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Women empowering reads: Recommendations by Femme Palette members

Written by
Veronika Smrckova
Published on
February 26, 2024

At the end of January, I organized a book club for FP members in Prague. In the second half of the evening, everyone pitched in with their top book picks for empowering women. Originally, I thought we would vote and share only the most popular ones, but the night unfolded differently. What transpired was a vibrant exchange of ideas, demonstrating the importance of embracing different outlooks. It became clear that relying solely on the majority vote wouldn't capture the essence of the varied and empowering experiences shared. So, without further ado, explore below a kaleidoscopic list of books, each in its own way contributing to the empowerment of women.

Biographies & personal experience

Michelle Obama – The Light We Carry

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world.

Sheryl Sandberg – Lean In

Based on her own experience Sandberg share her tips on what to do when you would like to become a leader, but you are too shy to ask for it.

Tiffany Dufu – Drop the Ball

A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women's leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.

Britney Spears – The Woman in Me

It is a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope. Written with remarkable candor and humor, Spears’s groundbreaking book illuminates the enduring power of music and love—and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms, at last.

Laura Kate Dale – Gender Euphoria

In this groundbreaking anthology, nineteen trans, non-binary, agender, gender-fluid and intersex writers share their experiences of gender euphoria: an agender dominatrix being called ‘Daddy’, an Arab trans man getting his first tattoos, a trans woman embracing her inner fighter.

James J. Sexton - How to Stay In Love

Hard-hitting divorce lawyer shares his insights and wisdom to help you reverse-engineer a healthy, fulfilling romantic relationship.

Tara Westover – Educated

Despite being born in US, she grew up in a family totally isolated from the rest of the world. Due to her will to learn and self-educate she managed to get to a university and in her story she gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.

Based on science

Katty Kay – The Confidence Code

Practical guide to understanding the importance of confidence—and learning how to achieve it—for women of all ages and at all stages of their career.

Lisa Feldman Barret - How Emotions Are Made

Neuroscientist explains the consequences of her research, which shows that emotions are not random reactions isolated in specific parts of our brain, but their constructions is done across the whole brain and there are changes in this process throughout our lifetime.

Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson – The Whole-Brain Child

Based on child brain development the authors help parents to understand why the children behave in such weird way sometimes and share practical tips how to deal with it.

Caroline Criado Perez – Invisible Women

The author investigates the shocking root cause of gender inequality, which she sees in the lack of gendered data. We rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But when data treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems

Fiction

Bernardine Evaristo - Girl, Woman, Other

The novel follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. The Booker Prize winner in 2019.

Coco Mellors – Cleopatra & Frankenstein

An addictive, humorous, and poignant debut novel about the shock waves caused by one couple's impulsive marriage.

Essays

Kayhleen Schaefer – Text Me When You Get Home

A validation of female friendship unlike any that's ever existed before, this book is a mix of historical research, the author's own personal experience, and conversations about friendships across the country.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from author’s much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name.

Laura Bates – Fix the System, Not the Women

Instead of telling women what to do to be recognized and respected, the author points out the failings and biases of a society that was not built for women. In this explosive book, feminist writer and activist Laura Bates exposes the systemic prejudice at the heart of five of our key institutions.

Bell Hooks – All About Love (Love Trilogy)

Visionary and original, hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame.

Bonus: Biographies for children (Little People, Big Dreams)

Kristin Grue – Gro Harlem Brundtland (in Norwegian)

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara – Michelle Obama

Lisbeth Kaiser – Rosa Parks 

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