40+ Best Feminist Books Everyone Should Read (Updated March 2023)
Are you a feminist?
If not, you should be! Be an advocate of equal rights for all genders and races and read more books by female writers.
If you don’t know where to start, here is a large list of the best feminist books you need to add to your to-read list. From fiction and historical fiction to nonfiction and personal essays, these are some of the most prominent texts about the feminist movement.
Feminist Books About Women’s Rights and the Women’s Movement
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Mary Wollstonecraft was a writer during the first wave of feminism in 1792. In this book, Wollstonecraft writes about how women deserve the same rights as men and this opinion and attitude kickstarted the important conversations about feminism.
Feminism: A Graphic Guide
This graphic novel, written by Cathia Jenainati and illustrated by Judy Groves depicts the history of the feminist movement to present day feminism. It also includes biographies of important female figures.
Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism
This book celebrates feminism and women of color as well as discusses the controversial subject of abortion, Muslim feminism, and other crucial topics.
Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights
Written by two sex workers, Molly Smith and Juno Mac, this book sheds light on the rights of women and the sex work discourse with a feminist framework.
Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology
This anthology is a collection of essays about sexual politics and how gender, race, and class plays a role in everything that a woman experiences.
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
This can be considered a controversial work, but an important read for anyone, especially those interested in queer theory. This text looks at gender stereotypes and the way gender has been looked at and represented in the past and present.
Fat Is A Feminist Issue
With the manipulation of diet culture and the societal and male expectations, women have struggled to build a healthy relationship with their bodies. This 1978 book is still relevant and important, offering readers a fresh perspective on the female body.
The Second Sex
If you’re looking for a book on the history of women, this is for you. This book by Simone De Beauvoir is one of the best-known reads of feminist philosophy, discussing the (mis) treatment of white women and women of color throughout history.
The Madwoman in the Attic
This is a feminist literature must-read! There is a particular treatment of female characters in novels, as well as women in pop culture and media, and this topic is discussed heavily in this text.
This collection of essays is praised for its humor, relatability, and honesty, covering topics of sexual violence, sexual politics, and what it means to be a feminist.
Feminism Is For Everybody
This is an important read…for everybody. This book is about race, class, sexual violence, reproductive rights, and everything in between.
Can We All Be Feminists?
This collection takes writing from seventeen female writers, all discussing feminism from a fresh perspective and in a thought-provoking way.
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud
Women are often told to be “less”–skinner, quieter, kinder, weaker, less smart, less funny. If you identify as a woman and you’ve been told by someone that you’re too much, then this is a great read for you to own the space you take up.
Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny
Ah, misogyny. Any woman and any girl knows this all too well. This book focuses on internalized misogyny, sexism, and what we can do about making a change.
The Female Eunuch
This book first came to be in 1970, but it’s still relevant today. The author Germaine Greer discusses controversial topics about menstruation, women’s liberation, and sexual female oppression.
Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–And What We Can Do About It
Victim blaming: a relevant, devastating experience that victims of sexual violence and abuse know all too well. This novel was also turned into a play!
The Vagina Monologues
This play is a major feminist narrative, discussing important subjects such as sexual consent, sex work, body image, and more. It gives any young woman the comfort that she is heard and seen.
The Future is Feminist: Radical, Funny, and Inspiring Writing by Women
With the voices and perspectives of some iconic, modern feminists, like Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Handler, and Salma Hayek, these essays explore what it really means to be a feminist.
The Feminine Mystique
This is an important text of second wave feminism and the feminist theory. This book discusses the dialogue of women, the treatment of women with mental illnesses and so much more.
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger
Discussing historical events like the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March, this book sparks the debate about women’s anger and what it means to be an “angry woman” living in an overbearing patriarchal society.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World
This picture book is great for any young girl wanting to know more about the influential voices celebrated during Women’s History Month.
Feminist Books About Black Feminism and Intersectional Feminism
This memoir and essay collection by Audre Lorde is a pivotal piece of feminist literature, specifically Black Feminism. The author talks about activism and being a Black lesbian in America.
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
This book is a collection of writings from Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian women and their experiences and attitudes towards gender, race, sexuality, class, and more. This could be considered a foundational book in the feminist movement.
Ain’t I A Woman?
This is another classic text of Black Feminism by Bell Hooks, dating back to the Civil Rights movement and the impact of racism and sexism on African American women.
Women, Culture, and Politics
Angela Davis is an inspirational writer, feminist activist, and Black woman, and in these essays, she sheds light on the importance of intersectional feminism and racism, workers’ rights and equality, and the prison industrial complex.
On Intersectionality: Essential Writings
Intersectionality–the nature and conflation of race, class, and gender–was a term coined by the author, Kimberle Crenshaw. Her writing in this is groundbreaking and influential and a must-read.
Feminist Books: Fiction
The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood is a female author most known for this incredible and important read. This feminist fiction book tells the story of a young woman living in an oppressive, fundamentalist society.
Things A Bright Girl Can Do
This historical fiction book tells the story of the Suffragist movements from the perspective of young girls. This is a pivotal story for young readers or any young girl learning about the limitations women have experienced.
Following the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, this classic novel shows the lives of women and how they handle love, a career, loss, and family.
The Bluest Eye
Released in 1970, this novel explores the societal beauty standards through the eyes of a young Black girl. It covers scary and relevant topics of bullying and sexual assault.
The Color Purple
This novel by Alice Walker tells the tale of Celie, a young girl growing up in poverty in the segregated south. This classic story was even adapted into a Steven Spielberg film.
This inspirational story by Madeline Miller tells the story of Circe, a Greek goddess, and her experience being abused and neglected and how she finds the strength to break free and be the ruler of her own life.
Feminist Books: Memoir
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World
This is the memoir of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who has spent her life fighting against the Taliban. After almost getting killed by the Taliban, she is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, feminist, and advocate for young women and girls.
We all know and love actress and comedian Tina Fey. In her memoir, we get insight on her as a young woman, her life at Saturday Night Live, as star of 30 Rock, and what makes her so great.
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search For Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
This popular memoir is inspirational for all women and those looking to travel the world. This #1 bestseller and motion picture movie defies the expectations of women.
Men Explain Things To Me
This witty collection of essays discusses mansplaining–the condescending way men explain things to women. This is a must-read for all feminists!
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies
“What does feminism mean to you?” This question is answered through personal essays by some incredible, inspirational, and well-known voices: Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Jameela Jamil, and so many more.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
This classic memoir was written by Maya Angelou, one of the greatest writers in history. She talks about abuse and bigotry from her childhood and how she got through those tough times.
The Gender Games: The Problem With Men and Women, From Someone Who Has Been Both
Author Juno Dawson writes this incredible nonfiction book on her own experiences as a trans woman. In this, she also discusses traditional gender roles, gender stereotypes, and gender equality.
My Life On The Road
Gloria Steinem is an American journalist, feminist, activist, and spokeswoman for the American women feminist movement in the ‘60s. Her memoir focuses on her life as a woman fighting for equality.
If you identify as a woman, embrace it. Be the adventurous, funny, creative, smart, loving, wild woman that you are. Celebrate yourself and other women on International Women’s Day and be kind to one another. Never forget your power!