Title: The Cowgirl Way: Hats Off to America's Women of the West
Author: Holly George-Warren
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Concepts: gender equality, occupations, careers, property rights
Review: Not only did the western states and territories lead the rest of the United States in granting women the right to vote, own property, and keep the money they earned, the west also gave rise to the country's first cowgirls. Starting in the 1840s, a growing number of women operated and worked on ranches that stocked horses and cattle. First known as "cow-boy girls" and later as "cowgirls," these women worked hard to round up cattle and tame wild horses as they rode the range. Just like their male counterparts, they placed a key role in herding cattle, establishing homesteads, and settling the western frontier.
Not only did cowgirls work the ranch, they also performed in Wild West shows, competed in rodeos, and inspired roles in Hollywood films. To this day women still work on ranches and perform in rodeo competitions. Perhaps one of the most famous cowgirls in modern times, Sandra Day O'Connor grew up on a ranch and had learned to ride and shoot by the age of eight. That drive and determination from her ranching days served her well as she ultimately became the first female Supreme Court justice.
This book serves as a useful resource in teaching children about an interesting male-dominated occupation in which women have worked for a very long time. Careful research, an impressive display of photographs and images, and an interesting narrative keep the attention of young readers eager to bust some myths about women's roles in the Wild West.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children