We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Inspire Inclusion: International Women’s Day 2024

Inspire Inclusion International Women's Day List

Inspire Inclusion International Women's Day List

Inspire Inclusion this International Women’s Day

The theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is: Inspire Inclusion. To honour this theme, we’ve curated a list of our powerful non-fiction titles – we hope these books will inspire you to consider a new perspective and inspire inclusivity.


Where are you From, no Where are you really from?

Where are you from? No, where are you really from? Audrey Osler

A story of migration, identity and belonging, drawing on the stories of people from Audrey Osler’s mixed-heritage family, over three centuries.

Says Audrey Osler: ‘The British Empire frames and shapes my family’s history. Whether born in Britain, like me or my father, or in some other distant British territory, like my mother, we all continue to experience the legacy of this same empire and the impact of its ambitions, politics, and economics. My family story, back to the eighteenth century, across every generation, is one of migration in different directions, over four centuries, journeys prompted by war, study, a global economic crisis, a fresh start, love, and even child abduction. The stories I tell here reveal as much about Britain as they do about the countries of the British Empire. This is not just my history, it elucidates the largely untold history of a nation and of its citizens, both people of colour and white.’

Click here to listen to Audrey Osler’s episode of OurShelves. 


The Black Angels Maria Smilios

The Black Angels, Maria Smilios

New York City, 1929. A sanatorium, a deadly disease, and a dire nurse shortage.

So begins the remarkable true story of the Black nurses who helped cure tuberculosis, one of the world’s deadliest plagues, told alongside the often strange chronicle of the cure’s discovery.

Spanning the Great Depression and moving through World War II and beyond, this story follows the intrepid young women, the ‘Black Angels’, who, for twenty years, risked their lives working under dreadful conditions while caring for the city’s poorest – 1,800 souls languishing in wards, waiting to die or become ‘guinea pigs’ for experimental (often deadly) drugs. Yet despite their major role in desegregating the NYC hospital system – and vital work in the race for the cure for tuberculosis and subsequently helping to find it at Sea View – these nurses were completely erased from history. The Black Angels recovers the voices of these extraordinary women and puts them at the centre of this riveting story celebrating their legacy and spirit of survival.


The Six

The Six, Loren Grush

The remarkable true story of America’s first women astronauts.

In The Six, acclaimed journalist Loren Grush shows these brilliant and courageous women enduring claustrophobic – and sometimes deeply sexist – media attention, undergoing rigorous survival training, and preparing for years to take multi-million-dollar payloads into orbit. Together, the Six helped build the tools that made the space program run. One of the group, Judy Resnik, sacrificed her life when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded at 46,000 feet. Everyone knows of Sally Ride’s history-making first space ride, but each of the Six would make their mark.



Zarifa, Zarifa Ghafari

A moving and inspiring memoir by Afghanistan’s youngest female mayor and campaigner for human rights, as seen in Netflix’s In Her Hands documentary.

Zarifa Ghafari was two years old when the Taliban banned girls from schools. She was seven when the American airstrikes began. She was twenty-four when she became the youngest and one of the first female mayors in Maidan Shahr, Afghanistan. An extremist mob barred her from her office and assassins tried to kill her six times. Through it all, Zarifa promoted peace and tried to lift up women, despite constant fear for herself and her family.

Written with honesty, pain and, ultimately, hope, Zarifa is an astonishing memoir that offers an unparalleled perspective of the last two decades in Afghanistan from a citizen, daughter, woman and mayor.


I'm Still Here

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with racism in America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and neighbourhoods, Austin ‘had to learn what it means to love Blackness,’ a journey that led to her becoming a writer, speaker and expert helping organisations practice genuine inclusion. In this bestselling memoir, she writes beautifully and powerfully about her journey to self-worth and how we can all contribute to racial justice.

Click here to listen to Austin’s episode of OurShelves. 


Golem Girl

Golem Girl, Riva Lehrer

The vividly told, gloriously illustrated memoir of an artist born with disabilities who searches for freedom and connection in a society afraid of strange bodies.

In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. She endures endless medical procedures and is told she will never have a job, a romantic relationship or an independent life. But everything changes when as an adult Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark, and it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening or worthless, instead insisting that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Riva begins to paint their portraits – and her art begins to transform the myths she’s been told her whole life about her body, her sexuality, and other measures of normal.

