Our world is more divided than ever. But what’s been reinforced is the need to understand one another, learn about each other, and stay connected. Books help us do that.
The books on our summer reading list aren’t necessarily this year’s must-reads nor are they the newest. But the problems facing women globally aren’t new either. Seasons may pass, but the obstacles facing women won’t—not without our attention and effort. And so, we’ve compiled a list of books we recommend to take that first step towards improving the world for women everywhere. We hope you share this list with fellow readers so that we can all learn and support women together.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
Numbers and data should be impartial to make decisions and solutions better. But when research methods are biased by overlooking gender and other inequalities, the conclusions will be, too. Invisible Women exposes the gaps in data when gender isn’t accounted for and what this erasure costs women.
Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa
The first novel written and published in English by a Kurdish woman, Daughters of Smoke and Fire follows a Kurdish family living in Iran while weaving in the history of oppression and genocide Kurdish people have endured. Through the character of Leila, Homa explores being a “minority within a minority” as a woman and a Kurd, as she comes to realize her own power.
Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
Cooper challenges the caricature of the “Angry Black Woman” with... well, actually, there are many injustices facing Black women that warrant rage. Usingher own journey with feminism, Cooper talks about the need for connection and friendship between women, especially Black women. Through an intersectional lens, she shows that Black women’s anger is a force for justice across systemic racism, love, sex, misogyny, education, and more.
We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai
Violence displaced Malala and her family twice, the first from rising conflict and the second when she was shot for speaking out about girls’ rights to education. After speaking to her experiences, Malala introduces nine other women and girls from around the world, each with her own story of displacement. Their experiences demonstrate the difficulties for people forced to make the difficult choice of giving up their homes—a whole life they knew—and the courage it takes to not only rebuild their own life but to help others do the same.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
In her debut novel, Gyasi weaves the stories and legacies of two sisters from Ghana, whose fates diverge when one marries a White Englishman and the other is stolen from her village then enslaved in America. The story follows their descendants, tied to historical touchpoints, as it digs into the intersectionality of racism, sexism, class, and more.
Over a decade ago, Half the Sky brought widespread attention to the issues of gender inequality holding back our world. Since its initial publishing, the world has evolved, with progress for women in some areas and deepening complexity in others. The urgency of many of the global problems raised by the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors persist today, making it a book worth revisiting as we open a new decade amid a pandemic that is threatening women’s rights.
Read all year: Join our book club!
Check out #WFWIBookClub, our community of readers connected by a passion for women’s power and stories of strength. Every month, we choose a new book to read together as a community. We hope you’ll join us!
If you are thinking about buying any of the books listed above from Amazon, make sure to use Amazon Smile and choose Women for Women International as your selected charity. We receive a 0.5% donation from the price you pay, at no extra cost to you.