I was lucky enough to go to an event in London in November to hear Hillary Rodham Clinton in conversation with Julia Gillard. These are two of my favourite women (see my blogs on Hillary’s books What Happened and Hard Choices and on Julia Gillard) and it was truly inspiring to hear them speak. Hillary was promoting her new book The Book of Gutsy Women, which she wrote with her daughter Chelsea Clinton, and which I promptly bought and read in December. It is a book to give us hope, packed full of inspirational women who are a reminder that a different kind of world is possible.
It is organised into themes, including educational pioneers, earth defenders, explorers and inventors, healers, athletes, advocates and activists, storytellers and elected leaders. Each theme features a number of short essays accompanied by a photo of the woman in question. One of the most fun things about reading them is that many feature a side conversation between Hilary and Chelsea, as one of them pops up to comment on their first encounter with the woman of the essay, or to say how that woman inspired them. It’s like being let into a conversation happening in the scribbled margins of the editing process and it’s an intimacy with the authors that really works.
The books contains many women I was already a fan of and contains those you would expect to feature – Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale, Venus and Serena Williams, Maya Angelou and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – to name a few. It also has less usual suspects like Sophia Duleep Singh (see my blog on Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary) and, as Americans feature more than any other nationality, I came across many women that I had not heard of before.
This is an enjoyable read full of uplifting examples of women struggling against the odds to make the world a better place. One for all of our daughters, and sons, to draw inspiration from.