The most recommended books about sexism

Who picked these books? Meet our 62 experts.

62 authors created a book list connected to sexism, and here are their favorite sexism books.
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What type of sexism book?


Women of Ideas

By Dale Spender,

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

Chris Wind Author Of This is what happens

From the list on what it's like being female in a sexist society.

Who am I?

I started keeping a journal when I was fifteen. Ten years later, I had the raw material for Fugue, a portrait of the artist as a young woman (I had read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) that ends in celebration, rather than suicide (I had also recently read Plath's The Belljar). It did not get published. Thirty years later, I had so little, far too little, to celebrate.  The portrait had become one of relentless frustration and persistent failure, despite my continued effort ... so much effort ... And so I wrote This is what happens, dedicating it to all the passionate, hard-working, competent women — it's not you. 

Chris' book list on what it's like being female in a sexist society

Why did Chris love 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.

By Dale Spender,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women of Ideas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Spender, Dale


By Yamile Saied Méndez,

Book cover of Furia

Emma Kress Author Of Dangerous Play

From the list on YA featuring badass sporty girls.

Who am I?

I adore books about sporty badass girls. Yet, when I first began to write Dangerous Play, there were few young-adult novels featuring fierce sporty girls. Of those, there were fewer which portrayed the powerful friendships that can emerge on girls’ sports teams. I want to read and write about girls who are defined by more than their love interests, who are dogged in the pursuit of their goals. In a world that so often judges girls by how their bodies look, sports offers an arena in which girls can view and value their bodies in an alternative way. And who doesn’t love to cheer for someone who beats the odds? 

Emma's book list on YA featuring badass sporty girls

Why did Emma love this book?

I adored this book. After I turned the final page, I sat in silence, sinking into all the feels. Set in Argentina, Furia is the story of Camila, a fierce soccer—or fútbol—player who is one of the best in her sport. However, she’s forced to keep her love of fútbol a secret because she’s living under the strict supervision of her father, who doesn’t believe girls should play sports. That story alone would be enough to make Furia one of my all-time favorite books, but it’s also got an incredible swoony love story. You don’t want to miss this one. 

By Yamile Saied Méndez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Furia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother's narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother's shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she'd get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn't easy. Her parents don't know about her passion. They…

Book cover of Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave: Emancipated from Bodily Servitude by the State of New York, in 1828

Katie Pickles Author Of Heroines in History: A Thousand Faces

From the list on heroines in history.

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in exploring the characteristics and meaning of heroines in history since I met two fellow travelers in Nova Scotia in 1990 who introduced me to the work of Joseph Campbell and his The Hero with a Thousand Faces. As a history professor I am interested in women’s changing place in society and the history of heroines is an excellent way to explore this. I am passionate about moving beyond individual, celebratory stories to instead explore themes for a dynamic modern archetype of a heroine across time and cultures. I like to imagine a time when all humans can be heroes without the feminine suffix.

Katie's book list on heroines in history

Why did Katie love this book?

Autobiographies and narratives by heroines make for powerful reading and offer welcome wisdom.

Feminist and abolitionist Sojourner Truth’s story involves fighting sexism and racism out of first-hand experience and adversity. This book reminds us of the diversity present in the history of feminist heroines rather than the often privileged white, middle-class women’s voices.

Truth’s legendary ‘Ain’t I a woman?’ speech was delivered at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.

By Sojourner Truth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave is a powerful, landmark narrative originally published in 1850 by abolitionist and preacher Sojourner Truth, who was born a slave in 1797 in rural New York. Truth was a nationally recognized proponent of civil rights and women's rights, speaking widely about gender and racial inequities. Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the history of slavery and its cruel hardships in the United States.

Girl, Goddess, Queen

By Bea Fitzgerald,

Book cover of Girl, Goddess, Queen

Luciana Cavallaro Author Of Search for the Golden Serpent

From Luciana's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Time traveller Ancient history enthusiast Amateur photographer Beach baby Wine appreciator

Luciana's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Luciana love this book?

