Mary Wollstonecraft was a pioneer in the struggle for female suffrage in 1792. Jane Austen dismissed claims that women shouldn’t write and paved the way for future female writers in 1811. Margaret Fuller changed the perceptions of men and women in 1845.
Female writers created influential work from the 1700s right through to the 21st century. The acts of Wollstonecraft, Austen and Fuller enabled women to become authors to the point where last year 9 of the 10 top best selling literary authors were female. So here are our top 5 reads this International Women’s Day.
The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
In 1957 Betty Friedan conducted a survey of her old classmates and found many were unhappy with their lives as housewives and mothers. The book explores first-hand accounts of women in the 50s and how women became narrowed in their role and lost their identities.
The book looks at ‘the problem with no name,’ the unhappiness of women’s lives in 1950s America.
This Girl Ran, Helen Croydon
Helen Croydon is the party girl turned triathlete. This book is the perfect example of someone turning their life around and doing something different.
Croydon has written this memoir to show how she was once a rain-hating city girl who is now training towards the World Champions Triathlon to compete for team GB. Written with the perfect amount of wit and humour.
The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
In only 6,000 words Charlotte Perkins Gilman created a beautiful work of American feminist literature. While the persona may never be named we learn so much about her in a short period of time.
She’s forbidden from working and must stay in her room to recover from what her husband diagnosed with psychosis. Soon she becomes crazed and her diagnosis becomes true as she grows obsessed with the yellow wallpaper. This is such a great short read which you can easily find for free online.
The Colour Purple, Alice Walker
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel depicts the story of poverty, segregation and abuse in the Deep South between 1910 and 1940 through the eyes of Celie.
The book shows how women can join together in spite of the abuse they receive. It gives readers a look into how Celie and many like her at the time were simply surviving.
The Time in Between, Nancy Tucker
This book takes you on a journey with Nancy about how her eating disorder affected not only her but also her friends and family. Starting from when she was 8 and simply only wanted to be thin.
It refuses to be a misery memoir and focuses on the aspects of suffering from an ED without promoting how she did it.