Remembering some iconic figures of literature and the lessons they taught us, that can remind us why women deserve to be treated equally, and how long and how hard we have fought to have that privilege
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
A character of truth, of strong beliefs that persist and remain despite the many pressures around her. The main character of the series; Lyra is a headstrong child, bordering on teen, who fights for everything she believes in. She is compassionate and kind and caring and she is an inspiration to any woman to not give in, to be true to herself, no matter what pressures you may feel are coming at you externally.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Who could demonstrate fearlessness better than bolshie Lisbeth Salander. A metaphorical character representing an eon of women brutalised by institution and power. She is the pinnacle of misjudgement and mistreatment; cast away from society for her dynamic personality that traditionally is considered less than lady like and an ‘unfeminine’ appearance that for many contribute to their label for her of being a ‘crazy and unlikable person.’ Lisbeth fights tooth and nail to gain the respect and freedoms automatically given to the male characters surrounding her, and her natural qualities shine through to show this woman as no less than a warrior, whose keen intellect and aggression towards traditional gender stereotypes allows her to show all women what they deserve from society.
Caitlin Moran’s How to build a girl
The autobiography of any woman going through puberty, and having to align her identity with the expectations of the male dominated society she lives within. It is the excruciating story of a woman embracing the tight fitting skin the world puts her in and trying to find how she fits into it all when there are so many things she is desired and told to be. However, in the persisting constraints of this journey, Johanna maintains her wants and dreams and powers through to maintain an identity that is based on who she wishes to be, and shows us women can break through the class ceiling and that we have dreams too. She is showing us it is a shame that women have to fight so much harder to get them, but that they should keep trying no matter what so that eventually, hopefully, it may not always be so biased.
Anne Frank’s Diary
This woman is not a figment of imagination, she is a girl of Amsterdam whose diary has made her a legend of history and an example to us all of unyielding spirit and courage. Anne Frank wrote her diary while hiding with her family during World War II. She encapsulates the experiences of Jews during their time of greatest suffering, and as a young child, she is forced to face things many will never see in their lifetime. She gives us inspiration, and a perspective of maturity that allows us to embrace the cruelty and ugliness existing in our world and within ourselves, and yet still retain a sense of wonderment and heart to keep our minds strong and capable of finding the light within the darkest of places.
Harry Potter Novels
An inspiration on and off-screen (Emma Watson has become a leading voice in the fight for gender equality.) Compassionate and determined, she shows the strength of women everywhere, their bravery and their ability to stand by and prove herself alongside her male companions. Top of the class, and quick witted Hermione makes sure no one can be left to assume knowledge is reserved only for the Y chromosome.