10+ fiction and nonfiction books about feminism that you need to read

I think we can say that feminism is here for good and that is a great thing #TimesUp. Huge progress has been made regarding equality in the workplace, at schools and at home but there's so much left to do it's never been a better time to join the discussion. Feminism and gender roles are not just a "girl thing"; it concerns everybody and everyone of us. From essays to bedtime stories, here are some books that may help you understand the struggles women have faced throughout history and keep on learning about the feminist fight.

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A Room Of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf

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This 1929 classic essay is a key work of feminist literature where the renowned author puts through a magnifying glass the educational, social and financial difficulties women have been facing since forever but specially the space for female writers within an industry traditionally run by men.

Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, by bell hooks

goodreads

Racism and sexism on black women, civil rights and slavery are some of the topics that can be found in this piece that questions black nationalism as a misogynist and patriarchal movement.

All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Woman and the Rise of an Independent Nation, by Rebecca Traister

goodreads

The award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister explores the 21st century phenomenon of single women in America through the lens of the unmarried American woman in this book filled with contemporary and rich anecdotes.

Almost Adulting, by Arden Rose

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While focusing on the extenuating journey of growing up in such a hilarious way, the social media influencer and lifestyle vlogger gives away some hints on self-love, being an independent working woman and how to kind of success at it.

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Americanah tells the story of a young Nigerian woman, Ifemelu, who emigrates to the United States to attend university, examining blackness in America, Nigeria and Britain.

Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson

goodreads

The book offers insight into the real life of fathers and daughters in a novel that can be read both by adults and young adults, giving a portrait of what was like to grow up African-American in the 1970s Brooklyn.

Backwards And In Heels: The Past, Present And Future Of Women Working In Film, by Alicia Malone

amazon

This inspiring book about women working in the film industry is just the right reading for this epic moment in history where Hollywood workers and actresses have stood up for injustices and raised their voice to say that #TimesUp.

Bad Feminist: Essays, by Roxane Gay

amazon

Is there something such as being a bad feminist? Are there multiple ways to be one? In these essays, Gay addresses a wide variety of topics, both cultural and personal that explores being a feminist while loving things that could seem at odds with feminist ideology.

Bloom: Navigating Life And Style, by Estée Lalonde

amazon

The young Canadian UK-based lifestyle and beauty youtuber invites "teens who are working through their own bloom story now" and "women who might recognize their younger selves" to a journey throughout Estée's, also known as Essie, life while talking about self-love, body issues and female empowerment.

Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus, by Vanessa Grigoriadis

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An interesting investigation of how long-standing rules of sex power are being rewritten on the American college campuses, while fighting sexism and sexual assaults.

Darling You Can’t Do Both, by Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk

youngwomeninenergy

"Darling, You Can't Do Both" is a smart, relatable guide which holds new strategies for every ambitious woman who wants to move forward in their workplace and with motherhood but are wondering just how. If you liked "Lean In", you may also like this one too!

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimammanda Ngozi Adichie

penguinrandomhouse

"Dear Ijeawele" was wrote in response to a leer Adichie received a few years ago where a friend asked how to raise a baby girl as a feminist. This book compiles fifteen suggestions for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman.

Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay

goodreads

"Difficult Women" gives an entrance point into discussing difficult topics such as loss, assault, rape culture and loneliness in a time of speaking up and showing we are not alone #MeToo

Feminist Fight Club, by Jessica Bennett

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This "survival manual" blends personal stories with research about the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday and how to fight those behaviors, as well as the system that perpetuates them.

Feminist, Queer, Crip, by Alison Kafer

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Published in 2013, Alison Kafer challenged the ways in which future for disabled bodies may occur and maybe was one of the firsts book that brought to discussion feminism, queerness and disability against normalization.

Girl in A Band: A Memoir, by Kim Gordon

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This autobiography written by former Sonic Youth bass guitarist and songwriter Kim Gordon is a 288-page memoir published on 2015, written by a woman who made art on her terms and who became cultural revolutionary by being her own authentic self. Quite empowering!

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

amazon

An incredible inspiring book for all those little girls there with stunning illustrations of some of the most extraordinary and empowering women of history.

He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, by Jessica Valenti

goodreads

What about double standards? This Jessica Valenti's book will get you through some of the discrepancies women face every day, such as wage earning or sex life, and will give you some tools to combat those sexist comments and attitudes.

How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran

amazon

Caitlin Moran states ""But if there is to be a fifth wave of feminism, I would hope that the main thing that distinguishes it from all that came before is that women finally realize that "no means no" and that modern society has said no to them 4 previous times". Some British-funny memoirs to talk about feminism and what is to be a woman.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

penguinuk

"Jane Eyre" revolutionized the art of fiction and contains elements of social criticism, classism, sexuality religion and proto-feminism, quite ahead of its time for an 1847 novel.

Joining The Dots: A Woman In Her Time, by Juliet Gardiner

harpercollins

One of Britain's best-known social historians explores changing ideas towards birth and adoption, the importance of education for girls and the opportunities offered to women using episodes of her life as a starting point.

King Kong Theory, by Virginie Despentes

emilybooks

This already classic feminist manifesto delivers a highly charged account of women's lives today and explores topics as sex, gender, beauty myths, rape and prostitution based on her experience in the French sex industry.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg

hbanet

A book that will make you think about the challenges women face in trying to get ahead and balancing parenting with work life. A lot about how women can take charge of their own life, the relationship with their partners and careers.

Like Water For Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel

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This popular novel published by the Mexican author in 1989 employs magical realism to tell us the story of a young girl named Tita, who longs for her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother's upholding of the family tradition, encountering topics as self-growth, traditional gender roles and violence.

