5 Powerful Memoirs Written by Women to Read for International Women’s Day 2022

Michelle Obama

International Women’s Day 2022 offers us a dedicated time to celebrate the success and resilience of women while campaigning for gender equality and justice — as reflected in this year’s theme. 

There are many ways to support the movement, from signing petitions, participating in the hashtag #BreakTheBias on social media, supporting women-owned and led businesses, donating to a woman-centric charity or organisation or even campaigning for more equitable practices in your workplace.

Another easy way to support International Women’s Day is to read up on inspiring women who have paved the way for others. Here are five powerful places to start. 

Becoming, Michelle Obama 

Before she was the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Robinson was a teen in Southside Chicago, who felt a gravitational pull toward the importance of community and helping those within them. So, perhaps it was fate that the brilliant young lawyer and the future president of the United States ended up working at the same law firm and falling madly in love.

Their shared passion for giving back, making the world a more just place and for each other has made them one of the most relatable and inspiring couples in history. In Becoming, Obama invites us to join her on a journey of self-discovery and finding one’s purpose along with the frustrations and jubilations of life in the White House. Much like her husband’s presidential term, you will not want this book to end. 

Yes Please!, Amy Poehler 

Amy Poehler is many things — an improviser, executive producer, comedian, movie star, production company owner, mother, divorcee and author. She is also a fierce feminist who has one hell of a story to tell and she is neither afraid of nor apologetic about telling it.

From a young woman in Boston to a struggling improviser in Chicago to a world-renowned performer on Saturday Night Live in New York, Poehler shares her story of comedy, ambition and the double standards women face in her trademark take-no-prisoners way.

As the Parks and Recreation star says: “Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying ‘please’ doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.”

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors with Asha Bandele

If you, like millions around the world were called to action after witnessing the death of American man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, then you will likely be wanting to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement, how it came to be and why it is crucially important for its work to continue.

Started by Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013, after the murderer of Black youth Trayvon Martin was acquitted of the crime, the Black Lives Matter movement has since become a global network that works to provide education on the deeply ingrained issue of racial inequality, legal resources for members of the Black community and organizational tools for protesters who want to mobilise to fight for effective legislative change.

Cullors describes in poetic detail her own story as well as the devastating consequences that galvanized her to form the hashtag that gained even deeper meaning and recognition in 2020. 

Redefining Realness My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, Janet Mock 

Mock is a powerful voice in the transgender community and a brilliant writer to boot. She has lent her expertise to the acclaimed FX series Pose as a writer, director, and producer on the show, and is the first trans woman of colour hired as a writer for a TV series in history. If that impressive resume isn’t enough to inspire you to read her captivating memoir, her story of growing up multiracial, poor, and trans in America should do the trick. Mock writes not only for herself but for all of the transgender community who have felt marginalised and misunderstood. 

The Hate Race, Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke’s memoir of growing up black in a white, middle-class Australian suburb in the 1980s and 1990s gives readers an insight into the issues of racial inequality our country probably doesn’t want you to know we have.

describes a childhood unremarkable in every way, except for the colour of her skin which leaves her vulnerable to a devastating amount of casual racism, obvious discrimination and constant bullying.

A grim examination of our cultural consciousness and yet a joyous recollection of happy childhood memories, The Hate Race is essential reading for any Aussie who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the racial issues we have yet to rectify in our own backyard. 

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.