February 21, 2024

13 empowering feminist books everyone should read

Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions

£3. 86, Amazon
Authors: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a pretty perfect place to start. If you’ve ever been confused about feminism and what you should think, or just want to learn a little more about the world for women and how to articulate your experiences, this heartfelt letter from Chimamanda to her daughter will lay it out for you – plain and simple.

Slay In Your Lane

£6. 40, Amazon
Authors: Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Covering topics from modern dating challenges to work culture and progression, this incredibly inspirational and informative guide highlights the challenges faced and spectacular waves made by black British women. An eye-opening, representative and humorous book, it’s not just an educational read, but an essential one.

Everything I know About Love

7. 99, Amazon
Authors: Dolly Alderton

You’ll blitz through this one like there’s no tomorrow, but that’s no excuse not to pack it for a weekend trip. Every woman I talk to finds something incredible relatable, side-splittingly hilarious and humanly heartbreaking in what is an (ultimately) uplifting, grounding and charming debut from this podcast queen and journalist extraordinaire. This autobiographic tale of the modern millennial experience will open your mind.

The Second Sex

£4. 99, Amazon
Authors: Simone De Beauvoir

This is essential reading for anyone studying gender, a groundbreaking psychoanalytic existentialist study of women in society that still resonates nearly 70 years after publication. Proving her intellectual equality to her beloved Sartre, De Beauvoir interrogates the way women think and hope, feel and suffer, in overwhelmingly eloquent prose. Not a light read, but a very important one, written before ‘feminism‘ was the commonplace phrase it is in many societies today.

The Handmaid’s Tale

£6. 47, Amazon
Authors: Margaret Atwood

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been exposed to the brilliantly directed television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, but Margaret Atwood’s original text still has a lot of chilling context and content to offer. A dystopian future for Western territories sees women’s rights completely overhauled in the name of religion, and explores the importance of power plays in modern society. Though at times it may seem far-fetched in its gruesome events, The Handmaid’s Tale draws inspiration from multiple communities around the world where atrocities and violations have occurred – as one woman who was a member of a religious cult openly discussed with GLAMOUR.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

£6. 29, Amazon
Authors: Maya Angelou

The essential coming-of-age story, this first book in Maya Angelou’s 7-part autobiography series tracks her journey from a young female victim of racism to an articulate, dignified and proud young lady who challenges prejudice and responds to her critics. An exploration of identity through the eyes of a young black woman in America, it tackles extremely challenging and harrowing topics with grace and intelligence, showing how literacy can have a profound and lasting impact on changing one’s circumstance.

The Yellow Wall Paper

£2. 10, Amazon
Authors: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

One of the most lasting representations of female descent into psychosis in history, this short story is an essential exploration of 19th Century opinions on female psychological health that has an enduring resonance. An overwhelmingly poignant tale, it has been read as one of the first key pieces of fiction to explore post-partum depression, and it’s almost impossible not to be haunted by vivid visions of the dilapidated attic room.

The Power

£5. 70, Amazon
Authors: Naomi Alderman

Inspired by the cult dystopian feminist worlds of predecessors such as Atwood, Naomi Alderman’s winner of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize For Fiction is an electrifying tale told through multiple voices, a stunning interpretation of a world where women literally possess a strength and power that shifts and changes the entire construct of society. With fast-pace and masterful storytelling, you’ll pace through this one like there’s no tomorrow, all the while questioning how you’d harness your own inner power.

I Am Malala

£6. 49, Amazon
Authors: Malala Yousafzai
A true inspiration, this book makes a stand for the free, quality and safe education of women worldwide, Malala’s story is an eye-opening look into gender discrimination and female rights across multiple societies. See our favourite quotes from Malala for all the times she used her voice for good.

Women Power

£5. 48, Amazon
Authors: Mary Beard

Classicist Mary Beard traces women in history, from mansplaining to Medusa, and discusses the gender agenda of today by uncovering the relationship of women and power. With personal anecdotes, and a whole bunch of cultural awareness, she unpacks the meaning behind ‘power’ as we perceive it today.

The Bell Jar

£6. 47, Amazon
Authors: Sylvia Plath

A quintessentially feminist tale, the fraught and emotional prose in this semi-autobiographical story of a female descent into mental illness captures perfectly the woes of a young woman as her body, experiences and world changes around her. Esther’s engagements with the women surrounding her are eye-opening, and will help you question your place in society.

She Must Be Mad

£6. 20, Amazon
Authors: Charly Cox

Instagram poetry sensation Charly Cox translates the plights, worries, thoughts and feelings of modern women into accessible short reads of prose and poems that have you laughing, crying and questioning your own life in no time. With delicate prose that reveals the reality of coming-of-age in an overwhelmingly honest and open personal tale, it’s packed full of emotion and a brilliant weekend read.

We Should All Be Feminists

£3. 25, Amazon
Authors: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

So talented at expressing the realities of feminism, we couldn’t resist including a second Chimamanda offering. This short essay, an adapted version of her empowering Tedx talk, discusses the definition of feminism in today’s world, the integral importance of awareness and inclusivity, understanding and challenging. This is a stocking filler/secret santa/pocket-size articulation of exactly why feminism should be supported by everyone.

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