Emma Loves: Strong Women Reads for International Women's Day

This International Women's Day we will be supporting Women for Women International. £5 for every Change Our World 1/2 Pint Mug sold this month will go to Women for Women International and their worthwhile cause. Find out more here.

International Women’s Day is on the 8th of March with a call to forge equality and continue the daisy chain of sisterhood to all the women in your life.

In celebration of this day, Emma shares a selection of her favourite strong women reads below...

I hope my top five Strong Women Reads might resonate or inspire you on International Women’s Day. Here goes:-

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason- because I finished it (in tears!) early this morning and it’s marvellous. Smart and funny- and fearlessly brave on the subject of mental illness and the havoc of misery it wreaks on everyone involved: the protagonist Martha is a heroine - with, praise the Lord, a fabulous wit and a great sense of humour- she will be winning hearts for generations to come, I promise.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen- because I read Jane Austen’s novels on rotation for the sharp and fizzy effect she always has on my intellect and my heart. Mansfield Park is especially worth rereading in the current climate of historical angst and confusion about our colonial past.

Old Filth by Jane Gardam- who I’ve only recently discovered; she has a unique, odd voice, and her subject matter is the hushed up backstory of the Empire- and its legacy of emotional damage and the complex stresses placed upon colonial families. She writes unusual and gripping characters. Try her.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker- this is the Trojan Wars as experienced by the women attached to the warriors. This retelling of the ancient story is beautiful in its own right but also can be seen as a liberating, revelatory - and shocking - way to explore the war stories of our modern world.

Big Magic by Liz Gilbert- 100x better than therapy, Liz Gilbert is a best friend available in your handbag, for huge fun and wisdom on demand. Pure generosity and inspiration.

I was asked for five, and I feel all itchy about the crowds of women I spend half my life reading and haven’t chosen - no Willa Cather (My Antonia!!) or Penelope Fitzgerald for all her books, but The Blue Flower is a modest gem of great price!

Failure to include Miriam Toews, Louisa M Alcott (she herself wrote novels to keep her whole family afloat), Sally Rooney, Anne Patchett, Dodie Smith, Harper Lee…and basically 100 more names- I feel as if I am committing awful crimes against the sisterhood- but here’s a pretty fine short list anyway! Happy Reading!