This is a different version of how Persephone and Hades became a couple.

It has humour but also deals with issues of mental and emotional abuse, arranged marriages, sexism, and female rights. I quite enjoyed the story, and the way the author addressed these ongoing concerns was effective. Worth reading.

By Bea Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girl, Goddess, Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To hell with love, this goddess has other plans...

Thousands of years ago, the gods told a lie: how Persephone was a pawn in the politics of other gods. How Hades kidnapped Persephone to be his bride. How her mother, Demeter, was so distraught she caused the Earth to start dying.

The real story is much more interesting.

Persephone wasn't taken to hell: she jumped. There was no way she was going to be married off to some smug god more in love with himself than her.

Now all she has to do is convince the Underworld's annoyingly sexy, arrogant…

Land of a Thousand Bridges

By June Millington,

Book cover of Land of a Thousand Bridges: Island Girl in a Rock & Roll World

Bonnie Morris Author Of The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture

From the list on women in rock, folk, and blues.

Who am I?

My expertise as a scholar of the women’s music movement spans 40 years--ever since I attended my first concert and music festival in 1981. A lecturer at UC-Berkeley, I’m the author of 19 books on women’s history, and published the first book on women’s music festivals, Eden Built By Eves, in 1999 (now out of print.) More recently I’ve organized exhibits on the women’s music movement for the Library of Congress, co-authored The Feminist Revolution (which made Oprah’s list), and I’m now the archivist and historian for Olivia Records.

Bonnie's book list on women in rock, folk, and blues

Why did Bonnie love this book?

A lead vocalist of the Billboard-charting girl group Fanny, a rock sensation of the 1970s, June continues to publish rollicking memoirs of growing up in the Philippines, relocating to white American suburbia, and starting a band with her sister Jean. Now featured in the independent documentary film “Fanny: The Right to Rock,” June and her former bandmates hope to see Fanny inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The book covers years of wild gigs, how the band negotiated twin pressures of racism and sexism, and recording alongside a range of celebrities--including Barbra Streisand.

By June Millington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Land of a Thousand Bridges as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Somebody's Darling

By Larry McMurtry,

Book cover of Somebody's Darling

Ryan Uytdewilligen Author Of He's No Angel

From the list on satire and parody on Hollywood to make you laugh.

Who am I?

I’m a classic Hollywood fanatic. I can name you every Best Picture Oscar Winner on command. I’ve written screenplays and seen the industry firsthand, but if I had my choice, I’d go live through the Hollywood Golden Age. I've published numerous non-fiction film history books and have a whole lot more classic-film-inspired novels coming. And I do it all simply for the single reason that writing a book is the closest thing to time travel that I can find. Immersing myself in this world with actors that have lived, and even a few that I’ve made up, is pure heaven that transports me back to the days of the silver screen. 

Ryan's book list on satire and parody on Hollywood to make you laugh

Why did Ryan love this book?

Did you remember when Jill Peel won an Oscar in 1950s Hollywood, and then destroyed her career by standing up to sexist producers? Then past her prime, she attempted a creative comeback by embarking on her directorial debut? Of course not! It’s all fiction, of course. But with McMurtry at the helm, you can’t help but mistake it for real life. One of my all-time favorite writers, the talented Texan manages to capture Hollywood, sexism, and complex people in an honest way. If you’re a fan of the everyday situational humor exuding in his works like Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this still very relevant look at aging and gender in the motion picture industry. 

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Somebody's Darling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forty years ago, Larry McMurtry journeyed from the sprawling ranches of his early work to the provocative Sunset Strip, creating a Hollywood fable that is both immediate and relevant in today's dynamic cultural climate. One would never guess that Jill Peel is still on the verge of stardom. Jill won an Oscar shortly after her fresh-faced arrival in 1950s Hollywood, then for the next twenty years batted away every Tinseltown producer who tried to hire her and get her into bed. Now middle-aged, she's determined to create more movie magic by directing a cast of raunchy eccentrics, including Joe Percy,…

Women After All

By Melvin Konner,

Book cover of Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy

Sandy Graham Author Of You Speak For Me Now

From the list on to influence human society.

