Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Louisa
March is Women’s History Month and a time for us to celebrate all the women of our past who stood up for their rights and inspired others.
What better way to celebrate all the empowering females of history than to immerse yourself in a book telling of their tales, struggles, fight, and conquests? I can’t think of any!
Because there have been so many inspiring women throughout the history books, putting together the best books about women who changed the world was no easy task.
But, I do believe this list is a good start! So read on to learn about some of the best books about women who changed the world to celebrate Women’s History Month.
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Books By Women Who Changed the World
So without further ado, here are the best books by women who have changed the world!
1. Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
Recommended by Michael Wilson of A Novel Chapter
Testament of Youth is an autobiography of Vera Brittain’s life from 1900-1925. She first writes about growing up in Edwardian Britain as she struggled to convince her parents of her right to go to university.
She manages to get into Oxford but it is cut short by the outbreak of the First World War.
She then writes about her time as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse serving in France and Malta in the war which cost her brother, her fiance, and their two best friends’ lives.
It then goes on to the years immediately after the war as she returns to her studies whilst seeking to honor her war dead and try to prevent a war from happening again.
Though at times the language can be difficult to follow, it is powerful and moving and also reveals the perspective of a woman who served in the war.
There is also a hint of sadness as she writes about how a war like this should never happen again as the book was published in 1933, just six years before the outbreak of the Second World War.
2. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World – Chelsea Clinton
She Persisted is an incredible novel that tells the story of 13 brave and courageous women who changed the course of history in America by speaking out and standing up for their rights.
From feminists, mini activists, and small children, this book showcases how any female who is bold enough to fight the system can prevail as long as they persist.
In this novel, you’ll read about the stories of Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, and Sonia Sotomayor.
3. She-Wolves – Helen Castor
She-Wolves is a historical non-fiction novel that tells the story of the women who ruled England before Queen Elizabeth.
When Edward VI, Henry VIII’s one and only son, died at a young age in 1553, there were no male heirs to take the throne.
This eye-opening account of the women in line for the throne exercised their power against controversy and criticism.
This is the story of how women occupied the throne of England and ruled with success and determination.
4. I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to ever receive a Noble Peace Prize.
When the Taliban seized control of the Swat Valley, Pakistan, it was Malala Yousafzai who refused to be silenced and stood up for her right to receive an education.
When she was fifteen years old, she paid the ultimate price for speaking up for her rights and was shot in the head when taking a bus home from school.
She wasn’t expected to survive the attack, but she prevailed, and at sixteen had become a symbol for global peaceful protests. I Am Malala is her story.
5. My Beloved World – Sonia Sotomayor
My Beloved World is the story of the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
In this memoir by Sonia Sotomayor, she writes with candor and intimacy as she recounts her life growing up in the Bronx, from living in a housing project to eventually securing her position on the federal bench.
A journey shows a true testament to her extraordinary determination and power of believing in herself.
My Beloved World was an Audie Award Finalist for Solo Narration and Biography and Memoir categories in 2014.
6. D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win the Second World War – Sarah Rose
When we think back to our heroic troops who fought bravely during WWII, little thought goes to the women who also stood up to Hilter and fought for their countries and freedom.
In D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose describes how the extraordinary women who were recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency helped pave the way to victory.
In 1942, it looked as though Germany were unstoppable, and every man who could pick up arms in England was fighting. However, Winston Churchill had a secret weapon.
A secret agency, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whose spies were specially trained for war.
Because most men were already on the front line, they had no choice but to recruit women. Thirty-nine women applied, leaving their families and everything they knew to become saboteurs in France.
Referencing recently declassified files, diaries, and the spoken stories of three of these remarkable women, Sarah Rose opens the door to how these animated women accomplished liberation when the stakes were so high.
7. The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s diary is probably the world’s most famous and world-changing memoir ever written. It is the diary of Anne, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl hiding in Amsterdam during WWII.
It was discovered in an attic where she spent many years of her life in hiding.
In her diary, she recounts the two years her family lived in a ‘secret annex’ in an office building, cut off from the world and met with immense poverty, boredom, and isolation.
With the ever-present threat of being discovered, Anne’s diary tells of her fear, her hopes, and bravery. Eventually, the family was betrayed by the Gestapo, and the courageous spirit of a young girl was tragically cut short.
