According to the Global Women’s Health Index, an annual study developed by medical tech company Hologic in conjunction with the Gallup World Poll research team, women everywhere lack access to preventative care and have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic. In the United States specifically, hard-line anti-abortion-rights legislation is a threat to the well-being of people of all genders. At a time when women’s health around the world is under siege, several forthcoming books speak to the moment.


Tracey Lindeman. ECW, Mar. 2023

In a blend of memoir and journalism, Lindeman shares her experiences in endometriosis care—or lack thereof—and critiques the medical establishment’s deeply rooted misogyny. Through interviews and research, she indicts the healthcare system in chapters including “Nervous Breakdown,” about the unreported harms of hormonal birth control, and “Bad Reputation,” about the ways in which biased, even abusive, doctors pathologize and overmedicate women and girls.

Hot and Bothered

Jancee Dunn. Putnam, May 2023

Dunn (How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids, which has sold about 40,000 print copies since its 2017 publication) calls on Gen X to undo the ageism and sexism that colors any discussion of menopause. Experts in medicine, science, and wellness help the author address often taboo topics including menopause-related incontinence, as well as hormonal therapy and sexual health. Throughout, Dunn is inclusive of nonbinary and transgender people, and uses gender-neutral phraseology: “Diversity and inclusion are vital in all aspects of menopausal support,” she writes.


Kate Clancy. Princeton Univ., Apr. 2023

Anthropology professor Clancy debunks menstrual misinformation from menarche to menopause in this cultural history. Understanding periods is crucial to the understanding of human biology and reproduction, she writes, and Western misconceptions of menstruation are rooted in eugenics and a long history of medicine shutting out women. The book also considers issues such as bodily autonomy and the Covid-19 vaccine.


L. Ayu Saraswati. NYU, Apr. 2023

Drawing on her travels across 20 countries in just over a year, Saraswati, a professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies, shines a feminist light on pain. Her book fuses several modes of storytelling, including memoir, academic theory, ethnography, and criticism, and aims to reframe the reader’s understanding of pain and the female body.

Up to Speed

Christine Yu. Riverhead, May 2023

Journalist Yu asks: Despite women’s increased participation in sports, why is there so little high-quality research on their athletic performance? “So much of what we take as gospel about exercise training, nutrition, performance, and injury prevention,” she writes, “is based on what’s found in human participants who are men or experiments with male cells or animals.” The author delves into the latest science and proposes ways to make sports more equitable for everyone.


Leah Hazard. Ecco, Mar. 2023

Scottish midwife and journalist Hazard draws on history and professional experience to illuminate a crucial but poorly understood organ, exploring questions—Could “smart” tampons improve health outcomes? What constitutes a “good” birth? Do hysterectomies affect sexual pleasure?—that arose in her research and her midwifery practice. PW’s starred review called the book “a bravura cultural history of the uterus and the politics that surround it.”


Return to the main feature.