Who am I?

Over the past decade, I’ve become very concerned with the direction authoritarianism is taking human society. It’s a global problem that now infects America, leaving us with a partisan divide we may not be able to bridge. My recommended books helped me understand the situation and how one might speak out against this negative force effectively. Convinced that bombarding readers with facts alone is useless, I chose to provide a novel that is interesting and captivates readers. My goal is to entice readers to press on to the end regardless of their political persuasion, in hopes that along the way some thought will be devoted to the issues raised.

Sandy's book list on to influence human society

Why did Sandy love this book?

Doctor Konner gives an intriguing anthropologist’s view of animal development, tracing the introduction of genders, illustrating examples of male and female dominance, and describing the impact of evolution on human behavior. While he gives many fascinating examples of normal and abnormal sex and gender behavior in the animal world, what interested me most was his coverage of the shift from millions of years as hunter/gatherers to today’s complex male-dominated society, with its attendant aggression.

One point made is that the very different male and female roles caused brain development variation which typically makes females more tuned to communication and cooperation. He suggests the salvation of human society ultimately requires a strong female role.

By Melvin Konner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women After All as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Women After All, anthropologist Melvin Konner traces the arc of evolution to explain the relationships between women and men. Drawing on colourful examples from the natural world-the octopus, the black widow spider and coral reef fish, which can switch from male to female in a single reproductive career-he sheds light on our biologically different human identities and the poignant exceptions that challenge the male/female divide.

We meet hunter-gatherers in Botswana whose culture gave women a prominent place, inventing the working mother and respecting women's voices around the fire. History upset this balance as a dense world of war fostered…

Community as Rebellion

By Lorgia García Peña,

Book cover of Community as Rebellion: A Syllabus for Surviving Academia as a Woman of Color

Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis Author Of The New College Classroom

From the list on inspiring lifelong learning.

Who are we?

We are two college-level educators, one has had a long career, one a recent PhD. We share a commitment to lifelong learning, not just in the classroom but beyond. And we love learning from one another. We wrote The New College Classroom together during the pandemic, meeting over Zoom twice a week, discussing books by other educators, writing and revising and rewriting every word together, finding ways to think about improving our students’ lives for a better future even as the world seemed grim. The books we cherish share those values: hope, belief in the next generation, and a deep commitment to learning even in—especially in—the grimmest of times.

Christina's book list on inspiring lifelong learning

Why did Christina love this book?

Peña’s book began as a letter written to students and it remains a powerful offering of love as well as a call to rebel and resist oppression. The book’s “Course Requirements” include: an open heart and mind; “The desire to be part of the sum, rather than a single part”; and patience—to make room for humility, to unlearn and relearn, to make mistakes, to become resilient in order to do more than rebel once but to actually light the fire within to be rebellious as a practice. This book inspires us to continue fighting for justice and change, and to sustain our communities to keep the light of hope in a better future burning.

By Lorgia García Peña,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Community as Rebellion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A meditation on freedom making in the academy for women scholars of color.

Weaving personal narrative with political analysis, Community as Rebellion offers a meditation on creating liberatory spaces for students and faculty of color within academia. Much like other women scholars of color, Lorgia Garcia Pena has struggled against the colonizing, racializing, classist, and unequal structures that perpetuate systemic violence within universities. Through personal experiences and analytical reflections, the author invites readers-in particular Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian women-to engage in liberatory practices of boycott, abolition, and radical community-building to combat the academic world's tokenizing and exploitative structures.


A Call to Heroism

By Peter H. Gibbon,

Book cover of A Call to Heroism: Renewing America's Vision of Greatness

Andrew Bernstein Author Of Heroes, Legends, Champions: Why Heroism Matters

From the list on celebrating heroes and heroism.

Who am I?

