Empowered Women Empower Women

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou 

Happy March, readers! Before we get further, I wanted to acknowledge the distress in the world right now. Be strong, and safe, wherever you are. 

Beau Weasley here, encouraging you all to enjoy the spring and recognize the wonders of women this Women’s History Month. Here’s a compilation of memoirs about empowered women, written by empowering women:

  • Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis

After graduating from college, Jennifer isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she’s crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need.

  • Know My Name by Chanel Miller 

*SA trigger warning

Known as Emily Doe to the world, Chanel Miller reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.

  • Floreana by Margret Wittmer

The remarkable first-hand account of Margret Wittmer, who settled the island of Floreana in the Galapagos—600 miles from the mainland of Ecuador. It took Wittmer and her family weeks to travel to the island in 1932; they battled with the ties for three full days before they could land. Five months pregnant when she arrived, Wittmer found the beauty of the tropical island constantly tempered by the traumas of attempting everyday life in a wild and lonely spot. From the mysterious disappearance of a stranger linked to another recluse on the island, to a missed opportunity to meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 56 years recalled in this memoir are full of exotic adventures and the joys and tragedies of a lifetime.

  • Lost and Found by Kathryn Schultz

Eighteen months before Kathryn Schulz’s beloved father died, she met the woman she would marry. In Lost & Found, she weaves the stories of those relationships into a brilliant exploration of how all our lives are shaped by loss and discovery—from the maddening disappearance of everyday objects to the sweeping devastations of war, pandemic, and natural disaster; from finding new planets to falling in love. The resulting book is part memoir, part guidebook to living in a world that is simultaneously full of wonder and joy and wretchedness and suffering—a world that always demands both our gratitude and our grief.

  • Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph by Jennifer Pharr Davis

In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis became the overall record holder on the Appalachian Trail. By hiking 2,181 miles in 46 days – an average of 47 miles per day – she became the first female to ever set that mark. But this is not a book about records or numbers; this is a book about endurance and faith, and most of all love.  The most amazing part of this story is not found at the finish, but is discovered through the many challenges, lessons and relationships that present themselves along the trail. This is Jennifer’s story, in her own words, about how she started this journey with a love for hiking and more significantly a love for her husband Brew. By completing this extraordinary amateur feat, Jennifer rose above the culture of multi-million dollar sports contracts that is marked by shortcuts and steroids. This is the story of a real person doing something remarkable. Jennifer Pharr Davis is a modern role-model for women – and men. She is an authentic hero.

  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

  • School Choice: A Legacy to Keep by Virginia Walden Ford

On a cold winter night in February of 1967, a large rock shattered a bedroom window in Virginia Walden Ford’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas, landing in her baby sister’s crib. Outside, members of the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on her family’s lawn. Faceless bigots were terrorizing Virginia, her parents, and her sisters–all because her father, Harry Fowler, dared to take a job as the assistant superintendent of personnel for the Little Rock School District. He was more than qualified, but he was Black. In her searing new memoir, legendary school choice advocate Virginia Walden Ford recounts the lessons she learned as a child in the segregated south. School Choice: A Legacy to Keep, tells the dramatic true story of how poor D.C. parents, with the support of unlikely allies, faced off against some of America’s most prominent politicians—and won a better future for children.

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

While these books are representative, they are not all-encompassing. I encourage you, reader, to utilize Women’s History Month and reflect–on often overlooked accomplishments, on women’s empowerment, and reflect on how you can be the change you want to see in the world.

Beau Weasley, signing off!

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