5 Essential Reads On Feminism In The 21st Century
From well-known figures such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Melinda Gates to up-and-coming authors like Mikki Kendall and Blair Imani, here are five books we recommend to educate yourself in the tenets of modern feminism.
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot delves into the intersect between race and gender, a topic often forgotten in mainstream feminism. The book poses an important question: do all women have the same set of interests when it comes to feminism?
Author and activist Mikki Kendall tests the idea of feminism throughout the book, arguing that the current model of feminism focuses on increasing privilege for the few but ignores the issues of minorities. How can you ‘lean in’ if you can’t earn a living wage, she asks, writing that access to education and medical care, food security, financial stability and safe neighbourhoods should be prioritised as feminist issues. Hood Feminism provides a vital perspective on modern-day feminism from a person of colour, and is an essential read for anyone looking to educate themselves on the relationship between race and gender.
Invisible Women by Caroline Creido Perez
Best-selling author Caroline Criado Perez created global shockwaves with her book Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. The book, which has since been translated into 24 different languages, exposes the data biases in society that impact women in every area of their lives—and the dangerous consequences when data fails to take gender into account.
The book is stat-heavy but Perez presents the information in an accessible way, making Invisible Women an essential read if you're looking to gain a deeper understanding of how a gender bias in the data we collect results in products designed for men—from technology to medicine—and how women are disadvantaged as a result. Perez is currently working on a follow-up to Invisible Women, called Now You See Us: How to Close the Gender Data Gap and Design a World that Works for Everyone.
See also: Is Tech Still Forgetting About Women?
Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is best known for her large number of feminist works and, of course, for her feature in the Beyonce song, Flawless. Adichie’s book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the prestigious NPR Best Book of the Year award.
The book is short but packs a powerful punch, inspired by a letter Adichie received from a childhood friend, Ijeawele, asking for advice on how she could raise her baby girl to become a strong, independent woman. Soon after, Adichie decided to publish the fifteen suggestions she'd shared with Ijeawele in this novel, to inspire the next generation of feminists.
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Modern HERstory by Blair Imani
Modern HERstory is an inspiring, beautifully illustrated book that profiles 70 often overlooked champions of progressive social change, including women, people of colour, queer people, trans people and disabled people.
Authored by activist Blair Imani, the book aims to rewrite history by including powerful voices who made significant contributions to liberation movements but too often get forgotten. It's a must-read for anyone looking for a more inclusive representation of history's change-makers.
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The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates needs little introduction. The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she's a globally recognised philanthropist and women's rights activist. Her book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, shares the lessons she's learnt from the many inspiring people she's met across the globe through her philanthropic work.
Split into nine chapters that address topics from maternal and newborn health to child marriage and unpaid work, Gates urges readers to pay attention to women's issues because, "When you lift up women, you lift up humanity," she says. "That is why I had to write this book―to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.”
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