It's International Women's Day! In case you're unfamiliar, every year International Women's Day celebrates the cultural, social, economic and political achievements of women and campaigns towards gender parity. Each March 8th has a different theme and this years' is Press for Progress. You can go over to the IWD website and take the pledge to do this in various different ways. We've pledged to challenge stereotypes and bias in the coming year, and of course we have a list of books which help to do that.
Before I start I should mention And Other Stories Year of Publishing Women. If you're looking for excellent and unusual books by female authors definitely check out their 2018 catalogue!
We've cheated a little and snuck in one that isn't independently published just because it's so good! Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo is a beautiful, inspiring anthology. I've been reading it to my boys who completely adore it and we've been learning so much about so many different types of women. Each page features a beautiful illustration of the woman and a description of her life and how she defied convention and expectations to do something excellent.
Moving on to my little pile of indie books, 404 Ink's inaugural collection Nasty Women is full of insightful, thought-provoking pieces all about being a woman in the post 2016 world. It made me think about a lot of things I'd been happily oblivious to and that's always a good thing. The list of contributors is extremely varied and it's the perfect place to start to get you thinking outside of your own worldview.
The Impossible Fairytale by Han Yujoo is the only novel on our pile. It's a really unusual story about two girls, one who is beautiful and beloved and the other who is neglected, abused and forgotten. It shows the darker side of childhood and is a really stark contrast of conventional 'girlhood' against unconventional.
It's International Women's Day but it's important to realise how traditional gender stereotypes imposed by society have affected women's progress and how the impact they've had on men has been part of that. Man Up by Jack Unwin is a really interesting looking take on this. It's an elongated version of his Vice article, A Stiff Upper Lip is Killing British Men. It's been on my shelf for a year or so now and I will get to it soon!
Virginia Woolf probably doesn't need much introduction and although I'm not a huge fan of her novels I do feel it's important for me to finally finish reading A Room of One's Own soon. I've read the first couple of chapters and found them very engaging as well as enraging as she writes about women needing a space of their own in order to create.
Finally, I'm fully immersed in Gloria Steinem's memoir of her life, My Life on the Road. It's a really interesting memoir and very well written. In it she talks about her parents and her early life and the influence that it's had on her and the way that she lives her life. I have to admit (probably shockingly) that before reading this I was only really aware of Gloria Steinem as a name. I knew that she had something to do with the feminist movement but not really anything else about her, so this book has been very interesting from that point of view. Also if you want to read something that's both inspiring and soothing and also full of great stories this is definitely a book to chose!
For more inspiration on the lives of great women you can check out the amazing books being launched on International Women's Day. There is also a Classroom Reading List , a Pioneering Women Reading List, and Penguin Random House have created their own list of 46 Books About Women who Changed the World.
Not book related, but I wanted to give a quick shoutout to a new and amazing podcast from writer and podcaster Tsh Oxenreider. In Women's Work she talks each week to a woman who does an awesome job in many different fields and sectors. So far she's interviewed women all the way from a bookshop owner through to a felony prosecutor. It's really interesting and inspiring and I urge you to check it out!
We'd love to hear about your favourite inspiring, feminist books, or just your favourite book by a woman. Please leave them in the comments so we can add them to our TBR!