On March 8th, Canada recognizes International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and girls, and raising awareness of the work left to be done. 

Discover the real-life stories of influential women -- from varied occupations, eras, and walks of life -- in compelling memoirs and biographies. Check out strong female protagonists who express bold ideas, overcome obstacles, and navigate identity, across a range of genres.


Children’s Books

The International Day of the Girl by Jessica Dee Humphreys

This introduction to the significance of girls worldwide encourages children to recognize their own potential to make change, providing a lesson in social justice and a celebration of girl power.

The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson

This story of a determined Ojibwe grandmother and her love for water raises awareness of how individual strength inspires collective action. Nokomis walks to protect water for future generations and for all life on the planet. 

Canadian Women Now + Then: More Than 100 Stories of Fearless Trailblazers by Elizabeth MacLeod

These stories illustrate how Canadian women both past and present blaze new trails, from creating art to making discoveries and setting records and often battling incredible odds and discrimination in the process.

Fierce: Women Who Shaped Canada by Lisa Dalrymple

The women highlighted in this book performed amazing feats. Get to know Marguerite de la Roque, Ttha'naltther, Catherine Schubert, Charlotte Small, Alice Freeman, Lucile Hunter, Ada Annie Jorda, Victoria Cheung, Mona Parsons, and Joan Bamford Fletcher!


Adult Non-Fiction

In My Own Moccasins by Helen Knott

Accomplished Indigenous woman Helen Knott’s debut reflects on her experience navigating the impact of colonialism in Canada. Her sobering memoir of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and sexual violence exposes the legacy of these devastating forces. She points a way forward in underscoring the power of sisterhood, ceremony, and family. 

They Said This Would be Fun by Eternity Martis

Renowned journalist Eternity Martis’ moving memoir shares what it’s like to be one of a few Black students at mainly white Canadian universities. Her investigative style exposes the need to consider how gender, race and privilege inform our experiences of our institutions.

Gently to Nagasaki by Joy Kogawa

Distinguished literary voice Joy Kogawa shares her journey. Born in Vancouver, stripped of land and possessions and relocated to a Canadian WWII internment camp, Kogawa reflects on the role of family and perseverance in pursuing her aspirations. She urges readers to see the dangers inherent in false dichotomies of ‘us’ and ‘them’ are just as real now as they were then.

They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars

Own Voices author Bev Sellars explores the impact of the government-sanctioned Church-run attempt at cultural genocide via the Indian Residential School system. Her account reveals how Canadian authorities abducted children from families, negated their individuality using a number, repressed cultural teachings, forbade Indigenous languages, and regularly employed physical, emotional and sexual assault to force compliance. 


Adult Fiction

Bina by Anakana Schofield

Acclaimed writer Anakana Schofield examines social justice themes like truth and individuality, the status of the female voice, and moral courage in her compelling, everywoman account of the trials and tribulations of daily life. Her confessional tour de force inspires laughter and tears.

 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Prescient author Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel predicts alarming social shifts. This multi-award winning, best-selling novel remains provocative in the power of its truth in how women survive and come back stronger amid a climate of misogyny.

Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y. K. Choi

Debut writer Ann Y. K. Choi’s bittersweet coming-of-age novel set in the Korean community in Toronto in the 1980s vividly captures the struggles of a young woman caught between two cultures. 

Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

Celebrated First Nations author Eden Robinson writes a layered story whose modern setting recalls traditional lores. The themes encompass loss and redemption through the mystery of a missing brother as seen through the eyes of his sister.  


Learn more about International Women’s Day in Canada.