'200 Women' Is The Coffee Table Book That Will Inform Your Activism In The Days Ahead

Courtesy of Chronicle Books and Kieran Scott

A new photography book aims a spotlight on the most inspiring, active, and intelligent women in the world. Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday's 200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World contains insightful interviews with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane Goodall, Alfre Woodard, and 197 other great women, presented alongside stunning portraits from photographer Kieran E. Scott. Bustle has a peek inside 200 Women, so keep reading to check out a small sampling of what it has to offer.

At a time when women's rights are under constant attack from politicians around the world, we need books like 200 Women to remind us how far we have come, and to inspire us to tighten up our activism and be better allies. Included among the book's ranks are the founders of some of the most successful and prominent social-justice movements of our time, including Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, and National Farm Workers Association founder Dolores Huerta.

Now, as you've probably guessed, 200 Women is a highly political book. If you aren't a political person, first of all, what do you stall for? Right now, the rights of women, people of color, children, people with disabilities, LGBTQIAP+ individuals, immigrants, Muslims, the poor, and pretty much every other disadvantaged or marginalized group imaginable are under attack in the U.S. Unless you're a U.S.-born, documented, rich, white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, Christian man, that includes you. Even if you aren't personally affected by what's happening, members of your family and social circle are almost certainly affected by this assault on our rights. If nothing that has happened over the last two years has spurred you toward activism, consider this the splash in your face: Wake up. Hit the streets. Resist.

200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World edited by Geoff Blackwell, Ruth Hobday and photographed by Kieran Scott, $37, Amazon

Believe me when I say that the people profiled in 200 Women will be the names that go down in our daughters' history books, both for their activist efforts and for the wisdom they have imparted upon the world.

200 Women is already on store shelves. If you're on the fence about whether or not to buy it for yourself and others this holiday season, keep scrolling to check out the excerpts Bustle has received from publisher Chronicle Books. Below you'll find meaningful quotes from seven of your favorite authors and actresses, including Roxane Gay and Danielle Brooks. Read them, and check out the rest of their amazing sisters in 200 Women, available now at your favorite bookstore.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Courtesy of Chronicle Books and Kieran Scott

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of Purple Hibiscus, We Should All Be Feminists, and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I can’t pick just one thing; I would eliminate all forms of gender, racial and religious injustice. The issues are their own, independent issues, but they cannot be analysed in isolation from one another. It’s very complex and is always a work in progress for me — the issues are connected and they are not, but, however strong their connection to one another is, they’ve got to go!

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Human.

Isabel Allende

Courtesy of Chronicle Books and Kieran Scott

Isabel Allende is the author of The House of the Spirits, Daughter of Fortune, and The Japanese Lover.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I would change the patriarchy — end it! All my life, I have worked towards a more egalitarian world, one in which both men and women are managing our global society — a place in which feminine values are as important as masculine values.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Generosity. Years ago, my therapist said that I had very low self-esteem. He told me to go to ten people and ask them to write five things about me — whatever they wanted. It was a very difficult thing to request from people; it seemed like an exercise in vanity and narcissism, but I did it. Everybody mentioned generosity as my first trait, so maybe there is something true in that.

The mantra of my foundation is, ‘What is the most generous thing to do?’ This is because of my daughter. She was a very special person and a psychologist. Whenever I was going through something trying, she would ask me what the most generous action I could take was. She used to say, ‘You only have what you give.’

Margaret Atwood

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Margaret Atwood is the author of The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, and The Robber Bride.

Q. What would you change if you could?

The most important thing right now for us as a species is that we must avoid killing the oceans. If we kill the oceans, our oxygen supply will plummet. The blue-green algae and marine algae make approximately 60 per cent of the oxygen that we breathe; were the oceans to die, the oxygen supply would become a lot more skimpy. A great number of people would die, and the rest would become very stupid. Our brains would be functioning at about the level of somebody on the top of Mount Everest. How well are people unable to breathe enough oxygen to function going to get on at that point? Yet, we have advanced technology, so the thought of allowing the oceans to die is terrible.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would let the oceans be de-acidified. And I would let all the plastic be taken out of them. Plastic is a hard issue to get around, especially when you think of how many things in our lives are now dependent on plastic parts, including our phones, our computers, a lot of the parts of our cars and the things in our homes. We really need to find a solution to what happens to those plastics long term.

I am annoyingly chipper, but that doesn’t mean there is ground for hope. I think that most people have hope built into them, because a species without hope built into it wouldn’t last very long. So, we keep hoping for the next breakthrough, which keeps people working at the next breakthrough — if we didn’t hope, we wouldn’t do it.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

And. It means there is.

Danielle Brooks

Courtesy of Chronicle Books and Kieran Scott

Best known for portraying Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson on the Netflix Original Series Orange Is the New Black, Danielle Brooks was nominated for a 2016 Tony Award for her role as Sofia in the Broadway production of The Color Purple.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I would change how we view money; greed is a powerful demon and it runs the world. I think the way we view money is ugly.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Manifestation. We have the power to manifest whatever we want, if we believe.

Angela Davis

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Angela Davis is the author of Women, Race & Class, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I would end capitalism. Wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of the few, rather, it should be social wealth; and education has become commoditised, to the point that the cost of so many institutions — even public ones — is prohibitive.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Justice. Justice for all, that is indivisible.

Roxane Gay

Courtesy of Chronicle Books and Kieran Scott

Roxane Gay is the author of An Untamed State, Difficult Women, and Hunger: A Memoir of My Body.

Q. What would you change if you could?

Absolutely no doubt in my mind on this answer: a year of male silence. No speaking from men for a year: ‘Shush! No more talking. It’s okay; just look pretty.’ That would be so good. I think it would be wonderful to just let women run things for a year; I don’t know if we would do any better, but let’s try it! We’ve tried everything else and, at the very least, it would go a long way. It would be so grand!

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Fuck. It can be used in so many ways. I’m sure there are fancier options, but that’s not me. I love it because I identify with it on so many levels. And I love how it starts out soft and ends hard.

Ashley Judd

Courtesy of Chronicle Books and Kieran Scott

Ashley Judd is an actress and activist, best known for her roles in Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, and Divergent.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I would change the prevailing global culture of sexual exploitation and sexual entitlement.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Crusader. The first time I was sexually abused and told some adults what had happened, they told me that I’d misinterpreted what he’d done and that he was a nice man. Boom! A crusader was born.

200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World by Geoff Blackwell, Ruth Hobday and photographed by Kieran Scott, $37, Amazon

From 200 Women by photographer Kieran Scott, edited by Ruth Hobday and Geoff Blackwell (Chronicle Books, 2017).