"It made me feel sick and angry." 22 women on the feminist book that changed their life.

Every now and again a book comes into your life that just sticks with you. 

It wraps itself around your thoughts, lights a fire in your belly and changes the way you see the world. 

For many women, this is the feeling we get when we read a book about feminism. 

Watch: The two different types of bookmark people. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

From stories of triumph to devastation, these are the books that inspire us, enrage us and change us. 

In celebration of International Women's Day on Monday, we decided to ask 22 women to share the most powerful books about feminism that impacted their lives. 

From Fight Like A Girl to The Handmaid's Tale, here are the best feminist books to add to your reading pile.

King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes.

"It's the best feminist book I have ever read. It is an incredibly powerful essay about gender and the place of women in society, on sex work and sexual assault. You find yourself nodding along a lot and you also get to see things in a new light and challenge your thinking. I have pretty much highlighted every paragraph of that book." - Emilie.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

"Weirdly, out of the whole book, the conversation between June and her husband when Gilead moves all women's money into their husband's name hit me like a freight train. The husband was all lovely and comforting and saying that he obviously wouldn't do anything dodgy with it but I was screaming while reading it, 'THAT'S NOT THE BLOODY POINT MATE!'" - Katie.

Image: Penguin Random House UK. 


The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

"It's a beautifully written short novel. It provides such a bone chilling view into the treatment of women with postpartum depression in the 19th century. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote it in 1892, and her frustration around the view and treatment of women's bodies is palpable, and truly makes you want to continue the fight for equality." - Maddie.

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong.

"Back in high school, this was the first book I'd ever read that detailed a woman's sexual exploits, and showed her actively seeking passionate experiences to fulfil her own desires. It was published in the early 70s and is every bit as relevant all these decades on!" - Tamara. 

Image: Penguin Classics. 

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.

"It told me a lot about what a woman needs to be a serious artist or professional when the odds may be stacked against her from the start. We've come a long way, but the insights and the prose ring so true." - Jacqui.


Fight Like A Girl and Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford.

"As a feminist raising two boys, these books gave me such insight." - Emily

"Clem's book [Boys Will Be Boys] hit me hard. It made me feel sick and angry, right to my core. It reminded me about Australian women like Eurydice Dixon and the other obscene attacks on women on social media. There was just so much in it!" - Kelstar.

Image: Allen & Unwin. 

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe.

"It's so funny and also a bit of a science lesson on why humans are they way we are. Like why is looking after a human baby a job that takes at least two people, when a giraffe can get up and walk around on the first day it's born... because the human brain has evolved to grow so BIG, all human babies are technically born premature (maybe all parents know that but it was news to me!)" - Emma.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

"A poignant story from a young girl's point of view, understanding how words associated with women, were not considered by lexicographers when creating the dictionary." - Annette.

Image: Affirm. 


How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

"How to Be a Woman (and all subsequent titles). With self-deprecating humour and total wit, these books point out exactly where society is flawed and what we can do to meet it or beat it on an individual level. A big fan of ‘Are the men doing it?'" - Fiona. 

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

"A personal essay adapted from Chimamanda's viral TEDx talk that was also sampled by Beyoncé. This book should be required reading. It's short but holds so much power about what it means to be a feminist, the misunderstanding and stigma associated with the word and why we need feminism in today's society." - Kee.

Image: Anchor Books. 

Vox by Christina Dalcher.

"A dystopian future novel where females’ words are limited by a bracelet that shocks them when exceeded." - Janet.


To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite.

"53 years ago I read To Sir, With Love. It was an eye opener to me growing up in a middle class white neighbourhood." - Robyn.

The Women’s Room by Marilyn French.

"The Women’s Room by Marilyn French is EPIC. It’s set in 1950s America in the suburbs and centres around a young married woman named Mira who has a feminist awakening shortly after having two kids and realising that the domestic life was not all that great after all. It was written in the 1970s but I read it in the mid 2000s as a young married woman I found it so relevant. I should say I’m still happily married but it just made me realise that women have been struggling with the same issues for too long and that once married with kids it can be hard, very hard for women to remain true to themselves. The plot, themes and characters remind me of Mad Men so if you like that, this is even better!" - Laura. 

Image: Little Brown 

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

"It's my favourite book, I can’t believe it’s not better known. It's nonfiction and about different situations around the world where women and girls are disadvantaged." - Michelle.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez.

"It made me realise how much of the world is designed by and made for men by men and women are consistently ignored and deliberately left out of decision making and even just consideration. It made me so mad I couldn't read it before I went to sleep like I do with most books as my heart rate and blood pressure would increase!" - Caroline.

Image: Penguin Random House UK. 


Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

"There was a section on unmarried women, she calls us the 'Aunt Brigade' and what that section of society has done for the community throughout history. Women have always been more than wives and mothers." - Lucinda.

Sun Tzu's Art of War for Women by Catherine Huang and A.D. Rosenberg.

"I wish I'd read this book before I started to work in an office. It's all about how to win without conflict and find confidence in yourself. It makes you look at your actions and really stop and think." - Deseri.

Image: Berkeley Books. 


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.

"It was incredibly enlightening for me when I finished uni and was about to embark on my career journey." - Karagh.

Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis.

"A history of feminism in 11 fights which shows why we need to be less nice to make progress!" - Louise.

Image: Penguin Random House UK. 

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris.

"What women endure ON TOP of being in concentration camps to survive. An example of rape as a device of war and the projected shame attached with what it takes to survive." - Susannah.

A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin.

"A fantastic read and an excellent reminder of why every woman should work hard to retain her independence and follow her own path. There are also plenty of great reading suggestions contained within." - Lisa.

What book about feminism changed your life? Let us know in the comments below. 

At Mamamia, every day is International Women’s Day. We fund the education of 150 girls in school every single day with our charity partner  Room to Read, and our goal is to increase that number to 1,000. To help support girls’ education in developing countries, you can donate to Room to Read and contribute to a brighter future. 

Feature Image: Berkeley Books/Penguin Classics/Penguin Random House UK/Anchor Books/Allen & Unwin.