20 best books on female leaders – 2023 reading list & recommendations

Are you looking for some inspiration from powerful women who have shattered glass ceilings and changed the world? Look no further! In this article, we have curated a list of the 20 best books about female leaders that will leave you feeling empowered and motivated. From memoirs of trailblazing women to biographies of political powerhouses, these books on female leaders are sure to make a lasting impact. So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to dive into the captivating stories of these remarkable women!


by Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a captivating memoir that delves into the life of one of the most influential women of our time. This incredible book about female leaders takes readers on a journey through the experiences and challenges that shaped Michelle Obama into the inspiring figure she is today.

The Moment of Lift

by Melinda Gates

Are you ready to be inspired? Get ready to dive into a powerful journey with “The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates, a captivating book on female leaders and the incredible impact they have on our world. This groundbreaking work is a true celebration of women’s empowerment and the infinite possibilities that arise when we uplift one another.

My Own Words

by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a captivating book about women who have left an indelible mark on history. In this remarkable collection of writings, Justice Ginsburg shares her own reflections on pioneering women who have fought tirelessly for equality and justice. Through her eloquent prose, she offers a powerful glimpse into the lives and accomplishments of these extraordinary individuals. This book on female leaders is a testament to the strength, resilience, and determination of women who have defied societal norms and paved the way for future generations. Dive into this inspiring journey through history and be inspired by the incredible stories of these trailblazing women.

Lean In

by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is an empowering book on female leaders that challenges the status quo and encourages women to take charge of their careers and lives. Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, shares her personal experiences and offers practical advice for women who want to excel in their professional lives.

Hidden Figures

by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures is a captivating book on female leaders that delves into the remarkable untold stories of the brilliant African-American women who played vital roles at NASA during the Space Race. Authored by Margot Lee Shetterly, this extraordinary book uncovers the hidden figures who made groundbreaking contributions to the fields of mathematics, engineering, and computer science.

Dare to Lead

by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead is a powerful and empowering book on female leaders, written by the renowned researcher and storyteller, Brené Brown. This groundbreaking book is not just about female leaders, it is a call to action for all leaders who want to create workplaces and communities that are courageous, inclusive, and vulnerable.

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is an extraordinary memoir that unveils the remarkable journey of Jeannette Walls, a woman who defied societal expectations and charted her own path towards success. This captivating book chronicles Jeannette’s tumultuous childhood, filled with poverty, instability, and unconventional parents.

Throughout the pages of this memoir, readers are introduced to Jeannette’s larger-than-life parents, Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Despite their unorthodox approach to parenting, both Rex and Rose Mary possess an undeniable resilience and unwavering spirit. Their refusal to conform to societal norms and their relentless pursuit of freedom sets them apart as true pioneers.

The Glass Castle is not just a book about female leaders, but a powerful testament to the strength and determination of women. Jeannette Walls, with her unwavering spirit and indomitable will, emerges as a shining example of female empowerment. Her resilience in the face of adversity and her refusal to be defined by her circumstances make her a true role model for anyone seeking to overcome obstacles and forge their own path.

This memoir is a must-read for those who are inspired by stories of female leaders. Through Jeannette Walls’ honest and poignant storytelling, readers are transported into a world that challenges conventional notions of success and reminds us that true strength comes from within. The Glass Castle is a testament to the power of resilience, the importance of following one’s dreams, and the enduring spirit of female leadership.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

by Jung Chang

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is a captivating book about the incredible journey of three remarkable women in China. This extraordinary memoir by Jung Chang explores the lives of her grandmother, mother, and herself, offering an intimate portrayal of their experiences under the tumultuous rule of Mao Zedong.

Through the eyes of these courageous women, the reader embarks on a mesmerizing voyage through China’s turbulent history, witnessing the rise and fall of one of the world’s most powerful female leaders. Chang’s vivid storytelling paints a vivid picture of the challenges faced by these women, as they navigate the oppressive regime and strive to maintain their identities and dreams.

With its powerful narrative and rich historical context, Wild Swans is not just a book about female leaders; it is a testament to the resilience and strength of women in the face of adversity. Chang’s masterful storytelling will transport you to a world of political turmoil, love, and determination, leaving you inspired and profoundly moved by the indomitable spirit of these extraordinary women.