I am a kid from Brooklyn who is, and always has been, an inveterate hero worshiper. In a world that is generally mad and too often violent, I have weaned myself on the lives of heroes. I may lack their prowess, but I have striven for their dedication to excellence. I have published numerous books, including The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire. But it is my recent book that crowns a lifetime of thinking about heroes. What is their nature? What factors in the world give rise to the possibility—and the necessity—of heroes? How do we rationally define the concept “hero”? These are the questions my book addresses and seeks to answer.

Andrew's book list on celebrating heroes and heroism

Why did Andrew love this book?

Peter Gibbon has, at an emotional level, a magnificent capacity to admire heroes.  He provides snippets of many heroes’ lives and he savors their accomplishments. One of the most effective aspects of his book is his rejection of the modern anti-hero mentality that disparages heroes. “Biography today is rarely about greatness,” he writes. “At best, it displays a dispassionate balance. More often, it focuses on failure…and weakness and unveils the intimate life—slighting artistic accomplishment, scientific discovery, and political achievement. At worst, contemporary biographers self-righteously excoriate any hint of impurity, prejudice, sexism, or hypocrisy.” 

Unfortunately, a la many authors on the topic, he offers no rigorous definition of “hero” or “heroism.” He says: The definition of hero remains subjective. What is extraordinary can be debated. Courage is in the eye of the beholder. Greatness of soul is elusive.” Nevertheless, there is great value in his spirited accounts of numerous heroes.

By Peter H. Gibbon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Call to Heroism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In A Call to Heroism, Peter Gibbon argues that the heroes we honor are the embodiment of the ideals that America was founded on: liberty, justice, and tolerance chief among them. Because the very concept of heroism has come under threat in our cynical media age, Gibbon believes that we must forge a new understanding of what it means to be a hero to fortify our ideals as we engage our present challenges and face those that lay ahead. Gibbon examines the types of heroes that we have celebrated throughout our history, and along the way, he contemplates the meanings…

The Unlocked Path

By Janis Robinson Daly,

Book cover of The Unlocked Path

Linda Rosen Author Of The Emerald Necklace

From the list on women who reinvent themselves despite obstacles.

Who am I?

As a woman who started writing later in life, I know about reinventing oneself and overcoming obstacles along the way. At any age, there are many hurdles to climb in getting a novel published, though probably more for an older woman. Marketing is a whole other aspect of being an author and that’s where technology comes in. It can be daunting. I had to learn a whole new vocabulary, programs, and social media I never dreamed I’d use. It all seems easy now, yet in the beginning, it definitely created a lot of angst. My life has blossomed from it all and I’m proud I’ve climbed those hurdles. I want the same for my characters. 

Linda's book list on women who reinvent themselves despite obstacles

Why did Linda love this book?

Daly’s protagonist, Eliza, represents the “New Woman” of the early 20th century: educated, career-minded, and independent. Though she faces monumental struggles forced upon her to become a physician when there were so few females in the field.

This is a story about the eternal struggle to live one’s best life. It’s also a story about family, those we are born to, and those we create. I am drawn to novels of sisterhood and enjoy exploring the theme that blood is not all that makes a family in my own writing.

Daly has done this beautifully with the women she created, the friends and colleagues who become family.

By Janis Robinson Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unlocked Path as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Flawlessly researched with characters that come alive on the page, debut author Janis Robinson Daly writes with a fresh voice that brings her readers instantly into a story that, in many ways, is shockingly similar to today's world." –Barbara Conrey, USA Today bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye

"An often riveting fictional testament of a doctor's life at the turn of the 20th century." –Kirkus Reviews

The Unlocked Path presents and embraces a "New Woman" of the early 20th century: educated, career-minded, independent. In 1897 Philadelphia, after witnessing her aunt's suicide, Eliza Edwards vows to find ways to help and…

Bea Is for Blended

By Lindsey Stoddard,

Book cover of Bea Is for Blended

Laurie Morrison Author Of Coming Up Short

From the list on for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved watching and playing sports, and now I love writing about them, too. As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand how sporty books appeal to sporty kids. But after publishing my novel Up for Air, which is about a star swimmer, I’ve been struck by how many readers tell me they connected deeply with the main character even though they don’t like sports at all. That made me think about what makes sports stories resonate, and now I look out for books that capitalize on all the most exciting and relatable things about sports while also offering compelling hooks to readers with all sorts of interests.

