cover image Ordinary Equality: The Fearless Women and Queer People Who Shaped the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment

Ordinary Equality: The Fearless Women and Queer People Who Shaped the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment

Kate Kelly, illus. by Nicole LaRue. Gibbs Smith, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4236-

Lawyer and podcaster Kelly focuses this breezy and inspiring history of the fight against gender and sex discrimination on 12 women who pushed for “constitutional equality” for women and other marginalized groups. These historical figures include Molly Brant, or Dagonwadonti (1736–1796), a Haudenosaunee leader whose example of a “strong woman who yielded great political power and authority” was ignored by the framers of the U.S. Constitution, according to Kelly, and first lady Abigail Adams (1744–1818), who famously appealed to her husband, John Adams, to “Remember the Ladies” at the Continental Congress in 1776. Other profile subjects include Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927–2002), the first woman of color elected to Congress and a major contributor to Title IX legislation, and Pat Spearman, a Black state senator from Nevada who spearheaded the state’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in 2017, the first such legislative victory since the 1970s. Throughout, Kelly details her own activism on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment and enlivens the proceedings with a dash of irreverence (on Abigail Adams: “She immediately rage-texted her BFF Mercy Otis Warren (via letter)”) that complements the book’s bold graphic design. This spirited introduction to the battle for gender equality will appeal especially to young adults. (Feb.)