We sure know that the world could use a lot more women in positions of power, women’s voices to be heard, acknowledged and taken with as much sincerity as our counterparts. Women are the past, present and future and it is about time we help empower each other and have our voices heard.
To help fuel and inspire the feminine fire in you, we have curated a list of world-renowned books on womanhood, women empowerment and autobiographies of women who lead. May this help ignite a roaring flame in you to march forward towards a better, safer and more accepting world for women from all walks of life.
1. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A powerful book on the stereotypes surrounding feminism and what it truly means. Adichie based this book on her famous Tedx Talk with the same name and talks about how the word ‘feminism’ or ‘feminist’ has been loosely thrown around as insults. Through a series of anecdotes, she exposes all the times she faced gender-based discrimination and masterfully sheds light on the importance of understanding what feminism and being a feminist truly means. A very relatable and educative read.
2. Becoming - Michelle Obama
Also available as a Netflix documentary, Becoming is a memoir by the former First Lady of America, Michelle Obama and her personal journey through her work. The book gives us a detailed look into the life of Michelle as a person of her own, her education, her works and the way she juggles her personal and professional life. It is a must-read to help understand and find inspiration through the journey of a woman of colour in power.
3. The Colour Purple - Alice Walker
Alice Walker has always been an advocate of women of colour and a pioneer of intersectional feminism. Through The Colour Purple, Walker brings to life the traumas and triumph of a young girl of colour. She narrates her resistance towards oppression through a series of letters addressed to God. It’s a powerful and emotional read.
4. My Story - Kamala Suraiyya
Originally written in Malayalam, My Story is a chronological autobiography written by Kamala Das. For those who know about the author, Kamala was an unconventional, rebellious and frank writer whose works have inspired young girls to awaken their true selves and follow their dreams. Her autobiography largely talks about her rocky life story from facing discrimination, her literary career to realizing who she truly is. Add this to your ‘To Read’ list if you are looking to find inspiration from a woman of high spirits and have been through it all.
5. I Am Malala - Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
A story that shocked the world, I Am Malala is a recollection of Malala Yousafzai’s life as an activist for girls’ education and speaker of free will. She gives a detailed description of encountering various dangers while fighting for what she truly believed in. Her biography only proves that there is no stopping us when we put our heart and mind to it.
6. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath is someone known for not conforming to societal standards and advancing the genre of confessional poetry. The Bell Jar illustrates a college girl’s struggles with identity and issues with social norms. Interestingly, some say that the character, Ether Greenwood closely resembles Plath herself. A classic book to add to your monthly reading list.
7. Girls - Mrinal Pande
Some of us may have read this moving short story in high school as part of the curriculum but it is only now that we truly learn to appreciate this masterpiece. Girls is narrated from the point of view of an eight-year-old girl who exposes the indifference of Indian society towards women. The ending of the short story is what many of us wish we could have done at times. Give it a read for much relatable content.
8. Phenomenal Woman - Maya Angelou
As the title suggests, Phenomenal Woman is really about how magnificently phenomenal women are. The captivating poem distorts the restrictive notions of feminine beauty. She extensively talks about being confident and comfortable in one's own skin. As she suggests, true beauty lies “... in the reach of my arms, / The span of my hips, / The stride of my step, / The curl of my lips. “ A poem close to our heart and values.
Here’s to more women who lead, succeed and grow. More power to you, ladies!