Often in the new year people want to change something. Maybe it’s a big lifestyle change or small monthly goals you want to accomplish. I personally want to become more educated on issues and current events that are happening in this world and make a serious commitment to help make a positive difference.
Maybe you attended a Women’s March in January or are looking forward to an event being held on International Women’s Day coming up March 8th. Even if you are not someone politically active or interested in policies and the government, I’m sure you want to try and support amazing people. You may not be in a position to spend lots of money or time, but there are many other ways for you to stay aware, to empower other women and to help local community organizations and entrepreneurs. Change is sparked from the ground up, if as a society we show that there is a change to be made, our elected officials will follow with their papers and policies. Women’s rights issues do not magically disappear just because someone new is elected into office.
I have compiled a list of some ways in which you can continue to educate yourself on the struggles of others and empower others in your life, whether that means liking their FaceBook business page, sharing their blog post about empowerment, mental health, photography, anything really; if it speaks to you and empowers you and teaches you something share it with others. I have a book list (because I always like to feature a book list) and links to some blogs/websites my friends operate to lift a community, share their experiences and promote their businesses.
Blogs and Businesses
Denise Busko is a local Canadian artist that is incredibly talented! Be sure to check out her artwork through her FaceBook Page
Kaitlyn Linnemoller is a blogger and amazing photographer! She is currently living in Vietnam so be sure to check out her work.
Katrina Kryza is a blogger from Kingston, Ontario. Her blog shares how people in communities empower each other and help their local community grow. Her challenge this year is to do one new thing a week that empowers herself, her community and the world.
Yes I have two books to recommend by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because she is just that awesome! Both of these books focus on how to stay empowered as a woman, how to look at ‘traditional societal norms’ and question them. They are full of inspirational quotes and affirmations and will give you that boost of confidence and make you think, ‘yes actually I am a feminist and proud of it’! It is also really great to read a book about feminism from a non-white and a non-western perspective. Adichie is from Nigeria and often refers to her own culture and upbringing when discussing feminism.
Poetry and Essays
Rupi Kaur became a household name overnight, or so it seems, and rightfully so as she rights amazing poetry. Even if you are not a poetry person (like myself) you will find a connection to the words she writes. They capture every emotion you have ever felt and touch on experiences that some women go through in their lives.
Roxane Gay wrote a wonderful book of essays highlighting feminism in such a relatable way. What kind of feminist am I? Is there a difference? What exactly is intersectionality? All covered in this book and through a unique perspective of a women of colour from an Haitian immigrant family.
It is so important to learn about women all around the world and the struggles they go through in order to really make a difference and help change the world. Katherine Zoepf has lived in the Arab world for more than a decade and has captured the way lives for women living in these countries have changed rapidly over the past few years. She writes about how these women are changing their communities and their countries from protesting in the streets to being the first woman in their family to have a job outside of the home.
‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’ by Azar Nafisi is one of my all time favourite books. I have read this book so many times and each time I learn something new. During and after the Iranian Revolution Nafisi, a former literature professor at the University of Tehran, runs a secret book club/literature class for her most loyal students. They discuss books that have been banned by the Iranian government and meet in secret to discuss authors from Austen to Nobakov. This book shows the determination of one woman in her quest to make sure other woman are educated and get to pursue their passions no matter how strict the society is.
Lisa J. Shannon’s life changed one afternoon while watching Oprah (I feel like we can all relate to this). She was viewing a segment on the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and instantly felt the passion fire up inside her. She immediately reached out to help an organization called Women for Women International that helps women in conflict areas get an education, learn about their rights and develop a skill used to earn an income for their families. This book is about her journey to helping the women of the DRC and her experience in the country itself.
A book I’m sure many of you have read but I still wanted to include it because it is such an important book to read. Malala Yousafzai has become a spokesperson and activist for women and girls around the world, especially when it comes to their education. This book is about Malala’s journey and how she will never stop fighting for education and girls around the world. Truly inspiring.
I have lots of other book recommendations, many of which are written by women about women and feature a woman in the world who is doing amazing things. You can find more books on the Conversation Bookshelf.