Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration of women’s achievements that goes back over 100 years to 1909.
Highlighting the frequently overlooked triumphs of women in all walks of life, it’s a great time to share stories of inspiring women you might know and discover some you might not.
I thought I’d share three books by women that have had a big impact on me over the last few years.
Caroline Criado Perez
Pictured at the top, Caroline’s book “Invisible Women” was published in 2019. It’s mind-boggling. Caroline looks at how the data used to make decisions about everything from public transport to car seatbelts is all biased towards men.
As a result, daily life is more difficult and potentially more dangerous for women. Seatbelts aren’t the right shape for a woman’s body. Public transport systems run in and out of cities – to suit business workers. This often doesn’t suit women, whose higher tendency to work in care roles – or be unpaid carers for relatives – means they’re more likely to be visiting other suburbs or other residential districts.
The medical chapter was a real eye-opener, with some drugs not working on women at all. Or, worse, having a negative effect. A result often not anticipated, as trials may not have included women at all.
Reni’s powerful book, “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race” is so important. Born out of her frustration, Reni looks at the everyday bias against people of colour. The striking title is because of her problem getting folk to see the bias in a system that largely benefits them.
Reni opens your mind to how embedded bias can be. And how it’ll be unlikely to change until proper, equal representation is sorted out at all levels.
Susan’s 2012 book “Quiet” is all about the under-estimated power of introverts. As an introvert myself, I was keen to hear what she had to say, in a world that seems to prize “loud”, “forthright” and “charismatic” above those who listen and think before speaking or acting.
Susan finds scientific evidence that introverts have at least as much to add as extroverts. And that it’s useful to have a balance of the two in the world. And, furthermore, that introverts can make excellent leaders!
A must-read for anyone who falls into the introvert camp.
Meet some of the inspiring women (and men) behind our “Friend” fiction.
You can subscribe to “The People’s Friend” here, and you’ll never miss any of our upcoming features on inspiring women.