Women at Work: Books About How Women Contribute

Lots of attention is paid in popular culture to two specific questions about women in the working world: Are we leaning in? And can we have it all?

While those are great and worthwhile questions, sometimes it's fun to explore women in the working world from different angles. This Women's History Month, let's pair some books that showcase so many of the different ways that we make a living and contribute.

In Ashley's War, you can read the story of the women serving in special units in Afghanistan and the bravery and strength they bring to their lives as soldiers. War Paint is about two women (Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein) who ran massive beauty empires and set the standards that the beauty industry is still living up to nearly a hundred years later.

Throughout our history, working women have stepped up and united to seek changes on behalf of others. In Household Workers Unite, Premilla Nadasen tells a handful of stories about African American household workers who were excluded from mainstream labor organizing but came together on their own behalf. In Grace and Grit, Lily Ledbetter writes about her experience facing harassment and unfair treatment at the Goodyear plant where she worked, and the legal battle that followed.

Two books with the same title give you the opportunity to think deeply about how women do and don't succeed in traditionally male-dominated fields. The first The Only Woman in the Room is a memoir by Rita Lakin, who was a secretary in a studio executive's office before launching a career as a successful television writer. The second The Only Woman in the Room is by Eileen Pollack, who despite being one of the first two women to graduate from Yale with a degree in physics gave up on her ambition to be a physicist.

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