The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is a remarkable book about a brave girl who became an unwitting symbol of hope during one of the darkest periods in history. Anne’s diary offers a unique perspective on the Holocaust and serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of a young female leader. Through her poignant and introspective writing, Anne Frank’s diary has become an enduring symbol of resilience, courage, and the power of the human spirit.

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala is an inspiring book about a young girl who defies the odds and becomes a symbol of bravery and resilience. It is a compelling story of a female leader in the making.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a captivating non-fiction book that delves into the life of an extraordinary woman who unknowingly paved the way for groundbreaking medical discoveries. This riveting tale explores the legacy of Henrietta Lacks, a remarkable individual who, though unrecognized in her lifetime, made an indelible impact on the field of science.

This thought-provoking book unearths the story of a woman whose cells, known as HeLa cells, played an instrumental role in countless medical breakthroughs, including the development of the polio vaccine and advancements in cancer research. Henrietta’s cells were unique in their ability to replicate at an astonishing rate, making them invaluable to scientists worldwide.

Rebecca Skloot, the author, skillfully weaves together the narratives of Henrietta’s life, the scientific discoveries made possible by her cells, and the ethical implications surrounding the use of her genetic material. Skloot’s meticulous research and heartfelt storytelling offer a profound exploration of the intersection between scientific advancement and the ethical treatment of individuals.

This book is not only a tribute to Henrietta Lacks, but also a powerful examination of the often-unacknowledged contributions made by marginalized individuals in scientific progress. It sheds light on the injustices faced by female leaders throughout history, highlighting the need for greater recognition and respect for their invaluable contributions.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of science, the ethical implications of medical research, or the untold stories of influential female leaders. Skloot’s masterful storytelling and deep empathy for her subjects make this book an unforgettable journey into the fascinating life of a woman whose cells changed the world.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a groundbreaking book that shines a light on the incredible resilience and strength of women all around the globe. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, this book is a powerful call to action for gender equality and empowerment.

Through their extensive research and personal experiences, Kristof and WuDunn bring to light the often overlooked stories of women who have overcome unimaginable obstacles and made significant contributions to their communities. This eye-opening book is not just about female leaders, but about the untapped potential of women and the incredible impact they can have when given the opportunity.

Half the Sky explores a wide range of issues affecting women, including sex trafficking, gender-based violence, maternal mortality, and lack of education. By sharing these stories, the authors aim to raise awareness and inspire readers to take action in their own lives, whether it’s supporting organizations that empower women or advocating for policy changes.

This book is a testament to the power of storytelling and the importance of amplifying the voices of women. It serves as a reminder that when we invest in women and girls, we not only improve their lives but also create a better world for all. Half the Sky is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the challenges faced by women worldwide and the potential for change.

The Hiding Place

by Corrie ten Boom

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is an extraordinary memoir that unveils the remarkable story of a courageous woman who defied the odds and became a beacon of hope during one of history’s darkest times. This captivating book about female leaders takes us on a journey through Corrie’s life, revealing her unwavering commitment to justice, compassion, and the power of faith.

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

The Color Purple, written by Alice Walker, is a remarkable book on female empowerment and resilience. Set in the early 20th century, this powerful novel tells the story of Celie, a young African American woman who endures unimaginable hardships and abuse.

Through her letters, Celie finds solace and strength in her correspondence with her sister, Nettie, who is a missionary in Africa. As the narrative unfolds, we witness Celie’s transformation from a voiceless victim to a courageous and independent woman, defying societal norms and taking control of her own destiny.

The Color Purple is not just a book about female leaders; it is a testament to the indomitable spirit of women who rise above adversity and reclaim their power. Walker’s lyrical prose captures both the pain and triumph of Celie’s journey, exploring themes of identity, love, and the importance of sisterhood.

With its vivid characters and profound exploration of race, gender, and oppression, The Color Purple remains a timeless classic that continues to inspire and empower readers today. This female leaders book is a powerful reminder that even in the face of unimaginable hardships, women have the strength and resilience to overcome and thrive.

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a captivating book on female leaders that takes readers on a haunting journey into a dystopian future. Set in the totalitarian Republic of Gilead, women are held in oppressive roles and stripped of their rights. In this chilling society, Handmaids are tasked with bearing children for the ruling class, known as Commanders.

