Since it was International Women’s Day a few days ago, I had the idea of sharing some of the books with either feminist themes or simply, stories of empowering women. There are so many more books I have read with such themes but here are a few that stood out to me. This also reminded me to read even more books like these as I have yet to read from so many more amazing womens’ perspectives.
N.B. I might not have highlighted the power these books hold as it has been a while since I read them. Read them if you have the chance!
This was a book that I read way back in 2016 but it still stands out to me so much. It is about Romy who is grappling with being sexually assaulted and not being taken seriously as the other characters assume that ‘the person who had assaulted her couldn’t possibly have done it’. The injustice angered me so much as it felt too close to reality. Sadly, people who have gone through such experiences are still not taken seriously. I have seen news where people claim that the ‘victim’ does not have ‘evidence’ which is very much the case in this story. This book made me think about justice and the pain girls/women who are not taken seriously feel. It is a difficult book to read but I recommend it nonetheless. I feel that everyone (not just women or girls) has the right to stand up for themselves if they are assaulted. No one should have to be told “there is not enough evidence” or “you are lying” if they have gained the courage to speak out.
The female of the species is another fiction story that is in the same vein as All the rage. After reading a similar book recently, in my opinion, the best way to describe this book would be a mixture of Sadie and All the rage. Both books are by Courtney Summers. The female of the species deals with Alex whose sister’s killer has escaped scot-free. She has a plan to ‘take down’ the killer as she does not believe anyone else can get him. Again, this book questions justice and other issues like sexual assault. Another incredibly important book to read. I think I should re-read these books soon as I forgot so much of what happened.
This book was one of those life-changing books I read as a 17-year old. This story is about Ensaf Haider’s struggle to free her husband who is an activist against the oppressive laws of the Saudi Arabian government. There is more to this story as Haider herself also felt the same, she questioned the way the government was treating women as well. It is very much an empowering story about Haider and Badawi’s struggle to try to change the way the government was doing things. After all, feminism is about equality of everyone. Unfortunately, Badawi has still not been released from jail as he was seen to ‘insult’ Islam. On another note, I feel that Islam is about treating everyone equally- I do not think the Quran has ever mentioned that women are lesser than men. Thus, this book is not only a powerful love story as Haider is still fighting for her husband to be set free but also, the power of activism to ensure an equal society.
The co-author of I am Malala also co-wrote Nujeen. This book is a powerful story of Nujeen, who had to flee war-torn Syria in her wheelchair. She has cerebral palsy but that did not stop her from crossing the borders to get to safety. She was also denied education due to her having cerebral palsy but she did not relent. She learnt English all on her own. She faced so many hardships and yet, her positivity is endless. She is a really remarkable individual and I think that more people needs to know he story.
I think a lot of people already know her story but I am recommending this book nonetheless. Yeonmi suffered tremendously under North Korean rule. She could not do so many things due to her supposed “caste”. However, she had hope that her situation would get better. That hope was confirmed when her mother and her found a way to escape North Korea. It was a harrowing journey and she wanted to forget about it. Later on, in her own words, she recognized that “in order to be ‘completely free’ she had to confront the truth of her past.” Hence, she recounted all her experiences in this book and fights for the rights of the North Korean people, to make others aware of the depraved situation of her people. Reading about the situation in North Korea from the eyes of a person who actually lived there was challenging and made me feel scared for the people there. However, Yeonmi did not feel hopeless and continues to fight for freedom, making her a really inspiring individual.
I feel that many people have read about ‘I am Malala’ but they do not know about ‘We are displaced’. We are displaced, as Malala puts it, is the story of those who do not have a home or are refugees. On her journeys to various refugee camps, she encountered many girls who lost their homes. She wrote this book to raise awareness of those incredible individuals. Their experiences were really heartwrenching as well as heartening. I admire Malala’s work to highlight the stories of those who are not ‘seen’ in society as well as those who are fighting for a education and changing the world. I hope you will read this book if you have not already!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope I have convinced you to read at least one of these books. Till next time, take care!