Laurie's book list on for athletes and non-athletes alike

Why did Laurie love this book?

This heartwarming novel is full of soccer, touching family dynamics, and girl power. It stars a feisty sixth-grader named Bea who has to adjust to a new house, a new school, a new blended family, and a new neighbor who’s gunning for her position on the soccer field. At first, Bea is determined to look out for herself and protect her turf, but then she and her neighbor team up to fight against sexism and form the first-ever all-girls squad. The team dynamics in this book will make any reader cheer. Soccer fans will love the on-field action, but this gem of a novel also has humor, emotional depth, delightful and inspiring characters, and even references to the beloved Katherine Paterson novel Bridge to Terabithia!

By Lindsey Stoddard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bea Is for Blended as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Girl power scores a goal in this uplifting story of teamwork, new beginnings, and coming together to fight for what’s right—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

Bea and her mom have always been a two-person team. But now her mom is marrying Wendell, and their team is growing by three boys, two dogs, and a cat.

Finding her place in her new blended family may be tough, but when Bea finds out her school might not get the all-girls soccer team they’d been promised, she learns that the bigger the team, the stronger the fight—and that…

Devil's Demise

By Lee Cockburn,

Book cover of Devil's Demise

Gill D. Anderson Author Of Primed for Vengeance

From the list on psychological thrillers delving into human psyche.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by people and the life stories that shape who they are. From a young age, I’ve observed people’s idiosyncrasies closely and as I grew older, I wondered about nature versus nature debate (how much of your personality is innate versus how much life events and familial patterns shape who you become). My background in child protection social work and studies of sociology, psychology and human development have also strengthened my understanding of the theories behind each human emotion. I have almost 20 years of experience working in child protection, and as such, I have a well-rounded understanding of trauma, and the ongoing effects of this throughout the life span.

Gill's book list on psychological thrillers delving into human psyche

Why did Gill love this book?

I'd read mixed reviews but read Devil's Demise with an open mind. I thought it was brilliant! I could imagine each scene in great detail, it kept me frantically turning the pages, and I loved the believable Edinburgh cop camaraderie. The book is very graphic with intense scenes of sex, rape, and violence but it didn't faze me, if anything it made it more realistic albeit disturbing. This one does come with trigger warnings for the reasons above.

By Lee Cockburn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Devil's Demise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cruel and sinister killer is targeting Edinburgh's most powerful women, his twisted sense of superiority driving him to satisfy his depraved sexual appetite. He revels in the pain and suffering he inflicts on his unsuspecting victims but a twist of fate and an overwhelming will to survive by one victim ruins his plans for a reign of terror. His tormented prey will need all her courage if she is to survive the hunt.

Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

By Susan Moller Okin, Joshua Cohen (editor), Matthew Howard (editor), Martha C. Nussbaum (editor)

Book cover of Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion

From the list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives.

Who am I?

I'm intrigued by boundaries and the relationships between different ideologies, or isms. In 1992, I joined the European Project at The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. This was a fascinating group of people from Israel, Palestine, and Germany who studied the connections between Europe and the Middle East. Then I opened a new field of studies that continues to engage me: multiculturalism. In my books and articles (most recent: The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab), I examine the extent to which democracy may interfere in the cultural affairs of minorities within democracy, how to find a balance between individual rights and group rights, and whether liberalism and multiculturalism are reconcilable. 

Raphael's book list on multiculturalism and the role of culture in our lives

Why did Raphael love this book?