8. Civil Rights Queen – Tomiko Brown-Nagin
Constance Baker Motley was one of the most influential and least-known activists of the 20th century. The Civil Rights Queen is the first major biography of her life, which tells the story of the struggles for gender equality and civil rights.
During the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley who was expected to become a hairdresser instead became the first Black woman to stand up in front of the Supreme Court for gender equality and civil rights for women.
As the only Black woman in the legal team at the NAACP’s Inc, she played a pivotal role in vanquishing Jim Crow laws in the South, she stood up for Martin Luther King, and she argued in Brown vs.
The Board of Education, and she was the first Black woman to be elected to the state Senate in New York, the first woman elected as the Manhattan Borough President, and the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary.
The Civil Rights Queen is the story of how one strong and determined woman defied all odds and helped change society in 20th-century America.
9. No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference – Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg rose to fame after peacefully protesting climate change by imposing a school strike.
Why should I go to school, when there is no future? was Greta’s argument. At first, fifteen-year-old Greta was alone, but then others realized – she has a point.
One by one, more and more people began to protest against climate change by school strike. What started in Stockholm, spread across the world. But it didn’t stop there for Greta.
Speaking in front of the United Nations, and addressing hundreds of world leaders at the G12 summit in 2021, her powerful and well-written speeches have gone down in history.
In No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, Greta shares her most powerful speeches that have inspired thousands across the world to stand up for climate change.
10. Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Jane Sherron de Hart
In this riveting biography, historian Jane Sherron de Hart shares the incredible story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman famed for her passion for justice and advocacy for gender equality.
Using fifteen years’ worth of interviews and research, this is a close and personal account of Ginburg’s life as a young Jewish girl who grew up during the Holocaust and World War II.
When her mother tragically died when Ginsburg was young, her mother’s intelligence inspired her feminism, and her intellect and drive took her to Cornell University.
After that, she went to Harvard and Columbia Law Schools, before eventually becoming one of the first female law professors in America.
She is known for her brave fight for equal pay, which lead her to become the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project where she argued anti-sex discrimination cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1993, she was nominated to become the second woman on the Court, and her crucial decisions are still making history to this day. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most influential and inspiring women of the 20th century.
11. Women in Science – Rachel Ignotofsky
There have been many notable women in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) who have revoked inspiration and changed the world with their discoveries.
From Madame Curie who discovered radiation to Sally Ride, the first woman to go to space, this New York Times bestselling book shows that science is no man’s field.
As well as being a gorgeously illustrated and educational book, Women in Science highlights the contributions of these incredible women.
Full of striking and fascinating infographics and diagrams, this book makes understanding these women’s accomplishments easy and enjoyable.
It includes well-known figures in science such as Jane Goodall, whose work with chimpanzees has allowed us to understand great detail about evolution.
It also includes Katherine Johnson, an African-American physicist, and mathematician who is known for calculating the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
This book is a celebration of all the achievements that women have had in the field of science, which aims to inspire and promote the next generation of female engineers, scientists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, and more.
12. Soft Magic – Upile Chisala
Recommended by Nichole Ellis from My Beauty My Books
Soft Magic is a beautiful book of poetry, that’s all about what it’s like being a black woman and the things they do daily. Upile Chisala shares what black women love, give, help, and educate.
However, she feels black women still aren’t recognized as they should be.
Chisala also talks about self-love and self-care. Something on the journey of doing for myself. She also mentioned not putting a man before yourself. Something I often see way more than I should.
She says to love him from a distance but still not lose yourself in the process. We as women, not just black women, can get caught up in a relationship that tends to control everything in our life.
The author talked about putting yourself first; love yourself. I strongly believe more women need to hear this. We do a lot without children, work, school, family, etc and it’s time we take time for ourselves.
This was a nice fast-paced poetry book and I enjoyed the author’s writing style.
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Final Words on Books About Women Who Changed History
So there you have it, those are my top books on women who changed history to celebrate women’s history month.
Many of these women have shown tremendous courage, bravery, and determination throughout their lives.
I commend them for standing up for their rights and applaud them for the inspiration they have sparked.
I know there are thousands of books that were missing from this list. Do you have any more recommendations? Let me know in the comments.