International Women’s Day is more than just celebrating women with gifts and flowers. It’s about empowerment and equality, and what better way to encourage empowerment than through powerful literary works in women’s own voices? On this International Women’s Day, we have compiled a list of books written by some of the most influential women that paint a picture of the challenges, norms and stereotypes they face and their inspiring journeys to success.
Ace against Odds – Sania Mirza
One of India’s most celebrated athletes, Sania Mirza is recognised as among the most prominent tennis players both in the country and worldwide. A two-decade-long journey, hers is a story worth telling. The 2016 biography Ace Against Odds is an insightful work collaborated between Sania Mirza, her father Imran Mirza and journalist Shivani Gupta. Sania recognised her passion for tennis at a very early age, but the road to becoming one of the greatest players was a rather rocky one. And even after becoming one of the top players in the country, Sania’s struggles barely fizzled out with controversies and backlash from the media following everywhere she went. But that hardly ever stopped her, given that she won multiple titles in her career, including many grand slam titles. The book is fairly easy to read and a very inspirational one for aspiring women athletes in the country.
Becoming – Michelle Obama
As the former first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama is one of the most influential women today. While her life has mostly been all about politics, her memoir, Becoming is much more than that. Through Becoming, Michelle Obama invites readers to understand the experiences that shaped her right from childhood to her glory days as the first lady with heartwarming snippets of family and motherhood. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Anna: The biography – Amy Odell
The editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour is a powerful force in the fashion industry. Her influence extends beyond the borders of Vogue and Condé Nast to prestigious events like the Met Gala, because as Stanley Tucci said, “Her opinion is the only one that matters!” While she might be one of the most popular personalities in the world, her true personality has always been a mystery. However, netizens get a peek into the life and journey of Anna Wintour through her biography crafted by journalist Amy Odell. It was reported that Anna actually had very little to do with the book itself; Odell in fact based the book on snippets from interviews with Anna Wintour’s closest friends and collaborators, including some of the biggest names in fashion. The book charters the relentless ambition of a young woman from London weaving her own narrative as she battled the hierarchal dynamics of the fashion industry and the complex world of Condé Nast.
Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
If you’ve spent the entirety of your life fearing vulnerability, and feeling like you’re never enough, then this book is for you. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown addresses the notion of fear of being vulnerable and exposed which comes from a deeper dissatisfaction of not being enough. Life is full of uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure. And stepping up for yourself in certain situations can feel alarming. But Brown shares that not standing up for yourself, not saying what you think or how you feel will leave you on the outside forever. And feeling like an outsider is a far worse feeling that the fear of vulnerability. Because isn’t it better to have tried and failed, thank to have never tried at all?
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg