Friday, 25 June 2021

4 Must-Read Books on Feminism


Reading books on Feminism can help us understand feminism as a movement and how it had evolved through the centuries. Feminism is based on two premises:

(I)Gender difference is the foundation of structural inequality between men and women due to which women suffer social injustice.

(II)The inequality between the sexes is not because of biological necessity but it is produced by the cultural construction of gender differences.

Feminism demands equality between men and women. Here are the 4 must-read books that will help you understand feminism:

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

It was published on 1929. Woolf was invited to give a lecture on the topic of Women and Fiction in a college for women. She reached the conclusion that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf observed that women colleges were under-funded and women were not given nutritious food. This is completely opposite to that of men’s colleges.

She wonders if Shakespeare had a talented sister, what the chances of her exploring her talent in patriarchal Elizabethan age were. She points out that a woman writer lives under constant pressure from patriarchy which often pushes women writers, (their novels & characters) to the point of insanity. In the end, Woolf tells women that they should work toward having five hundred pounds a year and a room of their own in which to write to produce works of genius.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Published in 1949, this essay talks about how women have been treated throughout history. Women are defined in relation to men; not the other way about. This results in inequality.

Men go out into the world to impose their will on it, whereas women are doomed to inwardness. He creates, acts, invents; she waits for him to save her. Beauvoir researches how women got this inferior status in society. Although she finds plenty of examples of female subordination in history, she cannot find any justification for it.

She says that women are not born “feminine” but shaped by a thousand external processes. She shows how, at each stage of her upbringing, a girl is conditioned into accepting passivity, dependence, repetition, and inwardness. In the end, she gives a solution on how women canget rid of ‘the second sex’ status in society.

We Should all be Feminists by  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Published in 2014 and based on the famous Tedx talk of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this book is a must read.

The personal, eloquently argued essay offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century, one that is rooted in inclusion and awareness. The author draws extensively from her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics.

She states: ‘I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…’

A very powerful and relevant book on feminism that is only 64 pages long.

Seeing Like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon

Published in 2012, Seeing Like a Feminist talks about a wide range of things. The author states that feminism is not about a single moment of final triumph over patriarchy but about the gradual transformation of society.

She talks about sexual harassment charges against international figures, challenges that caste politics poses to feminism, feminist dilemmas regarding surrogacy, the ban on the veil in France, the attempt to impose skirts on international women badminton players and several other topics. This book will help you understand how to look at the various issues of the world as a feminist and how it can make a difference.

Having a better understanding and knowledge of feminism can help us fight patriarchy better. So, do check out these amazing books and have an enriching read. 

"This post is part of Blogchatter's CauseAChatter"

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’ 


  1. Interesting list. I haven't read any of these though. We Should All Be Feminist is on my TBR list. Adichie is my favourite. Love 'The Purple Hibiscus' and 'Half of a Yellow Sun'. Have you read these books by Adichie.

  2. I have read just the 'We are all Feminists' by Adichie. I would get my hands on all the others too.
    I think my reading has taken a toll, I fell uninspired, or a sense of responsible reading or purposeful reading is missing, or a sense of wonderment that comes with discovering new works..... may be owing to pandemic, etc.. but this post has inspired me a bit, i should check out feminist literature.. and try to make sense of my own situation and thoughts..


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