Best books to celebrate International Women’s Day
Inspiring reads from female authors around the world
Today is International Women’s Day - a celebration of the achievements of women throughout history - with events scheduled across the globe.
This year’s #EachForEqual campaign is aimed at drawing attention to the difference individuals can make to defeating sexism in the modern world, the World Economic Forum says.
For those looking to celebrate the world of women with a riveting, funny or inspirational read, here are some of the finest books with which to mark the day.
Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis
A new offering from Helen Lewis, former deputy editor of the New Statesman, Difficult Women is a study of the “victories secured by 19th and 20th-century feminists that many of us take for granted”, including “the right to divorce, vote, study, work, enjoy consensual sex, compete in team sports, abort a foetus or escape violent partners”, says The Guardian.
In a review for The Observer, Rachel Cooke writes: “What I loved most of all is her clear respect for those who went before us, particularly the second wave. Not for her the dismissiveness of some younger feminists for older women. Lewis understands that we are all products of our time; that we stand on shifting sands. In this context, respect seems like a rare solid thing and it should be given freely.”
Outspoken: 50 Speeches by Incredible Women by Deborah Coughlin
Deborah Coughlin’s compilation Outspoken promises a “celebration of outstanding and outspoken women, from Virginia Woolf to Greta Thunberg”.
It offers key soundbites from women in history, including Joan of Arc and Oprah Winfrey.
She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
She Said is perhaps the defining document of an era that has seen the tide of public opinion turn on sexual harassment and assault in the modern world - and the men who perpetrated it for so long. Kantor and Twohey were The New York Times journalists who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse in 2017, igniting the #MeToo movement and sparking a cultural phenomenon across the globe. In a glowing review, The Telegraph calls She Said a “gripping read” about the tenacity of two women who “changed the world”.
Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
A little-discussed facet of gender inequality are the inherent biases in design and architecture; can a woman reach this unnecessarily high top shelf? Can they walk under this underpass without the fear of being sexually assaulted? From smartphones to bus stops, the world has been designed by men, to suit the needs of men, says The Guardian.
Invisible Women is a comprehensive compendium of these flaws, with author Caroline Criado Perez offering “endless nuggets to chew on”, concludes the newspaper.
In Her Footsteps by Lonely Planet
“Where trailblazing women changed the world,” reads the subtitle of In Her Footsteps, the latest offering from travel publishers Lonely Planet.
Part historiography of world women, part feminist travel guide, In Her Footsteps highlights the “world’s best feminist bookstores, sites for goddess worship, stories of female pirates and their favourite haunts, and queer pioneers who were well ahead of their time”, Travel Weekly says.
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
“With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck,” says GoodReads, which calls the book a “candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself”.
Ephron speaks frankly and uproariously about life as a woman of a certain age. Courageous, wickedly funny and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, this is a book of wisdom, advice and laugh-out-loud moments.
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Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Eight years in the making, Three Women chronicles the sex lives of three American women, all selected because their stories struck a chord.
Megan Nolan in the New Statesman described it as a “once-in-a-generation” work - a “majestic assertion of the existence of women’s desire”.
Anthology of Amazing Women by Sandra Lawrence
Sandra Lawrence’s Anthology of Amazing Women is a gripping, moving collection of stories of 50 women who have changed the world for the better - complete with stunning illustrations.
“Standing out for their achievements in sport, science, the arts, politics, and history, these women have made huge contributions to today's society,” says Templar Publishing. “Featuring incredible women from the past and present such as Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg, Mary Anning, Emmeline Pankhurst and Malala.”