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8 Books You Need To Read Ahead Of International Women's Day

There are so many amazing books published every year that tell women’s stories.

Whether it's memoir, non-fiction, long-form journalism, or a rollicking novel that brings to life rich, varied, complex and nuanced characters and their unique and universal experiences, it's important to pay attention to as many stories as possible -- as women's stories are everyone's stories.

In this list you will find works from women of colour, from older women, from women who have fought for women's rights -- including seeking abortion in Australia; stories from women from all over the world, giving insight into amazing accomplishments, feminism, race, religion, belonging, family and everything else that makes up our fascinating reality.

So ahead of International Women's Day on Friday, March 8,  pick up one of these (or all of them) and spend a bit of time seeing the world from a fresh perspective.

Accidental feminists by Jane Caro

This new release from publishing house Melbourne University Publishing is a rallying cry for all of us to listen, pay attention to and to respect the amazing women who have come before us. Jane Caro takes a look at women aged over 55 who led one of Australia’s biggest feminist revolutions -- without even realising the path they were forging for the rest of us. Not only does Caro examine what they did, and how, but she also looks at where these women are now -- the largest growing demographic slipping into poverty and homelessness in Australia.

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The Women's Atlas by Joni Seager

The Women’s Atlas is an easy read, owing to the fact that the incredibly frightening statistics and world maps are presented in a colourful, easy to read ‘infographic’ format. Perfect for the budding human rights activist, and anyone who thinks that women are now equal and we should all put up and go home, The Women’s Atlas paints a stark picture about how women are going across the globe -- economically, socially and otherwise.

Rise and Resist by Clare Press

Clare was Vogue’s first sustainability editor and has spent a lot of her life campaigning for a more sustainable world. During this time, she has seen how activism has changed, evolved and continued. This book is a fascinating look at different types of activism, what works and what doesn’t, and how and why activism has changed -- usually for the better. And as bonus, it shares many heart-warming stories of people campaigning for various human rights and global issues -- and winning along the way.

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Choice Words (edited by Louise Swinn)

Choice Words is an anthology of essays from Australian women about abortion. Due to be released on International Women’s Day (so you can pick it up on the day!) the essays cover abortion law, safe access zones, stories from women about their abortions, interviews with people who provide abortion and from policy makers who have been trying to legislate for every woman in Australia to have access to safe, legal abortion. Access to abortion and sexual and reproductive health services is incredibly important for women to be able to choose if or when they have children, and this book is the most comprehensive explainer of why I have ever read.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I mean, how could you not read this book? Michelle Obama is iconoclast for all the right reasons; she is ground-breaking. This honest and heart-warming memoir tracks Michelle’s entire life in three parts: Becoming Me, Becoming Us and Becoming More. She talks candidly about growing up in a middle class family, meeting her husband, working, being a mother and then takes the reader behind the scenes of the White House as First Lady.

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On Mother by Sarah Ferguson

Part of MUP’s ‘On’ series, On Mother by Sarah Ferguson was written following the passing of her mother in 2017. She writes eloquently about the woman her mother was, being a mother herself and her need for closure following her mother’s passing. It’s heart-wrenching and raw and will make you want to call your mother.

No Country Woman by Zoya Patel

No Country Woman is a collection of essays that riff on what it means to not belong… anywhere. This striking memoir has essays covering feminism, race, religion, belonging, family and more. The essays are both interesting and critical, and leave no stone unturned as Patel seeks for an answer about what it means for her to belong.

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The Boys' Club by Wendy Squires

This novel was written about a decade ago, but it is just a relevant today as it was then -- potentially even more so in the wake of #metoo. The novel follows Rosie Lang, who is the Director of PR and Channel Six, as she wrangles misbehaving executives, abusive talent, a nosy mother, an annoying ex and a cute son. Throw in an assistant, a boss who is constantly getting the network into trouble and a heartthrob at the school gate, and you have everything you need for an amazingly feminist, rousing rumble that takes you behind the scenes of TV. Really though, Squires spent one year as the Director of PR at a major Australian TV network before she wrote the book.