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5 Women Changing The World With Their Words

5 Women Changing The World With Their Words
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For centuries, women have been using their words to educate and inspire — from Coretta Scott King’s tales from the frontlines of the civil rights movement to Malala Yousafzai’s story of surviving an assassination attempt from the Taliban. While female writers haven’t always received the recognition they deserve, many are finally being celebrated for the impact their stories have had on the world.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we teamed up with Audible to highlight some of the female writers whose words are empowering readers worldwide. Check out our list of incredible women whose stories come to life through the performances of their must-hear audiobooks.

Malala Yousafzai
By now, you have likely heard of Malala Yousafzai. The young activist first made international headlines in 2012 after she was shot in the head by the Taliban as a result of her advocacy for girls’ education.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Yousafzai was taught the importance of education at a young age by her father, who was a private school teacher. When Taliban extremists took over her village in 2008 and banned girls from attending school, she bravely spoke out for their right to learn at just 11 years old.

Despite her injuries, Yousafzai has continued her fight for equality around the world. In 2014, she became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17.

In her best-selling memoir, I Am Malala, performed by Archie Panjabi, we learn more about the young activist’s incredible story, from her life in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled Swat Valley, to surviving an assassination attempt and traveling around the world. Her powerful words inspire a new generation not to be silenced.
Coretta Scott King
While Coretta Scott King was probably best known for being Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, Scott King was also a civil rights leader in her own right. Growing up in Alabama in the 1920s, she witnessed the effects of injustice and segregation from a young age, which led her to become an advocate for social change. As the wife of MLK, she traveled around the world, speaking about racial and economic issues, and uplifting the voices of women in the movement.

After her husband’s assassination in 1968, she went on to establish the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, to continue her husband’s legacy and educate others on global peace and social justice. Her lifelong activism made her one of the most powerful advocates for equality in the U.S.

While Scott King published her first book, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1969, we don’t see the full impact of her work until after her death in 2006. More than a decade after she died, her posthumous memoir, My Life, My Love, My Legacy, as told to the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds, was released. The audiobook, performed by January LaVoy and Phylicia Rashad, not only retells the story of her youth in Alabama and her activism around the world, but teaches us the importance of standing up for injustice.
Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf was one of the most important feminist writers of the 20th century. Her experimentation with different styles, including stream-of-consciousness, invited readers into the minds of her characters in ways that had never been done before.

The English novelist and essayist used her fiction and nonfiction work to explore topics such as mental illness, women’s education and patriarchy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 50 years after her death that she was recognized as a progressive feminist icon.

The original 1927 novel To the Lighthouse, in which Woolf shines a light on domestic life, exploring the complicated relationships within families, and the role of women under patriarchy, is elevated through the audiobook performance by Nicole Kidman. Woolf's most popular book, To the Lighthouse shows how she advocated for women’s empowerment and independence.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become an unlikely feminist pop culture icon thanks to her unwavering advocacy for women’s rights and her affinity for chic collars. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bader Ginsburg overcame years of gender discrimination to become the champion for equality that she is today. From studying at Columbia Law School to becoming the second female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Bader Ginsburg has often been the only woman in the room — but that has never stopped her from standing up for what she believes in.

Since being named an associate justice in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Bader Ginsburg has helped defend abortion rights, fight pay discrimination and protect religious freedom. Even as she battles health issues at 85 years old, the fiery justice rarely misses a day of work.

In her audiobook essay collection, My Own Words, performed by Linda Lavin, we hear Bader Ginsburg’s passion for justice come alive through a collection of speeches and writing that date back to her time in middle school. The book, which is her first since joining the Supreme Court, sheds light on how she has become an icon for women’s rights and how her continual refusal to back down in the courtroom has made history.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not only a renowned feminist; she's also one of the most important writers on race and identity today. Her work is often inspired by her upbringing in Nigeria and the history of her home country. While she originally went to school to study medicine, Adichie soon realized her true passion was for writing.

Since 1997, she has published a range of successful short stories, poems and nonfiction that touch on issues like gender, race and class. She has also traveled around the world speaking about feminism and how to create a more equitable future for everyone. Her 2012 TEDx Talk titled “We Should All Be Feminists,” in which she discusses gender discrimination and how to work toward equality, has been viewed millions of times.

Her audiobook of the same title, We Should All Be Feminists, is performed by Ngozi Adichie herself. It shows us how the power of inclusion and education can transform 21st-century feminism.

Words by Erica Euse; Illustrations by Rainie Kaplan

From Audible:

Throughout Women’s History Month, Audible will be celebrating women and the power of their voices. With audiobooks, you can bring books to life wherever you are, whether you’re listening during your commute or your workout. Audible’s selection of audiobooks includes extraordinary stories written by authors who will inspire you all year round. You can check out the full Audible library by signing up for a 30-day trial — which includes your first audiobook for free — here.

This article was paid for by Audible and co-created by RYOT Studio. HuffPost editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.