It would be tempting to suggest that International Day of the Girl is more important than ever this year. Over the last few weeks, the fight for women to be believed, to receive the respect, safety, and opportunities they deserve, at work and at home, has played out at the heart of the American political establishment. But for countless women and girls around the world, this is a familiar story. The sad, injurious events of the preceding weeks should serve as a reminder of how far we still have to go in pursuit of true, systematic equality. Women need to lift one another up in this fight, and trivial as it may seem, literature driven by strong female protagonists is a powerful way to do that.
In celebration of International Day of the Girl, I asked The Reading Agency to put together a list of 10 books with inspiring women at their core. If you haven't heard of the Agency before, together with ambassadors like Malorie Blackman, Martina Cole, Jacqueline Wilson, they help "people tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading." In the list below you'll find stories about women and girls from all walks of life, in tales that speak to the true nuance and complexity of the female experience. You'll also notice that two of the writers in the list below are men because, like strong female protagonists, male allies never go amiss either. Read on to find out what the Agency recommends and why.