9 Best Books on Women’s Economic Empowerment

Best Books on Women's Economic EmpowermentT

he World Bank believes that women’s economic empowerment provides women with “access to important opportunities that improve their ability to earn an income, better opportunities for healthcare and education, and more opportunities for upward mobility”. Women’s economic empowerment can impact a broad range of social and economic outcomes, and is a critical element of all economic policies in developing countries. Women have economic leverage that amplifies positive growth for nations. As Robert Costello argues, more women involved in the global economy is “leading to a wider, more inclusive wage and employment gap”.

Best Books on Women’s Economic Empowerment: THE LIST

1. Digital Goddess
2. No Stopping Us Now
3. How Women Rise
4. Hood Feminism
5. The Memo
6. The Likeability Trap
7. Nickel and Dimed
8. Smart Women Finish Rich
9. Get in the Game

1. Digital Goddess | By Victoria Montgomery Brown

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With women leading only twenty-four Fortune 500 companies, female founders receiving only 2.2 percent of US venture capital, and the continued presence of sexual harassment and double standards, the gender gap continues to hinder the advancement of women in the professional world.

In Digital Goddess, Montgomery-Brown—founder of Big Think, a collection of experts across all fields and disciplines that are either at the top of their field or disrupting it, shares her story in an entertaining and educational light. Told from the unique, female entrepreneurial perspective that unpacks all the hurdles other female founders may face in their own journey to the top, Montgomery-Brown shares the real-world lessons she’s learned along the way, such as:

  • Never lie to your investors, even when you just got arrested.
  • Raising money is a poker game—learn how to play.
  • The power and money still lie with men. Pretending it’s not that way, or being angry about it, won’t lead to success.
  • Your relationship with your co-founder is like a second marriage, so forget about keeping the personal out of the workplace.
  • The more authentic you are, and the more fun you have, the better your experience will be.

This book is about dealing with the way things are, even when you don’t like it, and being yourself, even when it seems like a drawback. It’s about sucking it up, making the hard choices, and dealing with the consequences. It’s about being honest no matter what is going down. Victoria’s been called “the anti-Elizabeth Holmes,” for a good reason—unlike the ill-fated Theranos CEO, she’s transparent with her investors even when she fears they will walk away.

Digital Goddess is a story for entrepreneurial women at any stage of life who want to know what it actually takes to build a business in a world that’s not always fair, predictable, or politically correct

2. No Stopping Us Now | By Gail Collins

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In her lively social history of American women and aging, acclaimed New York Times columnist Gail Collins illustrates the ways in which age is an arbitrary concept that has swung back and forth over the centuries. From Plymouth Rock (when a woman was considered marriageable if “civil and under fifty years of age”), to a few generations later, when they were quietly retired to elderdom once they had passed the optimum age for reproduction, to recent decades when freedom from striving in the workplace and caretaking at home is often celebrated, to the first female nominee for president, American attitudes towards age have been a moving target. Gail Collins gives women reason to expect the best of their golden years.

3. How Women Rise | By Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

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Overcome the twelve habits holding you back and take your career to new heights with this wise and approachable guide from two business leadership experts.
Ready to take the next step in your career . . . but not sure what’s holding you back? Read on.

Leadership expert Sally Helgesen and bestselling leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith have trained thousands of high achievers — men and women — to reach even greater heights. Again and again, they see that women face specific and different roadblocks from men as they advance in the workplace. In fact, the very habits that helped women early in their careers can hinder them as they move up. Simply put, what got you here won’t get you there . . . and you might not even realize your blind spots until it’s too late.
 
Are you great with the details? To rise, you need to do less and delegate more.
 
Are you a team player? To advance, you need to take credit as easily as you share it.
 
Are you a star networker? Leaders know a network is no good unless you know how to use it.
Sally and Marshall identify the twelve habits that hold women back as they seek to advance, showing them why what worked for them in the past might actually be sabotaging their future success. Building on Marshall’s classic bestseller What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, How Women Rise is essential reading for any woman who is ready to advance to the next level.

4. Hood Feminism | By Mikki Kendall

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A potent and electrifying critique of today’s feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in black feminism.

Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?

In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.

5. The Memo | By Minda Harts

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From microaggressions to the wage gap, The Memo empowers women of color with actionable advice on challenges and offers a clear path to success.