This is an excellent collection of essays. Susan Moller Okin and some other world's leading thinkers discuss the tensions between feminism and multiculturalism. This book served for me as a point of departure when I wrote my book. One of the major criticisms of multiculturalism is that it is bad for women. I examined whether this is necessarily the case, and whether it is possible to resolve the tensions between group rights and individual rights. Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? raises serious concerns as many cultural rites are, indeed, harmful to women. They include polygamy, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, punishing women for being raped, differential access for men and women to health care and education, unequal rights of ownership, assembly, as well as political participation, and unequal vulnerability to violence. While as liberals we want to respect the customs of minority cultures, we also do not wish to…

By Susan Moller Okin, Joshua Cohen (editor), Matthew Howard (editor), Martha C. Nussbaum (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Polygamy, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, punishing women for being raped, differential access for men and women to health care and education, unequal rights of ownership, assembly, and political participation, unequal vulnerability to violence. These practices and conditions are standard in some parts of the world. Do demands for multiculturalism--and certain minority group rights in particular--make them more likely to continue and to spread to liberal democracies? Are there fundamental conflicts between our commitment to gender equity and our increasing desire to respect the customs of minority cultures or religions? In this book, the eminent feminist Susan Moller Okin and…

Women & Power

By Mary Beard,

Book cover of Women & Power: A Manifesto

Emily Hauser Author Of For the Most Beautiful

From the list on that put a new twist on the Odyssey.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of historical fiction about the ancient world, and an academic – I’m a Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and teach and research Classics at the University of Exeter. I’ve loved the ancient world – and historical fiction about antiquity – ever since I read Robert Graves’ I, Claudius at the age of eleven. Now, as both a writer and a classicist, I delve into the ancient world from all kinds of different angles – whether that’s teaching classes about women writers and Classics, clambering over the ruins of Troy, analysing almost-lost texts from the ancient world, or writing novels that give a voice to the women of ancient Greek myths.

Emily's book list on that put a new twist on the Odyssey

Why did Emily love this book?

This might not be your most obvious pick for an Odyssey list, but Mary Beard’s book is special to me for a couple of reasons. She taught me when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, and I’ll never forget our very first lecture as newly-minted freshmen when she stunned us into silence by parading before us a slideshow of images of winged, bell-bedecked Roman phalluses... Her straight-to-the-point, incisive writing always reminds me of the lessons she taught us, always to question and open things up to rigorous analysis, and her opening feminist discussion in this book (which is a great read in its own right) of Telemachus’ silencing of Penelope in the first book of the Odyssey is a brilliant example of this. 

By Mary Beard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Women & Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. As far back as Homer's Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech being defined as inherently male. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren…

Shadow Man

By Melissa Scott,

Book cover of Shadow Man

Redfern Jon Barrett Author Of Proud Pink Sky

From the list on sci-fi and speculative stories depicting queer lives.

Who am I?

After more than 20 years of community work and activism in LGBTQ+ spaces, I couldn’t help but turn these experiences into a novel in which Berlin becomes the world’s first gay state – Proud Pink Sky, released March 14 from Amble Press. My essays and short stories focus on the strange, the queer, and the speculative, and have been published in The Sun Magazine, Guernica, Strange Horizons, PinkNews, and Nature Futures, while my campaign work for LGBTQ+ and polyamory rights has been referenced in The Mirror, Buzzfeed, and BBC News. I am also nonbinary queer, have a Ph.D. in Literature, and currently live in Berlin.

Redfern's book list on sci-fi and speculative stories depicting queer lives

Why did Redfern love this book?

Melissa Scott takes worldbuilding to fascinating extremes in her 1995 novel, Shadow Man. Due to changes in human biology, there are five recognised sexes in Scott’s far-flung society, with man and woman joined by fem, herm, and mem – yet despite the variety in body types, the isolated and backward planet of Hara forces its residents to choose between a simple binary. With its bold depictions of gender discrimination and violence, Shadow Man is relevant to our own social battles while also indulging in a fast-paced plot and thought-provoking speculation, all while being just different enough from our own world that it scratches that escapist itch.

