Did you know that Women’s History Month began as Women’s History…Week? In 1987, we finally got upgraded to the full month, and thank goodness! There are so many inspiring women to read about, even a month is never going to cover it. From Louisa May Alcott to former First Lady Michelle Obama, Anne Frank to Margot Lee Shetterly, women have changed our world and continue to shape our future. Below are 10 books about women who were written by women. We hope that by reading about these women’s journeys, you’ll be inspired and see yourself in their perseverance and strength.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank
Since it was published in 1947, Frank’s extraordinary account of being a Jewish girl in hiding in German-occupied Amsterdam during WWII has been read by tens of millions and translated into 60-plus languages. Frank died in the Holocaust in 1945, but her writings, with themes of hopes and dreams, love, pain and courage in the face of unspeakable fear and danger, remain universal.
‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama
Fans of the former first lady will not be able to put down her impactful and inspiring 2018 memoir. From growing up on the South Side of Chicago to earning her way into Princeton and Harvard Law to finding meaningful work as an executive, she writes of balancing a demanding job with motherhood — not to mention with a husband running for president of the United States. Written as elegantly as Obama appears, it’s a true American success story.
‘My Own Words’ by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Hailed as a champion of women’s rights, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in 2020, but her opinions on everything from gender equality to the inner workings of the nation’s highest court to her love of opera live on this 2018 collection of writings from the feminist icon.
‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott
If you haven’t read “Little Women” since you were a girl, it’s time for a revisit. Alcott’s enduring 1868 coming-of-age novel of the memorable four March sisters — pretty-yet-vain Meg, bold tomboy Jo, quiet and shy Beth and spoiled, artistic youngest Amy — is about post-Civil War family life, love and all the struggles that come from growing from girlhood to womanhood. No wonder it’s been adapted six times for the big screen.
‘Hidden Figures’ by Margot Lee Shetterly
If the film adaptation of this 2016 award-winning book of nonfiction chronicling the real-life story of NASA’s Black women mathematicians gave you goosebumps, wait until you read Shetterly’s inspiring words. Battling racism and sex discrimination from WWII through the Cold War, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden were key figures in America’s space program, and learning their story and struggles is a must for women everywhere.
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
No matter that Austen’s classic was first published in 1813. More than 200 years later, her satire of British Regency society has cemented Elizabeth Bennet as a literary feminist heroine, whose eventual romance with Fitzwilliam Darcy is one for the ages.
‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett
Named one of the top books of 2020 by a slew of outlets, Bennett’s novel follows Black twin sisters raised together in the ’60s in a small Louisiana town but now living separate lives miles apart, with one passing as white. Race, multi-generational family drama, identity, community, roots… “The Vanishing Half” is simply not to be missed.
‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison
“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another,” Morrison writes in her masterful 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The story of escaped slave Sethe, haunted by her dead daughter’s ghost, is worthy of rereading again and again.
‘Marie Antoinette: The Journey’ by Antonia Fraser
A bestseller, this insightful 2002 portrait of the last queen of France prior to the French Revolution covers her marriage to the soon-to-be king Louis XVI at the mere age of 15 through to her significant role in European history as one of the world’s most-recognized women.
‘The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women’ by Kate Moore
In a 2018 history lesson that reads like a novel, Moore shares the true story of the young working-class women employed at America’s new radium factories, at first considered lucky, but soon falling ill from the poisonous substance, with survivors bravely fighting for workers’ rights. Looking for a true example of female strength and empowerment? Here it is.