Nothing in this world can give you the feeling which books do. Some stories, some word just touch your heart and end up giving you the greatest lessons of life. Books can be inspiring at times, and help you make the toughest decisions of life. Below are ten must-read books for women:
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, who has also authored ‘Kite Runner’ revolves around the lives of two women, Mariam and Laila. The beautiful friendship of these two and the things they go through is mesmerizing. The book’s subtlety puts it under the category of must-read books for women.
2. Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson
The Millennium series has three books- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and “The Girl who Played with Fire”. The lead character of the series, Lisabeth Salander, is a confident and bold woman who never follows the old norms of the society and leads her life differently. Her rebellious nature can inspire the girls out there to stand for themselves.
3. Pride And Prejudice
The classic by Jane Austen teaches you to distinguish between the essential and the superficial. It makes you come across a way of looking at women, which is not judgmental. It teaches you to stand up for righteousness. It is definitely ones of the must-read books for women.
4. The Book Thief
Th novel, “The Book Thief” by the Australian author Markus Zusak gives out the inspiring message that no matter what the situation is, women can come out of it strongly on their own.
5. How To Be A Bawse
The Book, “How to be a Bawse”, by the Canadian YouTuber Lily Singh is a beautiful guide on tackling tough situations in life, supported by the examples of real-life situations. Lily’s classy and sassy video style has already been loved by a lot of women out there.
6. The Hunger Games Trilogy
Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy is one of the must-read books for women out there as the book’s lead character Katniss, makes you feel proud of being a girl. Her character motivates you to be your own hero.
7. Daughter By Court Order
“Daughter By Court Order”, by Ratna revolves around the story of a woman who has been disowned by her own family. The woman is fighting against money, power, deceit, and for her right to be recognized as a daughter. She has to handle everything on her own.
8. To Kill A Mocking Bird
The book is written by Harper Lee and is an all-time classic. The book revolves around a six-year-old protagonist who is a feminist and refuses to accept the societal norms and always challenges them.
9. The Diary Of A Young Girl
The novel by Anne Frank is set during the time of Nazi invading Netherlands. Anne Frank shares her feelings with her diary while she was in hiding for two years. The emotions and struggles make it one of the must-read books for women.
10. The Palace of Illusions
The book Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni shows the epic Mahabharata, through Draupadi’s eyes. Her problems and shortcomings are shown, along with the fact that how ego can lead to a battle.
–by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya
It was during her first year of high school in rural western Kenya that Mary Kuket says she was “sacrificed to tradition” and her dreams of becoming a doctor shattered forever.
With no explanation, the 15-year-old was given away to another family, who forced her to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), then married her off to their middle-aged son.
“I kept asking my parents why I was being taken and begged them not to send me away, but my father pushed me away, saying that soon I would understand,” Kuket, now 46, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Baringo county. “They never told me I was going to be cut. They never told me I was going to be married to a 45-year-old man. They never told me that I would not go back to school.”
From the fear of being ostracized or killed to the prestige associated with entering womanhood, girls in Kenya are under a barrage of societal pressures to undergo FGM, often with a devastating impact on their education, say campaigners.
A study by the charity ActionAid Kenya published Monday said despite the fact that FGM is illegal in the east African nation, deep-rooted myths supporting the ancient ritual persist.
The survey, based on interviews with almost 400 girls and women in eight Kenyan counties, found that FGM affected not only their health but also their schooling.
“Despite efforts to curb FGM, this type of violence against women and girls is so normalized in some communities. Girls are socialized into believing they must undergo the procedure,” said Agnes Kola, women’s rights coordinator for ActionAid Kenya. “But it is stifling their ability to participate in society, as once they undergo FGM, their schooling is impacted and many never complete their education and progress in life.”
Girls missed school to recover after the procedure and suffered medical complications and trauma that affected their class attendance and performance, the report said.
Seen as a rite of passage in many communities, FGM also acted as a trigger for girls as young as 11 to become sexually active and married off as they were perceived as women — often ending with child pregnancy.
As a result, fewer girls than boys in Kenya’s FGM-prevalent counties were finishing their primary education, and even fewer were transitioning to high school, the study said.
While national figures show secondary enrollment of boys and girls in year one to be almost equal, in some FGM-prevalent counties, enrollment of girls in the same group is less than half that of boys, according to government data.
‘Ticket for marriage’
An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the genitalia, the United Nations says.
Despite being internationally condemned, it is practiced in at least 27 African countries and parts of Asia and the Middle East, and is usually carried out by traditional cutters, often with unsterilized blades or knives.
In some cases, girls can bleed to death or die from infections. FGM can also cause lifelong painful conditions such as fistula as well as fatal childbirth complications.
Kenya outlawed the practice in 2011, but it continues as communities believe it is necessary for social acceptance and increasing their daughters’ marriage prospects.
One in five females aged 15 to 49 in Kenya has undergone FGM, according to U.N. data.
The study in eight counties found fear of being rejected for marriage, ostracized by the community or even killed was pushing girls to undergo FGM.
In the eastern county of Garissa, Muslim communities were cited as saying anyone who was not circumcised was not permitted to worship and could easily be killed.
“Religiously, we are told that circumcision makes girls to be clean before God, and it is only after undergoing this practice that the girls can be allowed to read the Quran or to worship,” said a woman from Garissa, cited in the report.
Elsewhere, girls and women said they were expected to undergo FGM to comply with cultural expectations of marriage.
“FGM is considered as the community-given ticket for marriage, thus it results in automatic suitors or bidders, which is absolutely the parent’s choice,” said the report. “Young men will ensure their wives get circumcised at the time of marriage.”
Soon after being cut, the girls, who are drawn from communities in which up to 98 percent of women and girls have undergone FGM, said they struggled to continue with school.
They were absent for weeks to heal and also suffered infections and trauma, according to the report.
The practice also provides social sanction for girls to be married off or have sex, often resulting in pregnancy.
Tony Mwebia of the Men End FGM campaign said visits to primary schools show that even as early as age 10, there are far fewer girls than boys. “Sometimes it’s just one or two girls compared to a whole lot of boys,” he said.
Campaigners said government and civil society had neglected remote, insecure regions where FGM was most prevalent. They called for specific budgets to be allocated to these areas, using positive messaging to engage with communities, and for better coordination between charities.
For Kuket, however, all is not lost.
After 20 years of marriage and seven children, she went back to school, finished her secondary education and has enrolled to work toward a degree in community development.