26 September 2023

On This Day She

Start the conversation

Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Tania Hershman, Ailsa Holland and Jo Bell, Bonnier, $34.99.

Subtitled ‘Putting Women Back Into History, One Day At A Time’, On This Day She is an amazing collection that shines a light on incredible women who were never given the acknowledgement they deserved.

Here are the women whom time has forgotten; those who didn’t make it into the history books and those whom society failed to uphold as significant figures in their own right.

The authors felt overwhelmed by how many fascinating women they had never heard of; women who have done amazing things, overcoming obstacles of sexism, racism and poverty.

However, the authors had heard of some but they were the exception, an “anomaly (Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace).” Or they had heard of them, but weren’t aware of the breadth of their achievements – that they had also done something not “typically feminine”. Florence Nightingale was not only a nurse, the ‘Lady of the Lamp’, but also a statistician; Nina Simone was a civil rights activist as well as a singer.

Even when the achievement of a woman from history is ‘discovered’ (usually by a female historian) it is promptly forgotten again, and so it has to be re-discovered, and re-re-discovered. There are a number of reasons (noted in book) of how and why men’s achievements are remembered.

This is not a women’s history book. It is a history book. It’s a platform for many an interesting, eminent person who changed the course of civilisation in their own unique way. It gives voice to those the history books have failed to make room for: the good, the bad and everything in-between – this is a record of human existence at its most authentic.

It would not have been easy deciding to choose the 366 women or groups of women you will find in these pages. The authors have made noteworthy choices.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.