Elevate Difference

The Rights of Women: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Women’s Rights

The authors claim at the beginning of this book, “The law now can be used to advance women’s opportunities, rather than restricting them as it did in the past.” Yet for many of us (myself included), the law often seems like a daunting wall instead of a useful tool. The Rights of Women tries to mediate this feeling of intimidation by creating a guide that enables women to understand the law and, more importantly, use the law to advance gender equity.

As the book’s title implies, the authors have crafted an exhaustive outline of how women are (mis)treated under the law designed to be utilized by the average person. In a clear and concise fashion, the authors break down the legal underpinnings of trafficking, employment discrimination, housing rights, education, and reproductive rights, among other issues.

Though The Rights of Women is devoid of the legal terminology and complexities that make the law so inaccessible to many of us, the authors do not oversimplify or “dumb down” the material. Instead, the reader finds straightforward answers to the kinds of legal questions we have every day, written in a format that is easy to understand. Similarly, the question and answer format of the book lends itself to quick referencing for a project or just browsing through a particular chapter. This, coupled with the breadth of issues tackled, makes it a great resource for feminists of all ages, backgrounds, and passions. If, as the authors argue, a firm understanding of the law is necessary for feminists to be successful advocates and activists, then The Rights of Women should be on the bookshelf of every feminist. Whether you’re a professional looking for more information about the constitutional rights of women or an individual curious about how the law protects domestic violence survivors, The Rights of Women will serve as an indispensible guide.

Written by: Gwen Emmons, August 5th 2009

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