Life·6 min read

Nine Must-Read Books by Inspiring Women

Women's History Month Reads 2021
Feb 26, 2021

For Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the women who broke barriers, changed the game, and continue to inspire us this month and beyond. Check ‘em out and share them with all the strong women in your life. 

“Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes

For when you need a reminder to take a risk…

Say yes. And then say yes some more. Shonda, of Shondaland fame, is the first (and only) woman to create three shows to hit 100+ episodes. But her 2015 book—about saying yes to everything that scared her—peels back the curtain to show a side of her you might not know. You’ll get insight into her crippling social anxiety, her difficult relationship with her weight, her real thoughts on Cristina Yang, and all the lessons she took away from her new outlook on life. It’s part memoir, part motivational pep talk and for fans of “Grey’s Anatomy,’ “Scandal,” it’s a must-read. (Amazon, Bookshop


“Coming to My Senses” by Alice Waters

For when #foodie is your most searched hashtag on Insta...

Double tap this. Waters is known for pioneering the farm-to-table movement and for founding Chez Panisse, one of the most influential restaurants in America. Her memoir tackles her life before she opened up the dining spot that changed the culinary world. She writes about her formative years in Berkeley at the height of the Free Speech Movement and walks you through how she learned to find her voice—both as a chef and in her own life. Plus, her descriptions of food will make you hungry. (Amazon, Bookshop)


“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor

For when “America, you great unfinished symphony” is your fave lyric from “Hamilton”...

This 2013 book, by Sonia Sotomayor, will remind you that the world was wide enough for a little girl from the Bronx to achieve her dreams. Her revealing memoir is part coming-of-age story, part tale of the American Dream. She focuses her autobiography on life before she became the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court. And covers everything from growing up in a housing project, to losing her father, her juvenile diabetes diagnosis at 7, her loving relationship with her grandmother, her years at Princeton and Yale, and more. (Amazon, Bookshop)


“My Life on the Road” by Gloria Steinem

For when have a ‘future is female’ tee…

Then you need this. It's an honest account of life on the road from a legendary feminist icon. Steinem, who co-founded Ms. Magazine, published this autobiographical work in 2015 when she was 81. She uses the said “road” from the book’s title to recap the places she’s spent significant time over the course of her life. First during her nomadic childhood, then during her work as an activist on the go. It’s a revealing portrait of someone who’s been in the public eye making change for women for decades. Plus it's filled with wisdoms like: “we have to behave as if everything we do matters. Because it might." (Amazon, Bookshop)


“Brave, Not Perfect” by Reshma Saujani

For when you've always said you want to learn to code…

Just do it. Take risks. Make mistakes. And fail. It’s all ok—and necessary, according to Reshma Saujani, the CEO and founder of Girls Who Code. “Brave, Not Perfect” explores how young girls are shaped to play it safe, be polite, and please people. While on the other hand, boys are raised to make bold choices and live fearlessly. Those differences, she argues, have major consequences and follow us into adulthood and the workforce. And this book explores how to change all that. Who run the world? (Amazon, Bookshop)


“The Purpose of Power” by Alicia Garza

For when you want a timely read...

Pick up this read. Garza, who co-created the Black Lives Matter movement with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, shares her evolution as an activist and the lessons she acquired during her 20+ years as an organizer. She writes about using social media for social change but argues that “hashtags don’t build movements. People do.” Her work has left an indelible mark on the world stage and we’ll continue reading about her in our history books for decades to come. (Amazon, Bookshop)


“Collected Poems” by Rita Dove

For when Amanda Gorman reignited your interest in poetry…

Take notes from the best. Dove’s the former US poet laureate—the first Black poet to do so. She also won a Pulitzer Prize. And has a National Humanities Medal, and a National Medal of Art. Mic drop. This volume is a compilation of her work spanning three decades, covering everything from war and history to civil rights struggles, Greek mythology, and love. Plus she’s known for writing about the Black experience and her family, so you can look out for that too. (Amazon, Bookshop)


“No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference” by Greta Thunberg 

For when you’re wanting to make some sustainable changes in your life...

In Greta We Trust. “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference” is a compilation of Thunbger’s climate speeches including her powerful address to the UN. It’s the ultimate inspiration manual about being young, active, and working to wake up the world. (Amazon, Bookshop)


“I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai

For when you’re losing faith in your ability to make change...

Let the younger generation inspire you. In 2012, Malala, then just a Pakistani teenager, was shot in the head on a school bus by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education. She survived the attack, and has continued to be a vocal crusader for girls’ rights since. (She also went on to become the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Casual.) Her 2013 book, which was co-written by veteran journalist Christina Lamb, tells the story of her assassination attempt, her family, and her role as an advocate for girls. It’s a testament to the power of resilience and standing up for what you believe in. (Amazon,


PS: If you buy anything from this, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published. Thanks. 

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