Atwood’s masterful storytelling paints a vivid picture of a world where women’s autonomy and agency are crushed, and their bodies become mere vessels for procreation. The protagonist, Offred, is a Handmaid who struggles to navigate this twisted reality while secretly longing for freedom and a reunion with her lost loved ones.

With her powerful prose and thought-provoking narrative, Atwood delves into themes of gender inequality, oppression, and the resilience of the human spirit. Through Offred’s eyes, readers witness the strength and courage of these female leaders, who refuse to be silenced and fight for their right to be heard.

The Handmaid’s Tale is not just a book about female leaders; it is a cautionary tale that serves as a stark reminder of the importance of equality and the dangers of a society that suppresses women’s voices. As readers delve into this gripping tale, they will be compelled to reflect on the power dynamics at play in our own world and the vital need to ensure that all individuals, regardless of gender, have the freedom to lead, to create, and to be heard.

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett, is a captivating book on female empowerment and the courage it takes to challenge societal norms. Set in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, this novel delves into the lives of African-American maids, who work for white families and face discrimination and oppression on a daily basis.

The story revolves around three resilient women: Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Aibileen, an experienced and compassionate maid, is determined to make a difference for the next generation. Minny, on the other hand, is known for her quick wit and sassy attitude, which often gets her into trouble. Lastly, Skeeter, a young aspiring writer, seeks to expose the injustices faced by the maids through her book.

As the narrative progresses, these remarkable women join forces, risking their reputations and safety, to share their stories and bring light to the struggles they endure. The Help is not just a book about female leaders, but it showcases the power of unity, resilience, and the ability to challenge the status quo. It shines a spotlight on the strength and courage of these women in an era where their voices were often silenced.

Stockett’s writing is both heartfelt and thought-provoking, painting a vivid picture of the racial tensions and the complexities of relationships during this turbulent time in American history. The Help is an empowering and inspiring read that reminds us of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity.

The Power

by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman is an electrifying and thought-provoking book about women who possess an astonishing power to control electricity. This extraordinary ability shakes up the world as we know it, with women rising to become the dominant gender in society. In this captivating and timely novel, Alderman explores the consequences of this power shift, delving into the complex dynamics of gender, power, and the human condition. Prepare to be enthralled by this groundbreaking book on female leaders, as it challenges societal norms and ignites a spark of empowerment within its readers.


by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover is an extraordinary memoir that takes readers on a captivating journey through the life of a young woman who defies all odds to become a remarkable figure in her own right. This compelling book about female leaders explores the power of education, resilience, and self-discovery.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a thrilling and gripping novel written by Stieg Larsson. This captivating book delves into the dark and mysterious world of crime, while also shedding light on the strength and resilience of women in positions of power and influence.

Set in Sweden, the story follows a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist who, after being convicted of libel, is hired by a wealthy businessman to solve a decades-old mystery. Blomkvist teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant and enigmatic computer hacker with a troubled past.

As they delve deeper into the case, Blomkvist and Salander uncover a web of corruption, deceit, and violence. Together, they navigate the treacherous landscape of the Swedish elite, exposing long-held secrets and confronting powerful individuals who will stop at nothing to protect their interests.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not just a book about crime and intrigue; it is a book that explores the complexities of gender dynamics and the struggles faced by women in positions of authority. Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous ‘girl with the dragon tattoo,’ is a fierce and fearless character who defies societal expectations and challenges the status quo.

Through Salander’s character, Larsson highlights the unique strengths and capabilities of women, proving that they can be powerful, intelligent, and resilient leaders in their own right. This book serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of female leaders and the immense impact they can have on society.

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a captivating book about female leaders set in a dystopian future. In this thrilling tale, we follow the courageous and strong-willed protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, as she navigates a deadly competition that will determine her fate and the fate of her fellow citizens.


In conclusion, these 20 best books about female leaders provide an insightful and inspiring look into the lives of remarkable women who have made their mark on history. From political leaders to business moguls, these books capture the resilience, determination, and sheer brilliance of these extraordinary women. Whether you are looking for inspiration, guidance, or simply a captivating read, these books are a must-have for anyone interested in learning more about the incredible contributions of female leaders throughout history.