By Melissa Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the far future, human culture has developed five distinctive genders due to the effects of a drug easing sickness from faster-than-light travel. But on the planet Hara, where society is increasingly instability, caught between hard-liner traditions and the realities of life, only male and female genders are legal, and the "odd-bodied" population are forced to pass as one or the other. Warreven Stiller, a lawyer and an intersexed person, is an advocate for those who have violated Haran taboos. When Hara regains contact with the Concord worlds, Warreven finds a larger role in breaking the long-standing role society has…

Invisible Women

By Caroline Criado Perez,

Book cover of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Emily Katz Anhalt Author Of Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths

From Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Classics Professor Reader Runner Rider Open-minded inquirer

Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Emily love this book?

I am pathetically grateful that women’s running shoes have been available now for decades. I thought I already knew this stuff: athletic equipment and personal protection equipment designed exclusively for men, medicines tested on men but not women, and car crash dummies designed to replicate male but not female bodies.

But who knew that snow removal policies could have deeply adverse consequences for women? Or that women are far less likely to be involved in car crashes than men but more likely to be severely injured or killed in one?

In lively, dispassionate, page-turning prose, Criado Perez illuminates these problems and so much more. Since testing of medicines, cars, workplace safety, smartphone design, etc., has only just begun to take women’s bodies into account, this book seems astonishingly necessary.

By Caroline Criado Perez,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Invisible Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2019 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
Winner of the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize

Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.

Celebrated feminist advocate…

Lean In

By Sheryl Sandberg,

Book cover of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Marianne Broadbent Author Of The Agile Executive: Embracing Career Risks and Rewards

From the list on aspiring women leaders.

Who am I?

My passion for leadership and aspiring women leaders comes from my own leadership experiences and working with women and men executives and aspiring executives, every day. I had to make some difficult work choices in my 20s and 30s (with four young children) and was wonderfully supported by some wise women. Many of my choices were different from my peers and we continue to have to make more difficult choices than our male colleagues. We need to help each other, every day. I lead a blended life co-leading an executive search and leadership advisory firm, while also being a mother, grandmother, wife, mentor, friend, and lover of good music, theatre, food, wine, and curious people. 

Marianne's book list on aspiring women leaders

Why did Marianne love this book?

For me, Sandberg’s book remains a major and critical contribution to how women lead, how we are perceived, and how we can improve as leaders.

It is also one of the most misquoted and maligned books which I find disappointing. Those who are overly critical probably have not read the book or are biased because of Sandberg’s employer. When I read Lean In, I thought, ‘Great, I don’t need to do all that research as it has been done.'

It inspired me instead to share my own story and that of others who inspire me every day. Sandberg reminds us that so much that is in our hands, to not be dissuaded, but to ‘lean in’ and create our own agendas at work, home, and everywhere.  

By Sheryl Sandberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lean In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theatres, dominated opinion pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership.

Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they'd feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or…

Dear Mama God

By Daneen Akers, Gillian Gamble (illustrator),

Book cover of Dear Mama God

Victoria Robb Powers Author Of My Love, God Is Everywhere

From the list on Christian reads for kids that are inclusive and safe.

Who am I?

I am an ordained minister with over 10 years of experience serving as a pastor in both the hospital and church settings. I’m also a mom of three children, ages 2, 5, and 7. I routinely get asked for resources to help raise children in the Christian faith. As both a pastor and a mother, I am a strong advocate for teaching children a theology they won’t have to heal from. All the books I recommend are progressive, inclusive, and diverse. I’ve done extensive research when it comes to faith-based literature, and I’m passionate about finding the best books to recommend to families.

Victoria's book list on Christian reads for kids that are inclusive and safe

Why did Victoria love this book?

I love this book because it broadens a child’s imagination about who God is.

God is not Santa Claus – a white guy with a beard in the clouds looking down on children in judgment, evaluating whether they’re good or bad. God is gracious, generous, and loving, and God gives and nourishes life to all, like a faithful mother.

By Daneen Akers, Gillian Gamble (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dear Mama God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Dear Mama God - Thank you for the earth and all living things.” So begins this wonder-filled prayer of gratitude from a child addressed to Mama God.

