Power of Women's Stories: Must-Read Memoirs and Biographies

Women have impacted our lives through the power of their stories. They have brought their pain, their struggles, and their triumphs to life on the pages of our favorite books, and through their words, we can share their journeys and, at the same time, reflect on our own.

From Ruth Bader Ginsburg's books on gender equality to Malala Yousafzai's admirable fight for education, women continuously make positive contributions to society as a whole. And we can’t think of a better way to learn about their stories than through the magic of memoirs and biographies. Here are some of our favorites.

becoming michelle obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Who doesn’t want to hear from a former First Lady? And Becoming by Michelle Obama is definitely worth reading. Her journey from growing up on the South Side of Chicago to becoming a lawyer, a mother, and eventually the First Lady of the United States is filled with personal recollections on how she dealt with racism, sexism, and motherhood.

But what really strikes us is how human she is and how many of the challenges she faced are ones we can all identify with. She continues to advocate for all of the meaningful causes she believes in and is a testament to the power of hard work and perseverance. Michelle is one woman who has not been afraid to use her voice to make a difference.

best womens memoirs

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover provides a window into her world of growing up in both a strict and abusive home in rural Idaho. Through sheer grit and determination and despite a complete lack of formal education, she managed to teach herself enough to be able to be admitted to Brigham Young University. And later, she impressively went on to study at Cambridge University. The power of a resilient spirit and education are always a formidable combination. 

best memoirs

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

We tend to forget the contribution women made during the Space Race. In the book Hidden Figures, we hear the story of the African American women who worked as mathematicians and engineers for NASA. These brave women faced both racism and sexism on all fronts, and their contributions to the world of science and technology are often overlooked. These contributions included calculating the trajectory of  John Glenn’s historic orbit around the earth, and who knows, without them, he may not have made it home safely. 

best memoirs

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

This book is a stark reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of standing up for what is right, no matter the consequences or danger you may face. The Hiding Place is the story of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who helped hide Jewish refugees during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Despite the fact that both she and her family were eventually captured and sent to a concentration camp, she continued to share her faith and comfort those around her. She never let her circumstances dictate who she was.

best memoirs

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, and her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a masterpiece. In this inspirational book, she shares her deeply personal experiences and what it was like growing up in the South during the Jim Crow era. 

Despite the many challenges Maya has faced, including racism, sexism, and poverty, she has used her writing to inspire and empower people around the world. Maya became the voice for the African American community and is a symbol of hope for all who read her works.

best memoirs

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi is an incredibly brave woman, and in her book In Order to Live, she recounts her painful escape from North Korea in 2007 at the age of 13. It took two years before she found herself in the safety of South Korea, and the harrowing journey took her into the midst of the dark side of humanity. Her escape was not easy, and she and her mother faced many challenges, including being sold into slave marriages. 

At first, she tried to hide her pain, shame, and embarrassment, but she realized that to be able to free herself, she had to confront her past. Yeonmi had also hoped that going public with her story would help her find her sister, who had disappeared after escaping to China, and finally, she hoped her story would inspire others which it has successfully done on so many levels.

author rebecca skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the unbelievable story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge or consent for scientific research. Her cells have been crucial when it comes to the advancement of medical research, but her story raises important questions about the ethics of using human tissue and the importance of informed consent.

This captivating book looks into the repercussions of Henrietta’s unwitting contribution to science while also looking at broader issues like the disparities in healthcare from a racial and economic perspective.

Malala Yousafza

Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafza

Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Changed the World is the memoir of Malala Yousafzai. The name Malala is synonymous with education for girls. This inspiring book looks at her life as a young girl in Pakistan and her activism around girls' education, which led to an assassination attempt on her life by the Taliban. Her story is truly a testament to her indomitable spirit, resilience, and unwavering belief in standing up for what is right despite the dire consequences.

These memoirs and biographies are just a few examples of the powerful and inspiring stories of women throughout history. They remind us of the struggles and achievements of those who came before us and inspire us to continue the fight for gender equality and social justice. By reading and sharing these stories, we can learn from the experiences of others and gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity and richness of the human experience.

On a final note

These are just a few of the many powerful and inspiring stories of women from around the world. The power of women’s stories will continue to inspire us for generations to come as we learn that few obstacles in life can defeat our fighting spirit and that life is all down to our outlook.

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