As exam season approaches it is important to remember that rest is productive and to find things to do outside of revision. For this reason and as part of the girl’s strategic project, I have compiled a list of books and television shows to help take your mind off revision and exams, as well as to learn about some inspiring women.
- Game On: The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport, Sue Anstiss. This book explores how perceptions of women’s sport are finally shifting and celebrates the successes that have occurred relating to women’s sport over the past few years. However, the central message of this book is what else needs to happen to maintain the rise in women’s sport. This is explored far beyond the field of play by looking at women’s sport broadcasters, coaches, journalists and CEOs. It also challenges some of the historical stereotypes regarding women’s sport and how these prevent girls from participating in sport.
- How (Not) To Be Strong, Alex Scott. Former Lioness Alex Scott discusses the many battles she has had to face both personally and professionally. She candidly talks about how she has overcome these challenges and how in this process she has redefined what strength means to her. This book will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, empowered and inspired by Scott’s successes but also saddened and frustrated by some of the challenges that she has had to overcome. I found this book both inspiring and motivational as well as a reminder that you don’t always know what someone is going through.
- Becoming, Michelle Obama. In her memoir Michelle Obama talks about her life from childhood to life after the White House. She discusses some of the obstacles she has had to overcome. From growing up in a working-class neighbourhood in Chicago, to juggling motherhood and being First Lady. This book demonstrates the importance of determination and ultimately the importance of kindness.
- Live to Lead – Netflix. This series explores the lives of several world leaders and their pursuits to make a difference in the world. Each episode is deeply inspiring and thought provoking, focusing on different areas of activism championed by incredible people. My favourite is the episode about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This was particularly moving as it was one of her final interviews. She discusses how she used her position of authority in the law to pursue equality for women.
- Lionesses: How Football Came Home – Sky, Amazon Prime. After the historic Euro’s win of the England women’s football team last summer, this documentary goes behind the scenes of before and during the tournament. I found it really interesting to get the players and coaches perspective about what it took to win the tournament and what made the team so successful. It was also great to reminisce about the Euro winning summer and celebrate the win all over again.
- The Playbook: A Coaches Rules for Life (episodes 2 and 5) – Netflix. This series looks at the successes of coaches both in their respective sports and in life generally. I found episode 2 and 5 to be particularly interesting. In episode 2 Jill Ellis, ex-US women’s football coach, talks about the difficulties of being a female football coach and the key aspects of being successful, including the importance of being true to yourself. Episode 5 focuses on Dawn Staley, head coach of the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team. She talks about how to be motivated by failures. Both Ellis and Staley’s stories highlight the importance of women in leadership positions.
- Queen of Speed – Now TV/Sky. This documentary tells the story of rally driver Michele Mouton and how she became one of the greatest motorsport drivers in history. Over the course of her career Mouton was inundated with criticism and sexist remarks, all because she was a woman in what still is a male dominated industry. I really enjoyed this show and learning more about an industry I know little about. It was particularly inspiring seeing Mouton succeed and is a lesson for everyone to pursue their passion regardless of what others may think.
- Knock Down the House – Netflix. The focus of this documentary is on Alexandria Ocasio Cortez who ran for congress in 2018 and her hopes to change American politics. Whilst this documentary primarily focuses on AOC, it follows three other women also running for congress- Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin. It was particularly powerful watching these women formulate their campaigns and the passion they all had for changing American politics.