Combining stunning illustrations with simple yet profound prayers, "Dear Mama God" is the perfect children's book to introduce children (and their adults) to the heart-expanding practice of referring to the divine in feminine form. The text thanks Mama God for trees for birds to nest in, hula hoops for dogs to jump through, paper to draw on, cozy fires, loving hearts, and the universe that is our home. The illustrations invite readers into…

Drawn That Way

By Elissa Sussman, Arielle Jovellanos (illustrator),

Book cover of Drawn That Way

Miel Moreland Author Of It Goes Like This

From the list on young adult about ambitious girls.

Who am I?

I was an ambitious teen, and as I entered adulthood, my relationship with ambition has continually evolved. Those of us with marginalized genders sometimes have our ambition treated with suspicion or scorn—by peers, family, or would-be mentors. I wanted to share books that don’t necessarily come to the same conclusion about ambition’s role in our lives, but that all grapple with what it means to be ambitious in a culture where that is often seen as threatening or unladylike—or where any sign of ambition gets one automatically labeled as “unlikeable.” I love these books’ narrators, and I hope you will find something to love in them too. 

Miel's book list on young adult about ambitious girls

Why did Miel love this book?

Hayley is thrilled to be accepted to a prestigious summer program for aspiring teen animators. But then only boys are chosen to direct the participants’ short films, and that might only scratch the surface of the boys’ club culture within the program. The multiple forms of sexism Hayley experiences throughout are so real, they were painful to read (in the best, truest way), as I reflected on my own experiences with misogynistic gatekeeping—but the community and solidarity that develop throughout this fantastic novel are very satisfying. 

By Elissa Sussman, Arielle Jovellanos (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Drawn That Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Packs a swoony punch along with its feminist rage.” —Maurene Goo, author of Somewhere Only We Know

Moxie meets the world of animation in this fresh, unputdownable novel about a teen girl determined to prove herself in the boys’ club of her dream industry no matter what it takes.

Hayley Saffitz is confident, ambitious, and intent on following in the footsteps of her hero, renowned animation director, Bryan Beckett. When she’s given a spot in his once-in-a-lifetime summer program, Hayley devises a plan: snag one of the internship’s coveted directing opportunities. Dazzle Bryan with her talent. Secure a job post-graduation.…

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

By Cho Nam Joo, Jamie Chang (translator),

Book cover of Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Clifford Garstang Author Of The Shaman of Turtle Valley

From the list on contemporary Korean society.

Who am I?

Fresh from college, I arrived in South Korea in 1976 to teach English as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and despite my naivete, or maybe because of it, I fell in love with the country—the people, the food, the culture, the history. I have since lived and worked in many other countries, but Korea will always be my first love and I have returned many times for both work and pleasure. When I became a fiction writer, I was keen to read the work of Korean novelists who, naturally, had an even better understanding of their culture than I did, and I love staying connected to the country in this way.

Clifford's book list on contemporary Korean society

Why did Clifford love this book?

It came as no surprise to me, having spent so much time in the country, that Korea has long been and still is a sexist society, and this book illustrates that sexism brutally. When I lived there, my good friend, a woman, was a professor of biochemistry, and she struggled in her career the way men didn’t have to. Also, while people thought nothing of my going out to a pub with my male friends, it was somewhat scandalous when I did the same with this woman. In this novel, set in more recent times, a young woman has similar troubles trying to find her way. For many readers, it has served as a wake-up call for Korean society.

By Cho Nam Joo, Jamie Chang (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most notable novels of the year, hailed by both critics and K-pop stars alike, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows one woman's psychic deterioration in the face of rampant misogyny. In a tidy apartment on the outskirts of Seoul, millennial "everywoman" Kim Jiyoung spends her days caring for her infant daughter. But strange symptoms appear: Jiyoung begins to impersonate the voices of other women, dead and alive. As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, her concerned husband sends her to a psychiatrist. Jiyoung narrates her story to this doctor-from her birth to parents who expected a son to…