To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, we’ve searched the best audiobook services to find literature that pushes towards equality, and challenges gender bias, in fitting with this year’s theme: #ChooseToChallenge. Listening to female-written and female-centered books is a great way to get involved with celebrations this March 8.
Sites like audible.com and audiobooks.com not only have great selections of women-focused books but also feature excellent podcasts like The Guilty Feminist. Both sites have free trial periods, so you can test-run the service before you sign up and choose which one is right for you. Celebrate International Women’s Day this March 8 with an audiobook, and educate yourself on women’s history, struggle, liberation, and joy.
1. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adapted from her eloquent TEDx Talk of the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 60-page manifesto on 21st-century feminism is an instructive and inclusive audiobook. Sparked with humor and stories from her native Nigeria and the U.S, Adichie brings the energy of her bestselling novels Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah to this essay on what it means to be a feminist. Adichie makes a rousing case for what it means to be angry at the ‘grave injustices’ that women still face everywhere.
2. Becoming - Michelle Obama
As the first African American to serve as First Lady, Michelle Obama made it her mission to make the White House a more inclusive place. Becoming is a memoir in which Obama recounts her early life and the experiences that inspired her to never stop championing opportunities for women. The book is divided into three sections, as the former First Lady recounts ‘Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More’ in her and her husband’s journey to the highest office in the country. Becoming is an uplifting and personal account of one of the most powerful women in the world.
- Listen to Becoming on Audible.
3. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, is an exploration of femininity at the intersection of the black experience, beauty standards, and poverty. Pecola, the 11-year-old protagonist, dreams of having blue eyes, a marker of white American standards of perfection. The Bluest Eye is an essential read for deconstructing the illusions of beauty and how they still undercut racism today. Morrison went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and is best known for her novel Beloved.
- Listen to The Bluest Eye on Audible
4. A Room of One’s Own - Virginia Woolf
This essay, delivered by Woolf at Cambridge University in 1928, is still as relevant today as it was almost 100 years ago. Woolf dreamed of imagined and literal creative spaces for women where they would no longer be sidestepped by the patriarchy and uses enchanting metaphors and voices to make her point. Woolf recounts history and fiction in this essay to show how the male constructions of literature have historically left women outside of the frame and unable to contribute. Rather than being inferior writers, Woolf argues, women have never been allowed the material or social tools to create art for themselves.
5. Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent - Katherine Angel
The #MeToo movement has shaped most of the contemporary conversation about feminism. From Hollywood to workplaces, discussions on consent have attempted to rewrite sexual guidelines for the modern age. Katherine Angel’s book takes an academic stance on the history of female desire and its relation to power and violence. A must-listen for understanding feminism in the current moment.
6. Women, Race and Class - Angela Davis
Women, Race, and Class dives into the history of the abolitionist and women's suffrage movements, with a view to demonstrating how feminist movements have previously fallen short on their inclusion of women from marginalized backgrounds. Though it was written in 1981, Davis’ book still resounds with ongoing efforts to make feminism more intersectional, as, in order to liberate all women from oppression, there must be a recognition of stark historical mistreatment.
- Listen to Women, Race and Class on Audible
7. It’s About Bloody Time, Period. - Emma Barnett
In this audiobook, Emma Barnett tackles one of the most societally taboo topics and a process that’s an everyday part of many women’s lives. The course of this book attempts to unravel the stigma and shame surrounding feminine health and has a great title to match.
- Listen to It’s About Bloody Time, Period on Audible
8. Circe - Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller takes on Greek mythology in her retelling of the story of Circe. Get lost in this astounding story of women’s fight to be free, as Miller retells some of the most ancient stories of our society. By painting complex psychological portraits of traditional Greek heroes such as Odysseus and Achilles, Miller uncovers the humanity behind the myths and the solitary life of a goddess as she grapples with motherhood.
9. Invisible Women - Caroline Criado Perez
Caroline Criado Perez’s account of gender bias and the gender data gap is factually astounding. Using swathes of data to make her arguments, Perez uncovers how gender bias has shaped the world we live in; from the size of our phones to the drugs we’re prescribed.
10. The Sun and Her Flowers - Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur is a poet known for her musings on feminism, self-love, conformity, and validation. The Sun and Her Flowers touches on all those themes and more and is an excellent, short listen with language that truly reflects the trappings of femininity.
- Listen to The Sun and Her Flowers on Scribd