International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March) is a global day of celebration of the social and political achievements of women and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This list contains some of the books that have helped me educate and continue educating myself to understand what feminism is and the impact it has.
A couples of years ago, I randomly chose three shelves of my book collection and removed all books written by women. The number of books, as you can see in the picture, was halved.
This made me wonder what the result would have been, had women had the same opportunities as men in the past centuries. I asked myself how many great books have gone unwritten, how many stories untold? How many authors of the likes of Alice Munro, Elvira Lindo or Jane Austen have we missed?
I think that was the first time, that as a man, I really understood the need for feminism and how important it was for everyone.
Inspired by International Women’s Day, the selection listed below contains some of the books that have helped me educate and continue educating myself to understand what Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, explained so well: ‘The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.’ [Source]
Author: Roxane Gay (Little Brown, 2014) (link)
In this collection of articles, cultural critic, novelist and professor Roxane Gay explores what it means to be a feminist and how there is not only a single way of being one.
We Should All Be Feminists
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fourth Estate, 2014) (link)
In this essay, the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who also wrote the novel Americanah) confronts the questions of what it means to be a feminist and why gender bias is harmful for men and women alike.
A Room of One’s Own
Author: Virginia Woolf (Penguin; 2014) (link)
An important feminist text, the essay by Virginia Woolf is noted in its argument for both a literal and figurative space for women’s writers within a literary tradition dominated by men.
Feminism is for Everybody
Author: Bell Hooks (Routledge, 2014) (link)
In this treatise for the lay-feminist, author Bell Hooks explains and examines inclusive feminism and the practical application of it in a way that is both entertaining and informative.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood (Anchor, 2016) (link)
The story by Margaret Atwood follows Offred, a member of the fertile female servant class that is forced to survive in a dystopic near future by serving as reproductive vessels for the ruling class. In a time when women’s reproductive rights remain politically contentious, Atwood’s novel remains extremely important.
As usual, the above is a very small and personal sample of books that have helped me understand feminism. Let us know in the comments if you have any other recommendations, we would love to hear from you!
These books that have helped me educate and continue educating myself to understand what feminism is and the impact it has
The theme for the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) is #EachForEqual. The main photo that the author chose to align with this article was taken (by Abel Escobar) at a demonstration for IWD 2 years which had a focus on eradicating domestic violence against women: ‘I think I chose the image because every year on IWD I hear people saying that feminism is not needed anymore and this picture shows that, sadly, is not the case,’ comments Lucas. The sign the lady carries says ‘WeKeepFighting #NoMoreVictims’.