International Women’s Day 2022

Yesterday was International Women’s Day! This year’s theme was #BreakingTheBias and we wanted to explore and celebrate this concept in the Library by highlighting some of the inspirational women who are featured in our collections.

With our beloved mascot Billy Bee leading the helm, we took a dive into the many thousands of books here at Billy B and picked a selection of amazing female authors, scientists, medieval mystics, and poets!


First up in our series of ‘shelfies’ is Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican nurse and business woman. This book was one of the earliest autobiographies of an Afro-Caribbean woman. Mary nursed the wounded during the Crimean War with her skills and knowledge of herbal remedies and was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991. You can learn more about Mary by checking out this book in our catalogue:

Wonderful adventures of Mrs. Seacole in many lands

Our next shelfie is of Carol Ann Duffy. She is the first woman, the first Scottish-born poet and the first known LGBT poet to hold the position of Poet Laureate. We have several collections of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy here at the Billy B. One of them is ‘The World’s Wife’ (an absolute sucker-punch of a collection!), which you can find in our catalogue here:

The world’s wife : poems

Third in our series of inspiring women from the Billy B collection is Frida Kahlo. She is widely considered to be one of Mexico’s greatest artists. If you want to be immersed in a world of colour, pure genius, and beautiful eyebrows, jump into one of our books about her amazing artwork:

Frida Kahlo

Our fourth ‘shelfie’ star is Edith Wharton, who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with this book, The Age of Innocence. Described as a ‘masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York’ it sounds too enthralling to miss:

The Age of Innocence

The fifth ‘shelfie’ in our series of inspiring women is Julian of Norwich, a medieval mystic. She is thought to be the first woman to write a book in English that has survived.

Julian of Norwich

Our sixth ‘shelfie’ star actually discovered them in real life! Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered rapidly rotating neutron stars in 1967.

The stars and the interstellar medium

We had a hard time narrowing it down to such a small selection as our collections are so vast and wide-ranging, and the contribution from women is so immense. But it has been nice to focus on this group of inspiring women and to highlight their lives and work. Happy International Women’s Day!

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