Reading, whether for pleasure or education, can help us make sense of the world around us. Books can provide people with a better understanding of the experiences of marginalized groups and develop empathy instead of discrimination.

Women and men around the world continue to lack equal opportunities to access education, health care, and well-being. Women’s issues still aren’t made a priority in many countries worldwide, and the need to accelerate progress toward achieving gender equality is becoming more pressing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At this rate, it will take 135 years to close the gender gap.

Global Citizen asked activists from around the world who are fighting against gender inequality, period poverty, gender-based violence, and more which books they recommend to help Global Citizens understand why we must continue to advocate for gender equality. They suggested a range of texts that touch on everything from sexual and reproductive health issues to equality and empowerment.

  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
    Recommended by Mariya Taher, co-founder of the anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) organization Saihyo, and Trisha Shetty, founder of gender equality NGO SheSays India
  • The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution by Jonathan Eig
    Recommended by Nadya Okamoto, founder of period care company August
  • Sexual Politics by Kate Millett 
    Recommended by Finn Mackay, author of the forthcoming book Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars: The Politics of Sex
  • The Color Purple and 5. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
    Recommended by Anne-Marie Wilson, founder and executive director of the anti-FGM organization 28 Too Many and author of Overcoming: My Fight Against FGM
  •  Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
    Recommended by Diana Sinclair, co-founder of HerStoryDao, an arts foundation for Black women and non-binary Femmes
  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
    Recommended by Shomy Hasan Chowdhury, co-founder of global, youth-led organization Awareness 360

Read the full article about gender equity books by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.