In 2017, Elain Welteroth became the youngest person to become Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. Her novel tells of her journey to this point, and uncovers the harsh realities and the struggles she faced being an African American Woman in the industry. This novel reminds us that we are more than enough despite the world telling us otherwise.
This novel is considered to be Willa Cather’s best and Ántonia is a remarkable character that defies society’s expectations of a young girl in 19th-Century America. The novel shows the power of youth, with Ántonia being forced to raise her family after her father’s death. Not only is Ántonia a character, but she represents childhood, freedom, and strength.
Chimamanda did a TEDx Talk in 2012 called ‘We Should All Be Feminists.’ In 2014, she released this book essay all about the 21st-Century definition of feminism. You may recognise Adichie from Beyoncé’s song ‘Flawless,’ which used some of her audio from the TEDx Talk. It is such a powerful book, suggesting that society must change in order for the world to be full of happier men and women.
This is slightly different to the other books in this list. The short story made up of journal entries is about a woman whose husband imposes a rest cure on her in a mansion he has rented for the summer. Published in 1892, rest cures were common for women suffering from depression or ‘hysteria.’ Gilman criticised this method, showing that it ultimately makes them worse. It is an interesting insight into the relationship between women, their husbands, and also the attitude towards mental health.
Joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, this novel follows 12 different characters negotiating the world. Not only does it explore feminism, but it explores patriarchy, sexuality, and relationships. Every woman can connect with something in the novel, and that’s why it has received such praise. It’s simple, a novel about women should be read by all women.
Academics have previously said that female characters are better represented in Victorian Literature than Modern day Literature. Jane Eyre is a great example of a novel that focusses on a woman’s position in society and her fight against that. The eponymous character earns her own money and demands respect from her male counterparts. Brontë is an author that everyone should be familiar with, so Jane Eyre needs to go to the top of your list.
This one-woman story focusses on Tequila Leila, a sex worker in Turkey. Shafak explores the trauma that women go through, and also criticises the Turkish Government. This led to the authorities investigating her novel because of the sexual violence. All the more reason to read this extraordinary and emotional book.
Another Victorian novel, and an award-winning film directed by Greta Gerwig. The title is taken from the Dickensian definition; the period of time in which childhood and womanhood begin to overlap. The women in this novel are faced with their own obstacles that end their childhood innocence. Despite being written over 150 years ago, women can continue to connect personally with the novel, and that is why it belongs on this list.
Throughout life we fall in love, fall out of love, move into homes, and out of them. Dolly Alderton writes about all of this, but one thing remains consistent – her female friendships. The unbreakable bonds and mutual understandings that come with female friendships are unflinching. If you’re looking for a novel full of laughs, then this is the one for you.
This memoir has sold over 10million copies and it’s no surprise. Michelle Obama talks about her time as First Lady in the White House, her background, and how she found her voice in a society that wanted to silence her. Divided into three parts: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More, this memoir is certainly empowering for all women.