Book Recommendations For The International Women's Day

As March 8th is the International Women's Day, I decided it was only fair that I wrote a list of feminist reads to pick up and read. Even though things has improved a lot, at least in the Western world, in the last century, there's still room for improvement in several areas.


So here's a list of eleven books one could pick up and read. Some of them, such as Hood Feminism, also deals with intersectional feminism.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
Description from Goodreads

“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”

Nujood Ali's childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband's hands and of her daring escape. With the help of local advocates and the press, Nujood obtained her freedom—an extraordinary achievement in Yemen, where almost half of all girls are married under the legal age. Nujood's courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has inspired other young girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Hers is an unforgettable story of tragedy, triumph, and courage.

In The Name of Honour: A Memoir by Mukhtar Mai
Description from Goodreads

In June 2002, Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani woman from the impoverished village of Meerwala, was gang-raped by a local clan known as the Mastoi — punishment for indiscretions allegedly committed by the woman's brother. While certainly not the first account of a female body being negotiated for honor in a family, this time the survivor had bravely chosen to fight back. In doing so, Mai single-handedly changed the feminist movement in Pakistan, one of the world's most adverse climates for women. By July 2002, the Pakistani government awarded her the equivalent of 8,500 U.S. dollars in compensation money and sentenced her attackers to death — and Mukhtar Mai went on to open a school for girls so that future generations would not suffer, as she had, from illiteracy.

In this rousing account, Mai describes her experience and how she has since become an agent for change and a beacon of hope for oppressed women around the world. Timely and topical, "In the Name of Honor" is the remarkable and inspirational memoir of a woman who fought and triumphed against exceptional odds.

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Description from Goodreads

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
Description from Goodreads

In her comic, scathing essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

She ends on a serious note— because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, “He’s trying to kill me!”

This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the writer Virginia Woolf ’s embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Description from Goodreads

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
Description from Goodreads

Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?

Speaking of Feminism: Today's Activists on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Women's Movement by Rachel F Seidman
Description from Goodreads

From the Women's Marches to the MeToo movement, it is clear that feminist activism is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. But how does a new generation of activists understand the work of the movement today? How are their strategies and goals unfolding? What worries feminist leaders most, and what are their hopes for the future? In Speaking of Feminism, Rachel F. Seidman presents insights from twenty-five feminist activists from around the United States, ranging in age from twenty to fifty. Allowing their voices to take center stage through the use of in-depth oral history interviews, Seidman places their narratives in historical context and argues that they help explain how recent new forms of activism developed and flourished so quickly. These individuals' compelling life stories reveal their hard work to build flexible networks, bridge past and present, and forge global connections. This book offers essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the contemporary American women's movement in all its diversity.

Women in Battle by Marte Breen
Description from Goodreads

Freedom. Equality. Sisterhood. WOMEN IN BATTLE is the book for anyone who wants to learn as much as possible about the history of feminism in as short a time as possible.

Presented as a graphic novel and spanning 150 years of recent history, WOMEN IN BATTLE celebrates the fight for women's rights all over the world.

Topics include the suffragette movement, female world leaders, abortion and contraception, gay marriage and #MeToo.

Slowly but surely we are making progress. We need only dare to be heard.

Seduced Into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist's Sexual Abuse by Carrie Ishee
Description from Goodreads

Seduced Into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist's Sexual Abuse is a vivid and captivating story of hope for survivors of abuse as well as a case study in a skilled manipulator's tragic exploitation of his professional power. This poignant memoir chronicles the traumatic psychological abduction and sexual exploitation of depressed college student Carrie Tansey at the hands of her psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Romano--thirty-one years her senior. For three years, their secret "affair" was carefully calculated and controlled by Romano, as Carrie's mental and emotional health continued to deteriorate, bringing her closer and closer to the edge. Their dual-relationship--clinical and clandestine--finally came to light when Carrie's suicide attempts landed her in a world-renowned psychiatric hospital. Gradually, she began to reclaim her power, reported Romano to the state licensing board, successfully sued him for malpractice, and testified before the state legislature to help pass a law aimed at curbing such abuses. As Carrie tells her tale, it is a journey paralleling that of the mythical archetype Persephone, the naive innocent who was abducted into darkness, reemerged and regenerated herself, then fearlessly returned to the prison she had fled, this time to help free others. Today, Carrie Ishee is a widely respected art therapist and life coach as well as a teacher specializing in the issues of ethics and boundaries for mental health professionals.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Description from Goodreads

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Mrs Despard and the Suffrage Movement: Founder of the Women's Freedom League by Helen Matheson-Pollock and Lynne Graham-Matheson
Description from Goodreads

Charlotte Despard, social reformer and suffragette, was always known as Mrs Despard, never Charlotte. Her name should be synonymous with those of Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett. Instead, she remains overlooked.

Born in 1844, Charlotte's childhood was difficult: she found solace in great literature, identifying with Milton's Satan and the romantic words of Shelley. She married Maximillian Despard and had the opportunity to explore the world and try her hand at a career as a novelist.

Widowed in her early 40s, her money and status allowed her to live a life of surprising freedom for a woman of her time. Charlotte devoted her life to improving the lot of the poor and moved to live among them in the London slums. She fought for better and fairer living/working conditions for all, supporting adult suffrage before becoming heavily involved in the fight for votes for women. She joined Emmeline Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union and when that organisation split in 1907 co-founded the Women's Freedom League, becoming its first, much loved, president. She also served as editor and major contributor to its newspaper, _The Vote_. When suffrage activities were largely suspended after the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, she returned to her Irish roots and moved to Dublin to support the fight for Irish home rule. After some women were enfranchised in 1918 she tried to capitalise on the upturn for women's political freedom by (unsuccessfully) running for Parliament.

Charlotte's political and public career ended tragically when she died in Belfast aged 95, penniless and alone, having given all her money to helping those less fortunate. Her quiet legacy continues to be felt to this day in causes supporting the rights of women and children.

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