Most business books provide a one-size-fits-all approach to career advice that overlooks the unique barriers that women of color face. In The Memo, Minda Harts offers a much-needed career guide tailored specifically for women of color.

Drawing on knowledge gained from her past career as a fundraising consultant to top colleges across the country, Harts now brings her powerhouse entrepreneurial experience as CEO of The Memo to the page. With wit and candor, she acknowledges “ugly truths” that keep women of color from having a seat at the table in corporate America. Providing straight talk on how to navigate networking, office politics, and money, while showing how to make real change to the system, The Memo offers support and long-overdue advice on how women of color can succeed in their careers.

6. The Likeability Trap | By Alicia Menendez

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Be nice, but not too nice. Be successful, but not too successful. Just be likeable. Whatever that means?

Women are stuck in an impossible bind. At work, strong women are criticized for being cold, and warm women are seen as pushovers. An award-winning journalist examines this fundamental paradox and empowers readers to let go of old rules and reimagine leadership rather than reinventing themselves.

Consider that even competent women must appear likeable to successfully negotiate a salary, ask for a promotion, or take credit for a job well done—and that studies show these actions usually make them less likeable. And this minefield is doubly loaded when likeability intersects with race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and parental status.

Relying on extensive research and interviews, and carefully examined personal experience, The Likeability Trap delivers an essential examination of the pressure put on women to be amiable at work, home, and in the public sphere, and explores the price women pay for internalizing those demands. Rather than advising readers to make themselves likeable, Menendez empowers them to examine how they perceive themselves and others and explores how the concept of likeability is riddled with cultural biases. Our demands for likeability, she argues, hinder everyone’s progress and power.

Inspiring, thoughtful and often funny, The Likeability Trap proposes surprising, practical solutions for confronting the cultural patterns holding us back, encourages us to value unique talents and styles instead of muting them, and to remember that while likeability is part of the game, it will not break you.

7. Nickel and Dimed | By Barbara Ehrenreich

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Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job―any job―can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour?

To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly “unskilled,” that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity―a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich’s perspective and for a rare view of how “prosperity” looks from the bottom. You will never see anything―from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal―in quite the same way again.

8. Smart Women Finish Rich | By David Bach

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With over ONE MILLION copies sold – Smart Women Finish Rich is one of the most popular financial books for women ever written. A perennial bestseller for over two decades, now Bach returns with a completely updated, expanded and revised edition, Smart Women Finish Rich, to address the new financial concerns and opportunities for today’s women.

Whether you are just getting started in your investment life, looking to manage your money yourself, or work closely with a financial advisor, this book is your proven roadmap to the life you want and deserve.

With Smart Women Finish Rich, you will feel like you are being coached personally by one of America’s favorite and most trusted financial experts. The Smart Women Finish Rich program has helped millions of women for over twenty years gain confidence, clarity and control over their financial well-being–it has been passed from generations to generation — and it now can help you.

9. Get in the Game | By Vanessa Summers

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Get in the Game! targets educating and empowering young women in their twenties in all aspects of money and investing. Written in a fresh, fun, accessible, and informative style, the book spells out when women need to invest, how they can set achievable goals and then find the tools for reaching them.

The book is simple enough for a beginner but savvy enough to be of real value to every reader. No other finance book provides this blend of empathy, humor, and most of all, immediacy. As a mentor to her peer group and speaking from her own experience, author Vanessa Summers is well equipped to help young women develop a sense of confidence and competence about their money matters.

Step-by-step, Get in the Game! shows young women why it is important for them to start investing now. It explains how to define their personal financial identities, control unrestrained spending, and pay themselves first by building three ‘adventure backpacks’ (retirement, emergency funds, and immediate cash).

Summers explains the basics of 401(k)s, IRAs, mutual funds, and other financial instruments and includes a special section on Internet research. There’s even a wrap-up that helps the reader get comfortable with the wealth of information the book shares — without feeling overwhelmed.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Women’s Economic Empowerment

Women’s economic empowerment creates jobs and generates growth. Women’s labour forces contribute significantly to a higher GDP. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Women in Employment Index confirms that women are much more likely than men to have an increase in wages in a developing country, and therefore contribute significantly to GDP. This is a clear indication that women’s economic empowerment creates jobs, raises income, and generates growth.

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

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