Celebrating women on International Women’s Day

Two incredible books all about amazing women in New Zealand and around the world have been on my coffee table this week. 

Words Lara Wyatt

Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day. It’s a day of celebration and discussion that was initiated in the early 1900s, and is now acknowledged (or ignored, depending on where you are) worldwide. 

I’ve been devouring two gorgeous hardcover books that are filled to the brim with wonderful stories about women. The first I’ve been reading is Womankind: New Zealand women making a difference, written by Margie Thomson with photographs by Simon Young.  

It’s one of those books that you can pick up and read one or two stories per night, or sit down and read the entire thing in one sitting because it’s so inspiring. The first story in the book is about Jackie Clark, Aunty in Charge of the charity The Aunties. She talks about how The Aunties was born, and the importance of mothers. 

Further into the book you’ll read Mihingarangi Forbes’ story and how she’s watched the journalism world evolve from not being able to say the word ‘racism’, and how we’ve come a fair way. She also talks about growing up with Māori history and Pākehā history. 

Throughout the book, you’ll be invited to read the personal stories of other New Zealand women such as Helen Clark, Gil Hanly, Lexie Matheson and Rez Gardi.  

The other amazing book I’ve been reading is So Here I Am: Speeches by Great Women to Empower and Inspire, written by Anna Russell with illustrations by Camila Pinheiro.  

This book brings you iconic speeches made by women throughout history from Elizabeth I when she spoke on the Spanish Armada in 1588, through to Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Lecture in 2014. Every speech is a truly inspiring read and fills you with warmth and hope that women are being heard more and more in our communities and on a global scale. 

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate International Women’s Day, and you haven’t organised to go to one of the events, seminars or workshops around the country, head to your local bookstore and get yourself a copy of one of these books. Reading even just one page of these is enough to really inspire and motivate you to keep working to level the playing field. 


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