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15 inspirational books for women, from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Margaret Atwood

Update your book list ahead of International Women's Day...

books iwd
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
Updated: February 21, 2023
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With International Women's Day right around the corner on Wednesday 8 March, we have put together our favourite mix of fiction and non-fiction books that can inspire and empower women everywhere.

From feminist masterpieces to self-help novels from women at the top of their game, check out our top picks for you to read, or gift to your own inspirational woman...

Roaring Girls by Holly Kyte

Meet the unsung heroes of British feminism in this incredible collection of eight remarkable, yet invisible, women whose stories were crying out to be heard. These are the women who refused to play by the rules and we're all the better for it. It's an eye-opener.


Roaring Girls by Holly Kyte, £13.41, Amazon


We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If you're looking for a short but powerful explanation about why feminism is so essential, look no further than Chimamanda's groundbreaking essay on the topic. Adapted from her incredible TedX Talk on the subject, the bestselling author uses her own experiences and the truth about sexual politics to show just how much society needs to change.

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, £4.49, Amazon


Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

Laura released this book in 2014 after founding the Everyday Sexism Project which became a viral sensation noticed by the likes of The New York Times and more. The book is a series of untold stories and incredibly important data and statistics on a wide range of issues such as workplace harassment, women in politics (or lack thereof), and sexual assault. This book is a real eye-opener to the very real and ongoing struggles that women all over the world face every single day. Everybody must read this book. 

everday sexism

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates, £8.39, Amazon


Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

This fun, colourful book packs a punch and is the read for anyone who wants to challenge the outdated narratives supplied to us by the patriarchy. A Sunday Times bestseller, it's the debut book from British activist and artist Florence Given and will help you embrace your own energy, rather than giving it to others.


Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given, £12.99, Amazon


5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

If you haven't watched Mel Robbins' Ted X Talk, you really need to! Her story is incredible and she is now the most booked female speaker in the world with her own TV show and a huge social media following. The 5 Second Rule was named the #1 audiobook in the world and the fifth most-read book of the year on Amazon and it teaches you how to become confident, break the habit of procrastination and ditch self-doubt.

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The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, £13.99, Amazon


Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

If you're stuck in a rut and need some no-nonsense words of encouragement, let Sarah Knight be your, ahem, knight in shining armour. Her sweary self-help guides are all international bestsellers, but this one is a fan favourite. Get Your Sh*t Together was on the New York Times bestseller list for sixteen weeks and gives practical advice to anyone who wants to win at life.

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Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight, £9.79, Amazon


Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Broken into five sections - Me; Gender & Sexuality; Race & Entertainment; Politics, Gender & Race; and Back to Me – Roxane's much-celebrated collection of essays is a major favourite with fans and leaves you feeling seriously empowered. If you have already read it cover to cover, try Roxane's other works, Difficult Women and Hunger.

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Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, £7.89, Amazon


The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power looks at how society would change if women suddenly became physically stronger of the two sexes after gaining mysterious superpowers, making men lose control and the patriarchy crumble overnight. The novel follows several different women as they begin to realise their own strengths, and gives a compelling look at how the world would drastically change.

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The Power by Naomi Alderman, £27.35, Amazon


The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, one of the most important feminist novels in recent times, sees several female characters fight against their circumstances in the feminist dystopia of Gilead. In the new novel, which was released in 2019, the women of the story must work secretly within the system to bring it down once and for all. This is the most gripping tale – and frankly we can't wait until they portray the events in The Handmaid's Tale television adaptation!

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, £8.27, Amazon


Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

After Cheryl Strayed is rocked by grief, she decides to escape by hiking a famous 1,100-mile trek all on her own – and in this memoir, she recounts everything she learned during her unique experience. Word of warning: you might end up sobbing along to this one.

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Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed, £6.63, Amazon


Educated by Tara Westover

This memoir about a woman who grew up never attending school and working in her father's scrapyard while preparing for the end of days – before going on to take it upon herself to study and eventually receiving a doctorate from Cambridge University – will make you feel really bad that you didn't study harder for that Maths GCSE. Tara's journey as she realises her burning desire to know more about the world and escape the influence of her domineering father and brother is a true inspiration.

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Educated by Tara Westover, £7.69, Amazon


Pretending by Holly Bourne

This story follows April, a kind and caring person who has a difficult time trusting men thanks to her job and a series of bad relationships. After another bad date, she decides to transform herself into every man's 'ideal' woman, a "Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems". This novel outlines the importance of being true to yourself, as well as reclaiming your life after trauma.

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Pretending by Holly Bourne, £6.11, Amazon


For youngsters:

F is for Feminism by Carolyn Suzuki

It's never too early to empower and F is for Feminism is an entryway into activism for kids aged 5-7. Using colourful illustrations and the alphabet, it explains the basics and concept of feminism in a way little minds will absorb, from A-Z.


F is for Feminism by Carolyn Suzuki, £6.46, Amazon


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

The second book from the Rebel Girls series has 100 brand new bedtime stories all about extraordinary women – from Beyonce to Nefertiti – and how they helped change the world. Told as fairytales, this will endlessly entertain and spark ambition in youngsters everywhere.

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Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, £20.61, Amazon


My First Emmeline Pankhurst by Lisbeth Kaiser

Teach your little one about women's history with this sweet and accessible book all about the life of Suffragette leader, Emmeline Pankhurst. Written as a heroic activist with gorgeous illustrations, the Little People, Big Dreams book series also includes stories for Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart and Ella Fitzgerald.

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My First Emmeline Pankhurst by Lisbeth Kaiser, from £5.03, Amazon



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