10 Books About Women Striving to Change the World

Books Women

By Alexandra Gandolfo

The fight for women’s rights in the office, government, places of worship, and even the household is ongoing. However, our gender is luckier today than we have been in the past, and we have to thank some pretty powerhouse ladies from around the globe for paving way.

1. “The Highest Glass Ceiling: Women’s Quest for the American Presidency” by Ellen Fitzpatrick

Before Hillary Clinton came along, there were three (three!) women who attempted to climb the barriers blocking the female gender from attaining the Oval Office. In her book, released in February, Fitzpatrick explores the trials and travails these women endured.

2. “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai

Yousafzai became an international voice for female educational rights when the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools in Pakistan. After refusing to remain silent, despite numerous death threats, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of the terrorist group. Miraculously, she survived and went on to become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

3. “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Ginsburg has spent her life in the law fighting for women’s rights. After becoming the second female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, she is a respected figure today in the eyes of many young American females for her pro-abortion-rights stance.

4. “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg

In this work by Facebook’s COO, Sandberg discusses why women today are not achieving the positions of power they should – and what we can do to fix that. By providing insight into the world of business, as well as emphasizing the importance of personal female growth, Sandberg is “destined to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can.”

5. “Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World” by Rachel Swaby

Science is notorious for being a “boys club,” but Swaby takes a swing at that stereotype and hits it out of the park with profiles of 52 of science’s most important female leaders. Spanning time and borders, we get an insider’s view on some of technology’s greatest female changemakers.

6. “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This collection of essays by Nigerian author Adichie seeks to redefine feminism for the 21st century. By providing us with her own experiences, we learn what it is Adichie means by “being a woman today” and how to unmask the realities of sexism in everyday life.

7. “Letters From Burma” by Aung San Suu Kyi

After returning to Burma to care for her ailing mother, Suu Kyi became a crucial figure in Burmese politics as the leader of the National League of Democracy. Despite being under house arrest from 1989 to 2010, Suu Kyi continued to fight for the rights of her people, as well as their political freedom. Following her release in 2010, Suu Kyi has remained an integral figure in human rights leadership.

8. “In Order To Live” by Yeonmi Park with Maryanne Vollers

In this harrowing personal account, Park describes the conditions she endured in North Korea, and the equally horrific treatment she and her mother lived through following her escape to China. Today, Park is a human rights activist living in Seoul, South Korea, dedicated to helping stop the oppression that exists in North Korea.

9. “My Invented Country” by Isabel Allende

A memoir by notable Chilean writer Allende, “My Invented Country” reconciles her love of Chile with how she has adjusted as a female immigrant in the United States, despite her universal success.

10. “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington” by Condoleezza Rice

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice grew up during the tension of the civil rights era and went on to become one of the most brilliant academic and political minds of our time. In her memoir, she illustrates how she hurdled obstacles of gender and race with grace in order to serve her country.


A graduate student at Emerson College, Alexandra Gandolfo is equal parts literature, black coffee and bagels. Follow her on Twitter @ally_cat_g.

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