History & Culture

Women’s History


In 1987, Congress declared March National Women’s History Month. These resources shine a light on contributions and accomplishments, uncover untold stories, and help us learn how perseverance, strength, and persistence prevailed in the face of discrimination. In spite of centuries of obstacles women have made a profound impact on history and continue to shape contemporary society.

These books, videos, and online resources provide an engaging look back at the women who have come before, women today, and a hopeful look forward to the possibilities of the female changemakers and leaders to come.

Women’s History Month Reading Recommendations from Library Staff

The staff at IndyPL create book lists all year to help readers find just the right book. From female entrepreneurs to politicians to information about women’s heart health, here are several booklists that highlight women. You can browse all of our book lists featuring women for adultsteens and kids.

Women’s Hoops: The Essential Reading List

NCAA tournament season is almost upon us, and the WNBA opener is on the horizon. Get amped for all the action to come with new and classic reads about women’s basketball.

Title - Hoop MusesTitle - Full-court QuestTitle - Inaugural Ballers : the True Story of the First U.S. WomenTitle - Dear Black Girls

Women and Girls Make Amazing Music!

These compelling documentaries shed light on the lives and careers of women and girls working in a range of genres and musical settings.

Title - Sisters With TransistorsTitle - Tokyo idolsTitle - FannyTitle - Joan Baez

Women Make Amazing Art!

Invite the budding young artists in your life to explore art by women from around the planet!

Title - The Life and Art of Ningiukulu TeeveeTitle - We Are ArtistsTitle - Through GeorgiaTitle - Faith Ringgold

Women in Higher Education – United States

It took 200 years after the establishment of Harvard College before women had access to college education in the United States. Now many preside over institutes of higher learning. This list highlights history, important figures, areas of study, and current issues related to women in higher education, both nationally and locally.

Title - 37 WordsTitle - The ExceptionsTitle - SpeechifyingTitle - When Will the Joy Come?

Womanism Past and Present

Womanism, first coined by Alice Walker in her book “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens Womanist Prose,” takes the concept of feminism a step further to include Black women and other women of color. Alice’s Womanism theory can be defined in part as “A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility … and women’s strength. … Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health … Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit … Loves struggle. Loves the folk. Loves herself. Regardless. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.”

Title - In Search of Our MothersTitle - Black Feminist ThoughtTitle - Sensuous KnowledgeTitle - All the Black Girls Are Activists

Women in Comedy

These diverse women are making history as comedians and as authors. Read their stories to get know the women that make us laugh.

Title - Leslie F*cking JonesTitle - Legitimate KidTitle - Hello, Molly!Title - Ten Steps to Nanette

Josei or Women’s Manga

Check these titles out if you are looking for mature stories that center an older female audience. Josei covers genres from mysteries to slice of life romances to psychological horror – so you’re bound to find something for everyone! Please note that these titles will be found in both our adult and teen sections due to age-rating standards varying between Japan and the United States. I have indicated on each title whether it is found in the teen or adult section of the library.

Title - Blank CanvasTitle - ChihayafuruTitle - DonTitle - Even Though We

e-Books & Streaming

Several of our e-book and streaming platforms have collections specifically highlighting women.

You can download e-books or audiobooks, stream films, documentaries, and television shows free with your IndyPL library card. Detailed information about each of our services is available on our download and stream page. If you have never used our streaming services before, directions are available:

Need more help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text or email Ask-a-Librarian. The Tinker Station helpline at (317) 275-4500 is also available. It is staffed by device experts who can answer questions about how to read, watch and listen on a PC, tablet or phone.

Websites & Online Portals

If you only have a minute or if you have the whole month, you can read, watch, or listen to fascinating stories about American women online.

Female Healers
This year’s Women’s History Month celebrates “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis is featuring Early Indianapolis women healers. Learn more about the women who have made history in the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis!

These quick looks at history are perfect for learning about some exceptional women in a small amount of time. #KnowHerStory is hosted by The National Women’s History Museum.

Because Of Her Story
This is an online collection from the Smithsonian that includes stories and objects from women who have shaped America. Explore the online collection of artifacts and then read the stories about why the objects are significant.

Girlhood (It’s complicated)
This website is a unique look at women’s history from the perspective of young girls from The National Museum of American History. It explores the concept of girlhood and how girls have changed history.

National Poetry Foundation
The National Poetry Foundation provides this opportunity to read poems that explore women’s history and women’s rights by several female writing icons.