"Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zone and soar" - Michelle Obama
What is feminism, and what does it mean to be a feminist? We have gathered together a range of literature and teaching to provide a wider understanding of this issue. We have selected some of our favourite inspiring and educational books, all with a strong feminist theme, into this new collection. These books are for all readers, regardless of gender, and include fiction and non-fiction for very young readers up to older teens.
"If you’re reading this in the year this paperback is published, it’s 2020. Women have never had more rights, more freedom and more autonomy than they do right now – but we also have a seriously long way to go. Less than 20% of the world’s landowners are women; 75% of HIV-infected youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are girls; 50% of all sexual assaults worldwide are against girls of 15 or younger; 1 in 7 girls in developing countries is married before the age of 15 (excluding China); in 15 Global Economies a husband is allowed to ban his wife from working; at least 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM. These aren’t just numbers. They are the basis for gender inequality, they are the fire that fuels the fearless activism of millions of women across the globe, they are the reason why feminism will not be ‘done’ until equality is a reality not just for white Western women but for every woman in every corner of the globe. These ‘stats’ are violations of fundamental human rights that take place every second of every day. These ‘stats’ are the core of feminism." From Feminists Don't Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis
“She Speaks, I must listen”, Yvette Cooper writes in her introduction and this finely-curated anthology that will certainly inspire readers of all ages to pay close attention to the women’s words it shares. The introduction is both inspirational and edifying, with Cooper surveying the hostile landscape women have traversed - and still traverse - while making their voices heard, integrated with personal insights from her career as a Labour MP, Cabinet Minister and Secretary of State. From Boudica to Greta Thunberg and Margaret Thatcher to Malala, Yvette introduces a feast of dynamic and commanding speeches that have made history. She Speaks, an anthololgy introduced and curated by Yvette Cooper.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is passionate about space and has visited over 350,000 school children to help inspire the next generation of scientists. Her message is that science is open to all children, and she particularly encourages girls to believe that science is for them. She should know; her childhood was quite erratic (she attended 13 schools) and she is dyslexic, but her fascination with space helped her persevere. She was born in the late 1960's and suspects she was taking her first steps as the first astronauts were landing on the moon. Now the presenter of The Sky at Night, Maggie has been involved with numerous projects including the James Webb space telescope and the ADM-Aeolus satellite. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her goal is not only to inspire children but to inspire their parents too - and she has a wonderful mantra - "Desire to Inspire!" Our expert, Andrea Reece reviewed Dr Maggie's Grand Tour of the Solar System and wrote 'features amazing NASA photos alongside full colour illustrations and is packed with up-to-date information presented in blocks of text or via charts and diagrams. It does exactly what books like this should: answering all the questions readers will have, while inspiring them to future journeys of discovery.'
The battle for equality will be won through education and in the workplace, and it is essential to introduce inspiring role models to our young people. We love the Work It, Girl series from Frances Lincoln, a biography series particularly aimed at girls, celebrating modern women who have been successful in their field. Each book includes 10 key lessons, with inspiring quotes and mantras which are perfect for all Gen Z girls wanting to forge their own successful career paths. You can find the series here.
We have also included some resources and events that might help widen and inform your understanding of Feminism, what it is and what it really means to be a feminist.
Women's History Month runs throughout March and is an opportunity to focus upon and celebrate the many contributions women have made to society throughout history. We have added a number of relevant titles below and you can find more books about pioneering, world-changing women in our Women's History Month blog.
And a study of women's rights is incomplete without a look at the Suffragette and Suffragist movement which campaigned for and secured votes for women. We have a special section dedicated to the subject - Suffrage 100.
You also can find plenty of resources at internationalwomensday.com, at thewowfoundation.com and Girl Up - a movement to advance girls’ skills, rights, and opportunities to be leaders. When girls rise, we all rise girlup.org.