5 Biographies About Strong Women That You Need to Read


Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we…read them?

Sometimes the best way to remember how strong women are is by reading about strong women of the past. Throughout history, women have struggled, suffered, succeeded, and changed the world and taking the time to learn about their lives can help us do the same. Check out these five books and find out just how powerful women can be.

Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, by Claire Harman

Made famous by her classic novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë lived a life just as tumultuous as that of her most recognizable heroine. Harman’s book dives into Brontë’s life and tells about her experiences with loss and heartbreak, including her time as a student at boarding school, as a teacher at an all girls’ school, and as an unrequited lover in a one-sided romance with the husband of the school’s headmistress–sound familiar?

But rather than painting Brontë as a tragic figure, Harman transforms her into a passionate woman who lived, loved, and wrote deeply.

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo, by Hayden Herrera

Frida Kahlo is a feminist icon known for defying gender stereotypes of her time, being openly bisexual, and depicting real women and real female experiences in her art. Herrera’s novel, which was adapted into the movie Frida in 2002 and starred Salma Hayek, gives us a glimpse into the life of the woman who “selfied” long before the Kardashians.

Marilyn: Norma Jean, by Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem’s biography gives us a look at Marilyn Monroe like we’ve never seen her before.  Rather than defining her based on her sexual and pop culture identity, Steinem shows us a woman abandoned as a child who tried desperately to fill that emptiness as an adult. Based on her last interview and information from her unfinished autobiography, Steinem shows us that there is always more to a woman than what meets the eye.

Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff

Stacy Schiff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, brings to life one of the most powerful and famous women in all of known history: Cleopatra. Schiff strips away the mythical Cleopatra that has been created by endless films and modern adaptations of her life and ends up giving us a figure more awe-inspiring than any that Hollywood could dream up. We are shown Cleopatra’s glittering life as a goddess on earth, but we also get an insight into the “shrewd strategist and ingenious negotiator” that made her a force to be reckoned with.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

“Notorious RBG” has a cult following the likes of which we have never seen in a modern politician. This book by Carmon and Knizhnik gives us the woman behind the political legend.  Filled with illustrations and photographs, this biography takes us through Ginsburg’s life as a law student, wife, mother, professor, and Supreme Court Justice. In just under 230 pages, we see the huge impact RBG has made on the United States, both as a trailblazing young female professional and as a case-deciding Justice.

Our Writers

Meghan is a senior at Lock Haven University with majors in English and Communication and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. When she’s not writing, Meghan can be found drinking iced coffee, reading Bustle articles, or spending too much time on Pinterest.

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