There is no shortage of women’s voices in the literary world right now and we’re recommending four books from four stellar, female writers.
These are stories about women, by women, who share experiences of pushing boundaries and striving for a better world. They are paving the way for a stronger future where women construct their own lives.
Share your own book recommendations below, and follow along each Friday as we publish our ‘Book of the Week’ in our revamped books section.
1| Melinda Gates THE MOMENT OF LIFT
This book is one in a string of others, including Gemma Hartley’s Fed Up: Navigating and Redefining Emotional Labour for Good”, for women looking for insight from powerful women on how women delegate household duties. An astute review and close reading by Kristine Ziwica here on this site, calls this book, ‘a chronicle of Melinda’s evolution as a feminist.’ Gates’ surveys the topics she is passionate about: maternal and infant health, family planning, child marriage, and poverty, issues that disproportionately effect women. This is a feminist book, with stories of how women have changed and empowered her. We also gain some insight into her views on The Gates Foundation, and where she hopes to take it in the near future.
2| Georgie Dent BREAKING BADLY
Reading Georgie Dent’s list of accomplishments might give you a headache — it’s long, and impressive– but that’s not what sets her apart. Instead, it’s her capacity for truth-telling; even inside the most vulnerable accounts of personal trauma.
In October 2013, Dent wrote a searing and raw article for Women’s Agenda during mental health awareness month. She detailed the nervous breakdown she suffered while working as a solicitor at a Sydney law firm. On the outside, everything appeared neat and perfect, but eventually the mental turmoil she was experiencing left her debilitated, paralysed to a bed for four months, and anguishing from an illness she had no name for.
Labelling something gives it a face, and it’s the first step to curing something inside us that eats away at our core. Dent has written a brilliant call-to-arms for all women: share your stories, share your pain. It’s a recollection that will break your heart, but also give you strength. Readers have called it shocking, funny and confronting: all the ingredients for an inspiring un-put-downable memoir.
3| Julian Guthrie ALPHA GIRLS
I once heard Silicon Valley described as ‘capitalism on steroids’. With women holding just 11% of executive positions and 60% of them saying they’ve been sexually harassed at work, it might not be such a stretch to say it’s also a place of ‘gender-imbalance-on-steroids’.
If you liked ‘Hidden Figures’, you’ll be inspired by this book, which unflinchingly recounts the ways women worked around sexism and misogyny in their high-stakes, male-dominated industry. Stories shift the cultural dialogue and re-distribute power, as we’ve seen in the last few years spurred by the #MeToo movement. The book delves into the harrowing experiences of the women who are bucking the trend, subverting the status quo, and carving a platform where women can be treated (and paid) equal to men. This powerful and necessary book is now being made into a television series, so I’d suggest you read it before the adaptation comes out!
4 | Chandler Baker WHISPER NETWORK
This legal thriller follows the character Sloane Glover, a lawyer in a Fortune 500 athletic apparel company who, along with other female colleagues, negotiate the daily quandaries of corporate capitalist culture. One where men rule, and women who don’t comply are penalised severely.
The protagonist is a modern day working mother, juggling both work and domestic duties, while maintaining a strict and rational composure in the office. The novel’s main narrative thrust is suspended on two underlying subjects: a murder, and a sexual harassment suit. It’s been described by The New York Times as a ‘soapy shocker’, and comparisons have been made to Liane Moriarty’s ‘Big Little Lies.’ (Spoiler alert: somebody dies!)
Insights into the opaque world of big business and corporate culture are not new, but the characters are thoughtful, compelling, and at their best, soothingly complex. Pick this up for an insightful interrogation of power, corporate hunger and the unexamined, distasteful parts of the human condition.