Girl Power: Inspiring True Stories About Women

Erin Kodicek on March 08, 2018
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The theme of this year's International Women's Day is #PressforProgress. It's a call to arms the women who have written these 10 true stories have already answered, on intimate and even global scales. Need inspiration to unleash your intrepid soul? You've come to the right place.

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Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover didn't see the inside of a classroom until she was seventeen years old, and it was an experience that dramatically changed the trajectory of her life. Educated chronicles how she survived her survivalist upbringing, eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University. It's a rousing reminder that knowledge is, indeed, power.

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Hunger by Roxane Gay

In this brutally honest and brave memoir, the bestselling author of Bad Feminist recounts how a childhood sexual assault led her to purposely gain weight in order to be unseen and therefore feel safe; it’s a story that will inspire you to be more considerate of the bodies of others, and more accepting of your own.

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I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell is danger-prone, to put it mildly. This unusual memoir chronicles her numerous near death experiences, starting with a childhood bout with Encephalitis, a profound experience that impressed upon her how precious life is, and motivated her to live it more fully.

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Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

After the unexpected passing of her beloved husband, Facebook COO and bestselling author of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, feared that she and her children would never find joy again. Fortunately this fear was unfounded. Option B, co-authored with psychologist and friend Adam Grant, shows you how Sandberg — and many others who have overcome unfathomable hardships — triumphed over tragedy.

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I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

On October 9, 2012, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head at point-blank range as punishment for denouncing a Taliban edict that girls not be educated. Remarkably, she recovered, fled Pakistan for America and ultimately became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai continues to advocate for the education of women, and this book is her rallying cry.

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Broad Band by Claire L. Evans

Ada Lovelace is typically known for being Lord Byron’s daughter; not a lot of people are aware that she was also the world’s first computer programmer. This is one of the things Claire L. Evans aims to remedy in Broad Band, the story of the women who played pivotal roles in birthing the internet.

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Mental illness is no laughing matter — unless you’re Jenny Lawson. In Furiously Happy, she discusses her struggles with depression and crippling anxiety, and tells how she is determined not to let these things suck the joy from her life. Sure, her methods for doing so can be a bit unconventional (she fought off a fear of travel by holding a koala in Australia while wearing a koala costume), but that’s the point. Combating the difficult things in life — be they depression, heartbreak or something equally horrible — requires bravery, audaciousness and good madness. Lawson has that in spades.

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A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming

After the boat she is escaping in capsizes, 19-year-old Doaa Al Zamel clings to a flimsy inflatable raft as two toddlers cling to her; their relatives had drowned. For days, she floats and struggles to stay alive, knowing they will all perish if she fails. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is Doaa Al Zamel's stirring, heartrending story — and the story of the lengths to which refugees like her go to to find a better life.

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My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If you’re not familiar with the Supreme Court justice striking the somber pose on the cover of My Own Words, you might be surprised to learn that her nickname is "The Notorious RBG." She did not earn this moniker for wearing a flashier robe collar than Clarence Thomas. In this collection of writings, infused with her signature wit and intellectual aplomb, Ruth Bader Ginsburg holds court on everything from gender equality to the opera. It's a fascinating peek into the mind of one of the most influential women in America.

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The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien

In this chilling memoir, Maude Julien describes the horrifying degree of physical and psychological torture she suffered at the hands of her parents, all in pursuit of raising a child who could survive anything. A fascinating study of nature vs. nurture, and the power of the human spirit to endure the unimaginable.


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