It's been 44 years since Britain passed the Sex Discrimination Act, outlawing gender discrimination in a wide range of areas.
Yet in 2019, the number of female business leaders remains small. So what's holding women back, and how can female creatives overcome these issues and find the success they're looking for?
There's no one simple answer to this question, but there is much we can learn from the experience of successful women in business. So in this post, we bring you 10 books by inspiring women that will provide you with both inspiration and superb advice.
1. Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers Paperback, by Lois P. Frankel
This New York Times bestseller by executive coach Dr Lois P. Frankel argues that due to cultural conditioning, many women make unconscious mistakes that could be holding them back in business. The book lists these mistakes, such as avoiding office politics, failing to negotiate, and smiling inappropriately, and offers easy to follow coaching tips to put things right. A great read for anyone looking for practical advice that can actually be implemented, with a minimal of waffle or business jargon.
2. Work It: Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business, by Carrie Kerpen
You don’t need to learn all the lessons of business the hard way: this book is all about helping you stand on the shoulder of giants. CEO of Likeable Media and podcast host Carrie Kerpen shares lessons from her career and other powerful women to provide you with actionable tips. These include: why women should ditch the five-year plan; how and when to use work "superpowers" versus "pay-to-play" skills; and how women can start leveraging their collective power. Both specific and realistic about the challenges ahead, this is a must-buy for any female entrepreneur.
3. The Glass Wall: Success strategies for women at work – and businesses that mean business, by Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob
We all know about the glass ceiling, but this book stems from the premise that there's also a glass wall. Men and women can see each other clearly through this divide, but they don't speak the same language or have the same expectations, and as a result, women are suffering. Drawing on the authors’ own experience in male-dominated businesses, as well as over a hundred interviews with both men and women, this book provides clear, smart and easy-to-apply strategies for breaking down that wall and creating a better workplace for all. An intriguing read on a topic that should get a lot more attention than it does.
4. Women Who Launch: The Women Who Shattered Glass Ceilings, by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Want inspiration from other successful women have achieved? Well, why wouldn’t you? Packed full of biographies of female creators, innovators, and leaders, this book delivers just that. An uplifting testament to female empowerment, it reveals the true stories of activists, artists, entrepreneurs who have launched some of the most famous companies, brands, and organisations today, and changed the world in the process. And there’s simply no way that you won’t find something here that you can apply to your own career.
5. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero
This fun self-help book is firmly targeted at helping you find your inner confidence and make your life better. Bestselling author and travel success coach Jen Sincero serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of funny and inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. Its aim is to help you identify (and change) the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want, and consequently create a life you totally love. If you’re feeling down in the dumps or stuck in a rut, this uplifting book is exactly what you need to get right back up there.
6. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Working women today are better educated and better qualified than ever before, yet men still predominate in the corporate world. Why? In this book, bestselling authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman argue that the key reason is confidence. They go on to offer a practical guide to understanding the importance of confidence and learning how to achieve it, for women of all ages and at all stages of their career. If you’re suffering from a lack of confidence, then give this book a read and you’ll soon find that there are concrete, practical ways you can turn your life around.
7. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur Kindle Edition, by Carrie Gree
There's never been a better time to build a business online and in this book, Carrie Green - founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association - shows you how. Green started her first online business at the age of 20, and so she knows all about the challenges that face you. Based on her experience, she offers guidance and exercises to help you get clear on your business vision, move past fears, create your brand and build a ‘tribe’ of fans, subscribers and customers. An excellent and incisive book for helping you understand the modern digital world and how to get the most out of it for your business.
8. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Bestselling author Sophia Amoruso is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. Yet she's never been a typical CEO or a typical anything for that matter, so she's written #Girlboss for outsiders seeking their own unique path to success. Anyone who hasn’t been to business school, or spent decades climbing the corporate ladder, will love this story, which essentially shows that you don’t have to do any of that stuff to find success.
9. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
In 2012, technology executive Sheryl Sandberg became the first woman to be elected to the board of Facebook and was named in the Time 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world. In this book, she asks why so few business leaders are women, and what women can do to help themselves - including small changes they can make in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale. Combining detailed research with her own experience, this book is the perfect read for anyone wishing to stride out of their comfort zone and forge their own way in business.
10. How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back, by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith
Do you hesitate about putting forward ideas? Are you reluctant to claim credit for your achievements? Do you find it difficult to get support from your boss or respect from your colleagues? Then this book is for you. It identifies 12 common habits that can prove an obstacle to future success and tells you how to overcome them. Clear, concise and down to earth, this is all excellent advice and will make you stop and think about how much your behaviour is influencing your chances of career success.