Women’s History Month is celebrated each March. Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Public Law 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.”
This year’s theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” Women are honored who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and have pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society. These women embraced the fact that the means determine the ends and so developed nonviolent methods to ensure just and peaceful results.
Here are a few fiction books about women and war:
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – It’s the Biafran secession and the subsequent war. Fifteen-year-old Ugwu is houseboy to Odenigbo, a university professor who sends him to school, and in whose living room Ugwu hears voices full of revolutionary zeal. Odenigbo’s beautiful mistress, Olanna, a sociology teacher, is running away from her parents’ world of wealth and excess; Kainene, her urbane twin, is taking over their father’s business; and Kainene’s English lover, Richard, forms a bridge between their two worlds.
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera – Yasodhara tells the story of her Sinhala family, rich in love, with everything they could ask for. As a child in idyllic Colombo, Yasodhara’s and her siblings’ lives are shaped by social hierarchies, their parents’ ambitions, and, subtly, the differences between Tamil and Sinhala people; but the peace is shattered by the tragedies of war. Yasodhara’s family escapes to Los Angeles. Yasodhara’s life has already become intertwined with a young Tamil girl’s. Saraswathie is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, and hopes to become a teacher. But her dreams for the future are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the very heart of the conflict that she has tried so hard to avoid – a conflict that, eventually, will connect her and Yasodhara in unexpected ways.
Girl at War by Sara Novic – When her happy life in 1991 Croatia is shattered by civil war, ten-year-old Ana Juric is embroiled in a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers before making a daring escape to America, where years later she struggles to hide her past.
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli – Helen, an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country she has come to cherish. As the fall of the city begins, Helen and her lover make their way through the streets to try to escape to a new life.