Click here to listen to Riva’s episode of OurShelves.


The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul, Åsne Seierstad

For more than twenty years Sultan Khan, a bookseller in Kabul, defied the authorities – be they communist or Taliban – to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. A committed Muslim, Khan is passionate in his love of books and hatred of censorship.

Two weeks after September 11th, award-winning journalist Åsne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to report on the conflict there and the year after she lived with an Afghan family for several months. We learn of proposals and marriages, suppression and abuse of power, crime and punishment. The result is a gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear-eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history.


The Last Girl

The Last Girl, Nadia Murad

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

‘Those who thought that by their cruelty they could silence her were wrong. Nadia Murad’s spirit is not broken and her voice will not be muted’ Amal Clooney

This inspiring memoir takes us from her peaceful childhood in a remote village in Iraq through loss and brutality to safety in Germany. Courage and testimony can change the world: this is one of those books.


Good for a Girl

Good for a Girl, Lauren Fleshman

Lauren Fleshman was of the most decorated collegiate athletes of all time and a national champion as a pro, before becoming a coach for elite young female runners. Every step of the way, she has seen how our sports systems fail young women and girls as much as empower them.

Part memoir, part manifesto, Good for a Girl is Fleshman’s story of falling in love with running as a girl, battling devastating injuries and self-doubt, and daring to fight for a better way for female athletes.


A Stone is Most Previous Where it Belongs

A Stone is Most Precious Where it Belongs, Gulchehra Hoja

A powerful and urgent memoir by Uyghur activist Gulchehra Hoja – a remarkable woman who went from being a beloved star on Chinese children’s TV to a journalist whose reporting on the oppression of her people led to her entire extended family being imprisoned.

Filled with the beauty of East Turkestan and its people, A Stone is Most Precious Where it Belongs is the story of a woman who has been willing to risk her own life to expose the truth.


A Woman of No Importance

A Women of No Importance, Sonia Purnell

An astounding story of heroism, spycraft, resistance and personal triumph over shocking adversity.

In September 1941, a young American woman strides up the steps of a hotel in Lyon, Vichy France. Her papers say she is a journalist. Her wooden leg is disguised by a determined gait and a distracting beauty. She is there to spark the resistance.

By 1942 Virginia Hall was the Gestapo’s most urgent target, having infiltrated Vichy command, trained civilians in guerrilla warfare and sprung soldiers from Nazi prison camps. The first woman to go undercover for British SOE, her intelligence changed the course of the war – but her fight was still not over.

This is a spy history like no other, telling the story of the hunting accident that disabled her, the discrimination she fought and the secret life that helped her triumph over shocking adversity.


A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table, Amy Raphael


Writer and critic Amy Raphael has interviewed some of the world’s most iconic musicians, including Courtney Love, Patti Smith, Björk, Kurt Cobain and Elton John. In 1995 she wrote the critically-acclaimed Never Mind the Bollocks: Women Rewrite Rock, which included a foreword by Debbie Harry.

More than two decades on, the music business has changed, but the way women are regarded has not. In this new book, A Seat at the Table, Raphael interviews eighteen women who work in the music industry about learning to speak out, #MeToo, social media, queer politics and the subtleness of everyday misogyny.


Easy Beauty

Easy Beauty, Chloé Cooper Jones

Born with sacral agenesis, a visible congenital disability that affects her stature and gait, Chloé Cooper Jones had always found solace in what she thought of as ‘the neutral room’ – a dissociative space in her mind that offered her solace and self-protection, but also kept her isolated.

When she became pregnant (disproving her doctor, who had assumed it impossible), something necessary in her started to crack, forcing her to reckon with her defensive positionality to the world and the people in it. This prompted an odyssey across time and space as Chloé – while at museums, operas, concerts and sporting events, and in the presence of awe-inspiring nature – reconsidered the consciousness-shifting power of beauty.

Click here to listen to Chloé’s episode of OurShelves.


Before the Light Fades

Before the Light Fades, Natasha Walter

Honest about loss, this memoir also searches for what is valuable in the legacy of a family who lived through some of the great crises of the twentieth century. Without false hope, and with honest passion, Natasha Walter shows us why, even when success is far from assured, it is always important to stand up for what you believe.

Click here to listen to Natasha’s episode of OurShelves.