March is Women’s History Month, a time when we can educate ourselves on historic moments women fought for and our progress thus far, along with celebrating women as a whole. And what better way to do that than reading a bunch of books about women by women? If you are looking for recommendations on biographies that will educate you, comedies that will make your belly ache or stories that encapsulate the unique challenges women face every day, read on.
‘The Secret History of Wonder Woman’ by Jill Lepore
In this book about the popular superhero character, we learn the parallels between Wonder Woman and the fight for women’s rights. Lepore argues that Wonder Woman is a kind of missing link in our rights’ history, and details the creator of the comic book hit and his own relationship with powerful women. If you like superheroes and educating yourself on women’s rights, this is a must-have on your bookshelf.
‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women’ by Elena Favilli
“Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” tells the stories of female heroes from years ago and present day. With color portraits and biographies that are short and sweet, this book is a page-turner for anyone wanting to learn about influential women in the past and present.
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In this longform essay, which was adapted from Adichie’s viral TEDx talk by the same name, she draws from her experience being born in Nigeria and moving to the US at age 19, offering a unique, new definition of feminism for the 21st century.
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
A classic that never gets old. Set in rural England in the early 19th century, this tale centers around the Bennet family, a family of five daughters and their two parents who are desperate to find at least one of the daughters a wealthy match. Austen’s story focuses on the tension between marrying for love instead of just for power and prestige, and also the unique pressure on women to find financial security by way of marriage at the time.
‘‘Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World’ by Rachel Ignotofsky
“Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” is a sweetly illustrated and educational book that highlights the contributions of 50 women in the fields of technology, science, engineering and mathematics, from present day all the way back to 360 AD.
‘Hidden Figures’ by Margot Lee Shetterly
This book tells the inspiring true story of four Black female mathematicians — Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden — who worked for NASA in the 1950s and ’60s, and participated in some of the organization’s biggest successes, including sending a man into outer space. It chronicles nearly 30 years of their lives, which involved fighting against both sexism and brutal racism, and also how they used their intelligence to change both their own lives and this country.
‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott
In this classic coming-of-age story, writer Louisa May Alcott tells us the story of the March girls — Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy — all of whom are facing pivotal life decisions, whether that be who to marry or how to push against societal expectations and find a new life path themselves. “Little Women” is based loosely on Alcott’s younger years, and this book is guaranteed to touch the hearts of readers young and old.
‘My Own Words’ by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In this witty, engaging, New York Times-bestselling book, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses gender equality and the work of the Supreme Court as well as her own fascinating personal life and the impact of her Jewish faith.
‘Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own’ by Kate Bolick
Some want to marry, while others choose to lead an independent life on their own. In this witty conversation starter, author and journalist Kate Bolick uses her life as an example for why there’s a growing population of women that chooses to remain unmarried, and how women can savor these years and their lives in a wholly fulfilling way.
‘Elizabeth the Queen’ by Sally Bedell Smith
Known for leading an exceedingly private life, all while being arguably the most known woman in the world, “Elizabeth the Queen” explains the history of the Queen and how her characteristics as a woman have led her to be an icon for women’s rights at a global scale. Spanning from 1952 — at the time of her ascension to the throne — to modern day, Smith pulls back the curtain to detail the Queen’s personal life during her last 60 years as a leader.
‘The Moment of Lift’ by Melinda Gates
Empowering women across the world, Melinda Gates writes this book with a focus around gender equality and empathy. Combining scientific data and stories alike, “The Moment of Lift” highlights her experience with inequality in the workplace and humanitarian work.
‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama
We wouldn’t be able to write this list without including Michelle Obama’s memoir. “Becoming” has the former FLOTUS discussing her childhood, family, motherhood, her own FLOTUS impact, the pressures of being part of the first Black family in the White House and balancing her public life now. And of course she writes all about meeting her husband and the many unique challenges they faced too.
‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey
In “Bossypants,” comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Fey writes all about her life and career, and offers a unique and modern take on motherhood and power, all of course while being uproariously funny.
The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice
by Patricia Bell-Scott
A finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and longlisted for the National Book Award, The Firebrand and the First Lady is the riveting history, two decades in the making, of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist and the first lady of the United States forged an enduring friendship that helped to alter the course of race and racism in America. In 1938, the twenty-eight-year-old Pauli Murray wrote a letter to the President and First Lady, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, protesting racial segregation in the South. Eleanor wrote back. So began a friendship that would last for a quarter of a century, as Pauli became a lawyer, principal strategist in the fight to protect Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a co-founder of the National Organization of Women, and Eleanor became a diplomat and first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Bad Feminists: Essays by Roxane Gay
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay. In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture. Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.