“A joyous and celebratory tribute to all those who battled to be heard, who fought for their achievements to be recognised and honoured, who simply kept going.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
On This Day She: Putting Women Back into History One Day at a Time by Tania Hershman, Ailsa Holland, and Jo Bell is a book published by the same team behind the Twitter account @OnThisDayShe . The project began when Ailsa Holland was gifted an ‘On this Day’ calendar and grew frustrated with the lack of women featured, thus the Twitter account was launched. The ‘On This Day She’ book is dedicated “To all the women whose lives are unrecorded”, and although the writers only have 200 words for each bio they hope that these will serve as a gateway for readers to research the women featured in the pages and other women like them.
The authors of On This Day She admit that it was difficult to choose the women featured in this book and a different set of editors may have chosen a completely different set of people but these are the 366 women or groups of women that they selected.
The women featured in this book are not necessarily all feminist heroes but they all achieved something amazing or interesting, and many of their achievements have been overshadowed, forgotten, erased or even credited to a man instead. This book gives them the space in history they deserve.
I think this book is best read one day at a time and this is how I chose to read it, celebrating a woman (or group of women) each day. On This Day She links each day of the year to a woman, however, the editors tried not to focus just on their births or deaths but on dates that were significant to them for example when they filed a patent or discovered something. This book also focuses not just on the first woman to do something but the 2nd, 3rd, etc. in the same way that men’s history is often discussed. What’s more, in this history book, the writers acknowledge other oppressive forces outside of gender including; race, class, religion etc. to showcase how hard it may have been for many of these women to be seen and heard at the time, leave alone remembered in our history books.
Some of the women featured in this book you may already know, many you may not but what this book does so brilliantly is re-write history to include the women who belong in it. Plus, once you’ve finished the book, there are plenty of people to research further yourself, and the @OnThisDayShe continues to tweet every day and promise to do so for “as long as we have energy for it. We’re not afraid of running out of women to write about. Perhaps you will become one of them,” the book adds.
Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog
Added 3rd October 2022