The Gate to Women’s Country, by Sheri S. TepperRead about the other entries on the list.
Tepper’s post-apocalyptic world sees women separating themselves from men, who are confined to a militaristic culture—they ritualistically reject their mothers and join a “garrison” when they come of age. Women govern, they research, they cultivate the crops,they write the poetry. The men fight each other senselessly, standing ready to do battle, and little else. Tepper follows the life of Stavia from her girlhood to serving as a member of the Women’s Council; her decision along the way to start giving books to a man named Chernon has unintended consequences. The premise seems simplistic on the surface, but only grows more fascinating as you drill down into the deft characterizations.