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International Women’s Day

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day – American Express celebrated this year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter, company wide yesterday. I feel SO privileged to work at for a company really determined to drive gender equality and have already proved themselves with increase of female leaders in senior positions this year. I’ve had an utter blast at work the last few weeks preparing for the UK events this week, and it’s been very inspirational hearing from both male and women colleagues on their pledges on how they will #BalanceforBetter in 2019 and beyond. One word – powerful. 

The future is exciting. Let’s build a gender-balanced world.
Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere.
From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.
Balance drives a better working world. Let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.

Coming back to all things bookish … I’ve selected my Top 6 Reads for International Women’s Day this year:

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Plot: When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. She vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.

What’s to love: Relatable, Courageous and Honest. 

Highlights also the importance of female friendships, and how women need to build each other up together – perfect fitting for International Women’s Day, driving change together. 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Plot: Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford – her assigned name, Offred, means ‘of Fred’. She has only one function: to breed. If Offred refuses to enter into sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs.

What’s to love: Scarily Plausible, Terrifying and Thought provoking.

Centred around a frightening dystopian society – highlighting corruption, oppression and the role of women. This book actually fits in perfectly in the age of the #MeToo Movement!

She: A Celebration of Renegade Women by Harriet Hall

Plot: SHE is a love letter to all the women who have thrown out the rulebook and threatened the status quo. It’s a toast to the brave, bold and brilliant women who make us proud to be ladies.

From fashion icon Coco Chanel to Queen Cleopatra, from literary legend Jane Austen to trailblazer Michelle Obama and from kick-ass activist Malala Yousafzai to the one-and-only Beyoncé, SHE honours 100 truly renegade women, from history through to present day.

What’s to love: Bitesize, Powerful and Inspiring.

From Mathematician Ada Lovelace to Beyoncé and Michelle Obama, this book honours 100 female heroes throughout history (some forgotten) who have paved the way for women and  gender driven equality. 

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini

Plot: Are women more nurturing than men? Are men more promiscuous than women? Are males the naturally dominant sex? And can science give us an impartial answer to these questions?

Taking us on an eye-opening journey through science, Inferior challenges our preconceptions about men and women, investigating the ferocious gender wars that burn in biology, psychology and anthropology. Angela Saini revisits the landmark experiments that have informed our understanding, lays bare the problem of bias in research, and speaks to the scientists finally exploring the truth about the female sex.

The result is an enlightening and deeply empowering account of women’s minds, bodies and evolutionary history. Interrogating what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, Inferior unveils a fresh view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.

What’s to love: Informative, Fascinating and Challenging.

Full of scientific research, it challenges deeply rooted preconceptions on gender/sex. Blows gender stereotypes out of the water!

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) by Scarlett Curtis

Plot: An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them. Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same.

What’s to love: Everything – Motivating, Powerful and Inspiring

You can see my ‘At a Glance’ Review that went up earlier in the week here.

Feminism through a variety of perspectives from a wide range of smart, brave and strong women.

The War on Women and the brave ones who fight back by Sue Lloyd – Roberts and Sarah Morris

Plot: In 1973, Sue Lloyd-Roberts joined ITN as a news trainee and went on to be one of the UK’s first video-journalists to report from the bleak outposts of the Soviet Union. Travelling as a tourist, she also gained access to some of the world’s most impenetrable places like China, Tibet and Burma. During her 40-year-long career she witnessed the worst atrocities inflicted on women across the world. But in observing first-hand the war on the female race she also documented their incredibl determination to fight back.

The War on Women brings to life the inconceivable and dangerous life Sue led. It tells the story of orphan Mary Merritt who, age sixteen, instead of being released from the care of nuns was interned by them in a Magdalen Laundry and forced to work twelve hours a day six days a week, without pay, for over a decade. She gives voice to Maimouna, the woman responsible for taking over her mother’s role as the village female circumciser in The Gambia and provides a platform for the 11-year-old Manemma, who was married off in Jaipur at the age of six. From the gender pay gap in Britain to forced marriage in Kashmir and from rape as a weapon of war to honour killings, Sue has examined humankind’s history and takes us on a journey to analyse the state of women’s lives today. Most importantly she acts as a mouthpiece for the brave ones; the ones who challenge wrongdoing; the ones who show courage no matter how afraid they are; the ones who are combatting violence across the globe; the ones who are fighting back.

What’s to love: Emotional, extraordinary and brutally honest.

Disturbing read, this goes much further than just women’s rights but human rights; horrifying atrocities committed told by women across the globe. It really highlights the ongoing importance of feminism, courage and compassion.

If you haven’t yet read these – go out and get copies now. They are all perfect reads, not just for IWD but beyond.

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