International Women’s Day 2020: 8 Books About Women Empowerment

Hello beautiful people!

It’s a Sunday and I’m posting?! Well, there’s a reason for this madness! Today is March 8, which means it’s International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day is a glorious event, “an opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards achieving gender equality and celebrate the acts of courage and determination by individuals who have played an extraordinary role in advancing gender equality in their communities” [Government of Canada, 2020].

Once upon a time, I was one of those woman who thought being a FEMINIST was a bad thing — the definition had been blurred in my mind, only seeing the radical side of everything. Luckily, I grew up — taking education into my own hands and learning more about this “TABOO” word.

The LITERAL definition of feminism is: “… the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes” [Google Dictionary]. We don’t want total control — we don’t think men are scum — we don’t want to overpower other sexes. All we want is equal rights and opportunities. I’ve been SO blessed that I’ve met so many powerful and strong and intelligent and beautiful women in my life, ones who are proud to be feminist and who won’t have their voices silenced. I want to thank those women (you know who you are) who have shown me my right to fight for equality. And thank you to the women in the past and present whose movements have provided me the opportunity to work, participate in activities, choose how I dress and present my body, decide whether I want to marry or have children, own my property without the need of a man and so much more.

So — let’s celebrate International Women’s Day this year with books! The books below contain positive messages about women empowerment, showing we are more capable than we know — we are more than just a SEX or GENDER.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur ↠ I can’t emphasize enough how much I love Kaur’s collection of poetry — it’s beautiful and breathtaking. Her writing makes you feel so many emotions that it’s sometime overwhelming, but so worth it. Sexual assaults, sexual repression, gender discrimination and social constraints are some of the issues she discusses. But her writing is also uplifting, demonstrating the raw power and intelligence and beauty that comes from being a woman. Her pro-feminist poetry illustrates how we are not bound by social stigmas, that we have the power to be who we want to be — not based off of our gender.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow ↠ I know — I’ve probably started to annoy this community with my constant shout outs to this book — but it fits so well! Firstly, an amazing woman wrote this novel — once upon a time, it would’ve been incredibly difficult for a woman to publish her own work. But the content itself is also incredibly powerful! The main heroine goes through a transformation from being a woman who obeys and follows “polite society social norms”, to a solo adventurer who takes life by the reigns and creates her own path. There are a number of other women in the novel who don’t “obey” societies rules towards women — from warriors to explorers, they fight the system to live their lives to the fullest (there’s even a world where women are the warriors, not the men)!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ↠ Thomas is not only an amazing female writing, but the odds are against her due to the skin of her colour (which irks me to my core). But she doesn’t back down, publishing a book depicting the harsh realities of being a person of colour today. Starr, our main heroine, uses her voice to advocate for the rights of all black persons, emphasizing the importance of the #blacklivesmatter movement. She sees the disadvantage women have in her community, but her dad and partner and other men in her life show her that she’s not bound to these sexist stereotypes — she has more power than she knows. Though they worry for Starr, her mother and father constantly remind Starr that she’s capable of anything, and to never let anyone make her think otherwise. This books not only an inspiration for women, but for minority groups facing injustice.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ↠ FINALLY! It’s been QUITE sometime since I’ve read a fantasy where there are some EPIC women fighters — stronger and more deadly than the men, if I may be so bold. Seriously though, Bardugo presents some seriously strong and intelligent women in this series. What’s even better? The men (for the most part) fighting by their sides SEE their greatness, judging them by their ability to fight and scheme rather than by their sex/gender. Even the villains think twice about how to approach them, knowing they’re more capable than they realize. Inej and Nina, two of the main heroines, both overcome great ordeals prior to the events in the novel. Even with the odds against them, they manage to overcome these blockades and grow to be exceptional individuals.

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller ↠ Another amazing woman author writing about women empowerment! Firstly, the heroine (Alosa) is the captain of her own crew — that’s mainly epic women with a variety of skills and talents. Secondly, Alosa and her crew are known for their amazing fighting skills and strategic planning — to the point that most of the male cast KNOW to be weary of them. Thirdly, there’s a group of supernatural beings called sirens that are capable of taking downs fleets of ships due to their seductive powers and physical strength. And last (but not least), the men in Alosa’s company don’t judge her nor the women in her crew based off of their gender — they know how capable they are, fighting alongside them as equals. Seriously — such an amazing feminist book!

