To celebrate, here Commissioning Editor Kim Walker gives her pick of pivotal works and new classics from the Zed Books shelves.
Woman at Point Zero
Nawal El Saadawi
'All the men I did get to know, every single man of them, has filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face. But because I am a woman I have never had the courage to lift my hand. And because I am a prostitute, I hid my fear under layers of make-up'.
This begins Firdaus' story told from her grimy Cairo prison cell, where her death sentence comes as a relief. Saadawi's classic 1975 novel is a searing indictment of society's brutal treatment of women.
'Nawal el Saadawi writes with directness and passion, transforming the systematic brutalisation of peasants and of women in to powerful allegory' – New York Times Book Review
New South Asian Feminisms
Paradoxes and Possibilities
edited by Srila Roy
South Asian Feminism is in crisis. Under constant attack from right-wing nationalism and religious fundamentalism and co-opted by 'NGO-ization' and neoliberal state agendas, once autonomous and radical forms of feminist mobilization have been ideologically fragmented and replaced.
An original that rethinks the feminist political agenda for the predicaments of the present.
'I can think of no better guide to contemporary feminisms in South Asia than this collection of uniformly first-rate essays.' - Mrinalini Sinha, Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History, University of Michigan
Feminism is Queer
The intimate connection between queer and feminist theory
Whilst there have been significant conceptual tensions between second wave feminism and traditional lesbian and gay studies, queer theory offers a paradigm for understanding gender, sex and sexuality that avoids the conflict in order to develop solidarity among those interested in feminist theory and those interested in lesbian and gay rights.
An essential and accessible guide to anyone with an interest in gender or sexuality.
Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure
Edited by Susie Jolly, Andrea Cornwall and Kate Hawkins
Gender and development has tended to engage with sexuality only in relation to violence and ill-health. Although this has been hugely important in challenging violence against women, over-emphasizing these negative aspects has dovetailed with conservative ideologies that associate women’s sexualities with danger and fear. Meanwhile, the media, pharmaceutical industry, and pornography more broadly celebrate the pleasures of sex in ways that can be just as oppressive. This pioneering collection explores the ways in which positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality can empower women.
Narrative histories and gendered memory
The realm of memory is a site of commemoration and resistance in this 'powerful and much-needed oral history of the  Nabka'. (Jonathan Cook, author of Disappearing Palestine)
Palestinian Women is the first book to examine and document the experiences and the historical narrative of ordinary Palestinian women who witnessed the events of 1948 and became involuntary citizens of the State of Israel. Told in their own words, the women's experiences serve as a window for examining the complex intersections of gender, nationalism and citizenship in a situation of ongoing violent political conflict.
Reclaiming the F Word
Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune
'A positive, upbeat survey of the contemporary fight for women's rights. Feminism never went away, but right now it's more essential than ever. Give a copy of this book to every teenager in your life.' – Laurie Penny
This is a generation-defining book demanding nothing less than freedom and equality, for all. Based on a survey of over a thousand feminists, Reclaiming the F Word reveals the what, why and how of today's feminism, from cosmetic surgery to celebrity culture, from sex to singleness and now, in this new edition, the gendered effects of possibly the worst economic crisis ever.
Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva
Is there a relationship between patriarchal oppression and the destruction of nature in the name of profit and progress? How can women counter the violence inherent in these processes? Should they look to a link between the women's movement and other social movements?
This groundbreaking work remains as relevant today as when it was when first published in 1993. Two of Zed's best-known authors argue that ecological destruction and industrial catastrophes constitute a direct threat to everyday life, the maintenance of which has been made the particular responsibility of women.
Sex Work Matters
Exploring Money, Power, and Intimacy in the Sex Industry
Edited by Melissa Hope Ditmore, Antonia Levy, and Alys Willman
'Sex Work Matters is destined to become a classic in its field, offering fresh new perspectives on romantic and economic taboos in the lives of sex workers.' – Tracy Quan, Guardian columnist and author, Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
A vital and original contribution to sex-worker rights that explores the topic in its cultural, economic and political dimensions, from insights by sex workers on how they handle money, intimate relationships and daily harassment by the police, to the experience of male and transgender sex work.
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
Laura María Agustín
This groundbreaking book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work; that migrants who sell sex are passive victims; and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest.
'This book questions some of our most cherished modern assumptions, and shows that a different ethics of concern is possible.' – Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina
Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
The New Maids
Transnational Women and the Care Economy
A pioneering book, grounded on rich, empirical evidence, which examines the relationship between globalization, transnationalism, gender and the care economy. Expertly addressing the thorny questions that surround the increasing number of migrant domestic workers and cleaners, child-carers and caregivers who maintain modern Western households, the author argues that domestic work plays the defining role in global ethnic and gender hierarchies.
Helma Lutz 'shares poignant narratives that reveal the paradoxical lives of today's maids as one of simultaneous professionalism and personalism at work, distance and proximity in the family, and the unrecognized dependency on their labor by the state.' – Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California
And coming next month...
The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China
Leta Hong Fincher
A century ago, Chinese feminists fighting for the emancipation of women helped spark the republican revolution, which overthrew the Qing empire. In the early years of the People's Republic, the Communist Party sought to transform gender relations with expansive initiatives. Yet those gains are now being eroded in China's post-socialist era. Contrary to many claims made in the mainstream media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of many rights and gains relative to men.
This crucial book debunks the popular myth that women have fared well as a result of post-socialist China's economic reforms and breakneck growth.