Women for Women: The Literature That Guides and Empowers


College can be extremely difficult and lonely at times. It can feel like we are the only one around rooting and encouraging ourselves to go above and beyond to be successful. Time and again I have heard from several women in different programs at Kent State say they feel like they are more in competition with their fellow classmates, particularly the women in their programs, rather than helping each other be successful. As women, we should be lifting each other up and encouraging each other, not tearing each other down. Feeling this feeling of loneliness myself, I turned to the women who inspire me to gain perspective and feel supported.

Several successful women have written books to help us to find our own. Whether you want to be a nurse, teacher or buyer for a department store, books by women who are in positions of success and overcame hardships encourage us to not only stick together, but to help each other better ourselves.

Books with a Comedic Relief

Amy Poehler’s autobiography Yes Please, tells us all about her life and what lead up to where she is today. It’s extremely wise and of course, hilarious. She encourages her readers to do, say and be whoever they want to be. The best way to experience this book is on audiotape as Amy herself reads about her unique journey.

The founder of the fashion website Man Repeller Leandra Medine released a collection of essays in a book titled Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls. She covers everything from growing up with immigrant parents to the origin of the website and even awkward period moments. Leandra talks about her years in college and situations that a lot of women our age are going through, like heartbreak, staying on a budget and studying abroad. Her book is done in the most comforting and humorous way to help readers overcome challenges and come out the other side stronger.

Books to Motivate You

The term #GIRLBOSS has come to be quite a household phrase over the last year or two, all because of the CEO and founder of the popular online store NastyGal Sophia Amoruso. She titled her business book #GIRLBOSS, which was published in the spring of 2014. Using the platform she has, she came out with a book that made women stop taking no for answer. Sophia pushes readers to not stop until they get what they deserve out of life by telling her story and the lessons that she learned. Next month, the book will be adapted into a show for Netflix bringing Sophia to life for her readers.

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, released a book two years ago titled Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. A naturally more introverted person, she discovered that she was saying no to opportunities in her life, career and home and focused too much on her work. She decided it was time to step out of her comfort zone and start saying yes. Through the year, she was able to gain control of her health, become a more involved mother and laugh at herself. Shonda strives to teach her readers to do the same and that it’s okay to be who you want to be.

Books to Inspire You

In October of 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy for girls to have the right to receive an education. A year earlier, she published her book I Am Malala about her time growing up in Pakistan and fighting for her education, which was illegal under the Taliban reign her valley was under. She talks about her life before and after she was shot by the Taliban soldiers who had been watching her because of her activism. At the age of 15, Malala is inspiring millions of young women to educate themselves and appreciate their education.

Women get a bad reputation of being catty and mean to each other in professional settings; we see it all the time in the media and entertainment. Instead of seeing peers as threats, we should be helping each other succeed. With the guidance and wisdom of these empowering female authors, our generation has the power to break the stereotype.

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