The Cainsville Series by Kelley Armstrong ↠ Oh my goodness — one of my favourite authors, who also happens to be Canadian! She has quite the knack for capturing a readers attention, making it nearly impossible to book her books down. Following Olivia’s journey in this series was absolutely fantastic. She’s a very independent and reliable young woman, facing danger boldly in the face. Even with her world turned upside down, she figures out how to move forward and to solve the mysteries laid before her. But what I ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN’ LOVE is the sex positivity in this novel. Olivia knows what she wants — she isn’t shy or timid in regards to taking control during sexual intercourse and intimacy. She shows women that there’s nothing to be ashamed of in regards to our sexuality — and it’s brilliant.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco ↠ Set in the late 1800’s, there’s BOUND to be some sexism in this novel. Luckily, our female lead (Audrey Rose) does not take kindly to this. If anything, it makes her push back even more. Forensic sciences were typically frowned upon in general, but Audrey has even less luck due to her sex/gender. However, her uncle believes her intelligence should be made to good use — even though she’s a woman. Even with the odds against her, Audrey doesn’t stop doing what she’s passionate about. Her partner in crime, Thomas, also doesn’t judge her based on her being a woman. He sees greatness in her, discusses “unladylike topics” in her presence, and finds her desire to be her own independent person admirable. Though there’s still sexism displayed in the novel, Audrey fights back with a force to be reckoned with!

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch ↠ As a child, I remember reading so many stories about princes saving princesses — men being the heroes and women being the helpless. But when my teacher read The Paper Bag Princess to us, it’s as though my eyes opened to new possibilities — I don’t need a man to save me. Munsch’s beautifully illustrated and hilarious children’s novel shows those of all ages and genders that men aren’t always the hero — sometimes, it’s the woman who saves the day. It may seem so simple, but this notion truly showed my younger self how powerful I can be — not just as a female, but as a person. My gender doesn’t define what role I play in life — I do. So thank you, Munsch, for showing all young girls that we are the heroes of our own stories.

Post from the Blogging Community

Though a few of these posts are from 2019 International Women’s Day, they’re still relevant and provide a great list to explore if you’re looking for some epic reads!

Read By Tiffany || International Women’s Day 2019: My Favorite Female Characters

Inside My Library Mind || 8 for March 8th: Books by Women About Women That You Need to Read ASAP

Do you agree with my choices? What are some feminist/women empowerment books that you’d recommend for International Women’s Day?


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Author of Bookmark Your Thoughts, both the Tumblr and WordPress book review blogs. I'm a tea drinking, book loving librarian who just loves literature.

19 thoughts on “International Women’s Day 2020: 8 Books About Women Empowerment

    1. Happy International Women’s Day, darlin’!

      I just found out the other day that March 7th is “The Paper Bag Princess” Day!!!! I was so mad! I would’ve done a post SPECIFICALLY for that book! I guess that’ll have to wait until 2021 ha-ha!

      Thank you very much! This made me realize that I really want to read more women empowerment books though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. great post jenna!! i can’t wait to read the ten thousand doors of january, especially after seeing you and so many other readers i trust love it! (plus the cover is so gorgeous) i admire angie thomas so so much and i’ll never be more in awe of how powerful her voice is, as well as her books ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, darlin’! ❤ Oh my gosh — you're going to love it!!!! Seriously! it's so good! The cover is gorgeous — my mom is borrowing it but I want it back because I want it on my bookshelf!

      Angie Thomas is an amazing woman — THUG is such a powerful read, and I'm so envious of her courage and writing ability.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved how you mentioned that you wary of feminism before! Growing up, I used to stay clear of the whole topic too because I thought it was complicated and the people were radicals. But, I felt comfortable calling myself a feminist once I finally learned the main definition and message of the movement 🙂.
    THUG deserves its place on /every/ book rec post haha, and the females in Six of Crows are the best (I love me some wraith 🥺💕). Great post, Jenna 😄!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I think i was just surrounded by these people who defined themselves as feminist but they basically hated on EVERYONE! It was intense — but then a friend of mine showed me what it really means, and school definitely helped. After that, I was like, “Well, obviously I’m a feminist” lol! So yes, you are NOT alone.

      UGH YES! THUG was so good! Thank you so much, darlin’!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for starting by clearing up what feminism actually is! And although I have not yet read any of the books you listed, you described them so beautifully that I already put 3 in my Amazon cart 🙂 I have always struggled with my place as a woman and I welcome inspiration and insight wherever I can find it. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow! I’m so happy! I hope you end up enjoying those that you selected! And of course! I feel as though the media skews what feminism really is, so it’s nice to clear the air ha-ha! Thank you for commenting! I really appreciate it all! ❤


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