International Women's Day takes place every year on 8th March, and this year the theme is 'Press For Progress.' Campaign organisers say "Now, more than ever, there's a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity." There's a need to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. With that in mind, we'd like to push the books that we find empowering so that others can benefit from them too. The books below will inspire you – no matter what walk of life you’re from. Some will motivate you to get the career you’ve always wanted. Others will help you move forward from gruelling, emotional times. Either way, there’s something for everyone. Which one will you read?
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed was once known solely as Sugar. She was an online columnist at The Rumpus, helping women solve some of the biggest problems in their lives. Be it unpaid bills, an unfaithful partner, the death of a loved one – Sugar was able to advise women through honest humour, insight, and compassion. Now that she's no longer anonymous, the writer has compiled her columns (including some that have never been seen before) into a heartwarming book. Tiny Beautiful Things is enough to get you through the most testing of times with a smile.
What Happened by Hillary Clinton
Of all the things you can take from Hillary Clinton’s autobiography, the most important lesson is this: No matter what comes your way, you can absolutely overcome it, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Hillary Clinton never thought she would lose to Donald Trump, and when the inevitable happened, she was forced to confront her failure and rise above it. Sure, she drank a lot of Chardonnay, and yeah, she “nearly threw the remote control at the wall,” but she got through it. If a 70-year-old can “come to terms with the fact that a lot of people - millions and millions of people - decided they just didn’t like me,” then surely we can triumph over our setbacks too. The book is also brilliantly sarcastic with laugh-out-loud moments, while other pages will inspire you to run for local office. It’s an absolute must-read.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
This collection of essays tackles serious issues including feminism, class and race in a fun way. Roxane Gay documents her evolution as a woman – from a Sweet Valley High-loving teenager to a grown-up who cares about women’s abortion rights. She uses humour and personal experiences to educate her readers about things going on in the society around them. The way in which she questions things makes us question ourselves, and in turn, motivates us to do better. In her own words, "I'd rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all."
The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
The Cows is a story of three women – Tara, Camilla and Stella – all of whom are living very different lives. One works in a male-dominated environment, another is a lifestyle blogger, while the third is facing a cancer diagnosis. However, the one thing they all have in common is that they're each trying to make it in a society that constantly puts them down. Scottish author Dawn O'Porter challenges female stereotypes and teaches the reader that it's okay to stand up and make yourself heard. She encourages the reader to fight for what they believe in, and no matter what, #DontFollowTheHerd.
Living The Life More Fabulous: Beauty, Style And Empowerment For Older Women by Tricia Cusden
"There has never been a better time to be an older woman," says Tricia Cusden. "We are fitter, healthier and living longer than at any time in history. My intention is to show you how to live your extra bonus of time as fabulously as possible." This feel-good book features advice on everything from beauty and fashion to health and self-esteem. It's been described on social media as "reassuring, like a best friend, full of friendly advice", while others have said it’s inspiring and heartwarming.
Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
You know the term ‘mansplaining’? Solnit’s book is where it stemmed from. This compilation of seven essays offers an eye-opening insight into rape culture, online harassment and general patriarchy. Sure, those are things we all know about already, but she writes about them so eloquently that you cannot help but feel supported by her words. The message that you are not alone in this is a powerful one. According to the publisher Haymarket Books, the collection "has become a touchstone of the feminist movement” and champions the rights of women everywhere.