The best books about sexism 📚

Browse the best books on sexism as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Golden Handcuffs

Golden Handcuffs

By Polly Courtney

Why this book?

Although this novel focuses on the world of investment banking, I list it here because it shows the difference between being a female working in finance and being a male working in finance; like This is what happens, it shows the impact of sexism on one woman's professional life, her dream, her ambition, her failure to achieve the former despite the latter.

I read it quite a while ago but was reminded of it while reading recently about the recent Martin/Nicole thing (wherein they switched email addresses, so Martin experienced what it was like to be Nicole for a couple…

From the list:

The best books about what it's like being female in a sexist society

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Book cover of Women of Ideas: And What Men Have Done to Them

Women of Ideas: And What Men Have Done to Them

By Dale Spender

Why this book?

Feminist theorist Dale Spender wrote, in Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them, “We need to know how women disappear….”  Although she spoke of women who disappear from the historical record, all too many women seem to disappear from any sort of public life as soon as they leave high school: so many shine there, but once they graduate, they become invisible. What happens?  

Marriage and kids is an inadequate answer because married-with-kids straight-A boys are visible.  Everywhere. Even the straight-B boys are out there. So what happens?

This is what happens.

From the list:

The best books about what it's like being female in a sexist society

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Book cover of Catling's Bane

Catling's Bane

By D. Wallace Peach

Why this book?

I'm a reader who loves books where characters determine the story arc. Plot-driven books generally leave me cold. This novel has a cast of players I found easy to empathize with; even the villains. They are drawn in fascinating detail with all their flaws and all their glories to make them real people who are easy to engage with throughout the story. In spite of some tough scenes, it's a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

The author introduces some thought-provoking and timely themes here. The story examines injustice, wealth inequality, gender discrimination, political intrigue, the fallibility of leaders, ethics, and…

From the list:

The best novels that are character-driven

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Book cover of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny

Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny

By Kate Manne

Why this book?

This is not angry feminism, though philosopher Kate Manne’s compelling prose may move you to anger. With surgical precision, Manne cuts through the layers of patriarchy, showing how vilification, mockery, and shaming of women function as “law enforcement” measures in a sexist system. A woman seeking “masculine-coded perks and privileges” may even deserve to be punished according to the “logic” of misogyny. I was fascinated by Manne’s explanations of why so many women voted against Hilary Clinton in 2016. Her analysis applies to racial and LGBTQ+ discrimination as well. When I was researching my book, Manne’s book helped me…

From the list:

The best books about power, gender politics, and gender stereotypes in America

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Book cover of The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Taken Less Seriously Than Men-And What We Can Do about It

The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Taken Less Seriously Than Men-And What We Can Do about It

By Mary Ann Sieghart

Why this book?

I have just finished reading The Authority Gap, and it's a stunning (in both senses of the word) collection of the facts, the relentless statistics, over and over, that support the anecdote that is This is what happens.  

Written by a journalist rather than an academic (Valian), it is comparatively easy-going, but still hard-hitting. I am recommending it to everyone (including, especially, men).

From the list:

The best books about what it's like being female in a sexist society

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Book cover of Cat Zero

Cat Zero

By Jennifer L. Rohn

Why this book?

This is the best scientific novel I have ever read. The story is fiction (not 'science fiction' in the sense of fantasy, but a story that could easily take place in the real world right now), but its portrayal of how science is done, by a bunch of completely believable characters, is really true-to-life. It's a great way for young people considering a research career to taste what they are really like, and a great way for everyone to ask why we do science the way we do, while enjoying a well-paced multi-layer story, that is written with real wit.…

From the list:

The best books to make you think about biology

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