women you may have never heard of. Check out their 100th episode special, “The History of the World in 100 Women!”

Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus is packed with laughs and honest conversations between Emmy award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her guest of the week to find the answers and advice that come with life experience. The podcast’s first season included guests such as Jane Fonda and Fran Lebowitz and was awarded Apple’s Best Podcast of the Year Award. The sophomore season began airing on March 27, so watch for new episodes weekly. 

Laura Goode and Adrian Daub at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University host The Feminist Present, where they welcome fellow researchers, activists, speakers, and creators to discuss the state of present-day feminism.

Recent Activities

World Poetry Day was on March 21, and we were thrilled to share ten of our favorite poets who use the written word to address challenging issues, spread hope, and inspire the masses. One shared quote came from bestselling poet Len Pennie: “‘No’ is a / sentence that’s full / on its own.”

Equality Now celebrated Gloria Steinem’s 90th birthday on March 25. Gloria’s association with Equality Now began with our founding over 30 years ago. Over the years, she has supported our mission, and her contributions have been invaluable in advancing our work. With her insight, we have advocated for vital policy changes and raised awareness about the critical issues that continue to impact women and girls worldwide. We are thankful to be part of her rich legacy and to recognize her as an essential part of our own history.

We highlighted six children’s books and their authors on April 2, International Children’s Book Day. Our recommendations included Dear Rebel from Rebel Girls, Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud, and more. If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet, we recommend stopping by your local library or independent bookstore to learn more and pick up your favorite.

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