International Women’s Day: Six Inspiring Reads

07.03.2017

On 8th March International Women’s Day will be celebrated globally, a day to remember and honour the great women throughout history, and to recognise extraordinary women and their achievements today.

With this in mind, we created an edit of our favourite books featuring female heroines worth celebrating, from those who reject the status quo to the women displaying incredible strength and determination in the face of oppression. Prepare to be seriously inspired.

1. The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig

The Birth of the Pill tells the story of the extraordinary people behind the invention of the contraceptive pill. After five decades of campaigning for women’s rights to control their fertility, Margaret Sanger meets a scientist and women’s rights are changed forever. Brilliantly researched and vividly written, The Birth of the Pill is a gripping account of a remarkable cultural, social and scientific journey.

2. Eat, Sweat, Play by Anna Kessel

For too long, society has ingrained in us the belief that women and sport don’t mix. Part-manifesto, part how-to, Eat, Sweat, Play is a call to arms for women to take back sport for themselves. This is a brave and funny exploration of major taboos including body dysmorphia, periods, sex and the gender pay gap and how sport and exercise are integral to every part of a modern woman’s life.

3. The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy

This beautifully crafted collection of poems from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy gives a voice to the women excluded from mythology. Behind every famous man is a great woman, and this feminist classic hears from Mrs Darwin, Queen Kong and Frau Freud.

4. Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

Performance poet Kate Tempest has written a multi-voiced collection of poetry based on the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man and woman to blind prophet. Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry. 

5. A Different Kind Of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai

Growing up in Pakistan, girls were not allowed to play sport. This is the beautiful, heart-wrenching memoir of Maria who defied the Taliban and disguised herself as a boy so she could compete in sports.

6. Find A Way by Diana Nyed

The memoir from the world’s greatest ultra-distance swimmer, Diana Nyed. For years, Diana was globally acknowledged as the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world but there was one record she was determined to break: becoming the first woman to swim between Cuba and the Florida Keys without a shark cage. After four failed attempts Diana finally achieves her goal. Find A Way is the story of her incredible triumph and more importantly, her courage and determination in the face of failure.

Want more on great female literary heroes? Click here