Matilda, by Roald Dahl

penguinrandomhouse

The book written by British writer Roald Dahl is a great starting point on feminism for the youngest: women can be single and that's ok, the traditional role of women in society is kind of ridiculous and you don't have to be afraid to show how smart you are!

Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit

amazon

This book is a collection of seven essays in which the author introduces us in the phenomenon of "mansplaining" (the overconfident idea that a man knows better so he will explain it you) focusing entirely on the silencing of women.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

barnesandnoble

This poetry collection about survival is divided in several chapters addressing different themes: ("the hurting," "the loving," "the breaking" and "the healing") in a journey to explore the most powerful resources within us.

New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies For Women In The Workplace, by Susan Packard

penguinrandomhouse

Another book that will give you some strategies to women to rule in their workplace, learning how to cultivate "gamesmanship- a strategic way of thinking regularly seen in the video game and sports worlds, and most often among men--that develops creativity, focus, optimism, teamwork, and competitiveness".

Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change, by Ellen Pao

penguinrandomhouse

An important read on how sexism works in Silicon Valley based on Ellen Pao's personal experience at encouraging diversity in the tech industry, after losing legal battle against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for workplace discrimination and retaliation.

Sister Citizen, by Melissa V. Harris-Perry

goodreads

In this book about how the struggle for self-determination is aggravated by the gender and racial stereotypes, Harris-Perry focus her research on understanding black woman's political and emotional response to those factors.

Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde

lareviewofbooks

A collection of essays and speeches by this poet and feminist writer where she explores her personal experiences with oppression, sexism, homophobia and classism among other subjects, in a classic work of non-fiction prose that has been a foundation in the development of contemporary feminist theories.

The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf

penguinuk

Even though the power of women has increased, the pressure to meet the unrealistic social beauty standards leads to a lower priority and focus on the equality fight. Originally published in 1990, in was republished in 2002 by Harper Perennial, from Harper Collins Publishers.

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

goodreads

Originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963, "The Bell Jar" is the only novel written by American writer and poet Sylvia Plath. The book challenges the traditional social norms and standards for women and what is expected from them, while navigating on the mental illnesses issue, based on her own life events.

The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter

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The collection of short fiction by Angela Carter first published in 1979 gives a modern twist to ten classic fairy tales that carries along the theme of the "the oppressed female seeking liberation".

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

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This Pulitzer-winning novel looks at the racism and sexism facing Celie, our heroine, as a black woman in the 1930s and brings topics such a rape, violence and homosexuality in a controversial but acclaimed piece of literature of all times.

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, by Hanna Rosin

girlslikegiants

A fun and quick read that "lays out an array of studies, statistics, stories and anecdotes to support her thesis that women are zooming way past men in all areas of economic existence", as The Courier-Journal observed.

The Female Eunuch, by Germaine Greer

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This international bestseller became an important text in the feminist movement based on the analysis on women's repressed sexuality, female "normality", and masculine shaping of stereotypes, traditional roles and expectations.

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan

ebay

Influenced by Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex", Friedan conducted interviews with other suburban housewives, as well as researching psychology, media, and advertising, and wrote one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century, drawing many women to the feminist cause because of her powerful and relatable prose.

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

amazon

The Handmaid's Tale takes place in a chilling dystopian future that looks a lot alike present sometimes where women's bodies are treated like objects to be used and discarded. The novel by the Canadian author has been turned into a huge tv series.

The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir

goodreads

Perhaps the most extensive and enduring feminist book, The Second Sex is piece of literature and philosophy no feminist should go without reading. Publish in 1949, it is often regarded as the starting point of second-wave feminism.

The Stepford Wives, by Ira Levin

goodreads

The satirical thriller novel written in 1972 the American author Ira Levin will get you hooked on the story of these suburb Connecticut wives and will make you rethink about the women role in families, the pressure of getting married and becoming the perfect housewife.

The Sun And Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur

barnesandnoble

The bestselling author of "milk and honey" comes with this awaited second collection of poetry about life, growth, healing and rising to find a home within yourself. If you liked the first one, you may also like this one!

This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition: Writings by Radical Women of Color, by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa

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A groundbreaking anthology that was first published in 1981 and got its fourth edition in 2015. As its title suggests, the book centers in the experiences of women of color from diverse backgrounds bringing together a unique and influential work of feminist literature.

Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

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A young adult novel perfect as a starting point for teenagers interested in the topic of feminism, questioning the meaning of beauty in our society and individuality.

We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

penguinrandomhouse

A book-length essay by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that was first published in 2014, including an extended analysis on what it means to be a feminist and how masculinity is constructed in our society.

Weird In A World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures, by Jennifer Romolini

affirmpress

Covering a variety of topics with a feminist-undertone, this career guide "help you get and keep the job you want—from an outsider whose been there and done it, a woman who went from being a broke, divorced, college dropout to running some of the biggest websites in the world".

What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Hillary Clinton compiles her experiences as the Democratic Party's nominee and general election candidate for President of the United States in a 2016 election marked by rage and sexism.

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

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"Once a woman turns forty she has to start dealing with two things: younger men telling her they are proud of her and older men letting her know they would have sex with her", the hilarious Amy tells us in one of the chapters of this collection of stories, ideas and thoughts about life, the show biz and how to be a woman in it.

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero

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A little bit on the self-help side, the New York Times Bestselling author serves up this how-to guide full of inspiring stories, advice and help for identifying those self-sabotage behaviors we all carry around to put your life together.

You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism, by Alida Nugent

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