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5 Books to Help You Survive and Fight Office Sexism

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Beulah Maud Devaney

Staff Writer

Beulah Maud Devaney has written for The Guardian, The Telegraph, New Statesman, Buzzfeed and New Internationalist. Read her literary newsletter here. Follow her on Twitter: @TheNotoriousBMD.

Beulah is a travel writer and editor. @TheNotoriousBMD.

Even with an office full of allies, most of us need an extra boost when it comes to surviving and thriving in a sexist workplace. Luckily these authors are here to help.

Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

The first rule of Feminist Fight Club is that we all talk about it. A lot. Using a lightly-anonymised version of a real feminist fight club that she use to belong to, New York Times Gender Editor Jessica Bennett lays out practical solutions for tackling office sexism. It’s enough to make you want to start your own feminist fight club, and Bennett includes tips for male allies who might want to help but don’t really know where to start.


Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang

A book about the U.S. tech industry that manages to appeal to an international audience, including those who’ve never gone much further than customizing their Tumblr theme? In Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, Emily Chang manages to do just that, taking sexism in Silicon Valley as a jumping-off point for exploring the history of women in tech. Chang uses psychological insights (and common sense) to workout why the tech industry is such a mess and what we can do to fix it.


Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women by Otecha Uwagba

Otecha Uwagba understands the power of networking and founded Women Who, an online platform for women working in the creative industries. But, thankfully, Uwagba didn’t stop there. She also wrote Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women that covers every scenario you can imagine (asking for a pay rise, setting up a company, maintaining a personal brand) and it also contains contributions from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman

As the founder of the restaurant union (Restaurant Opportunities Centers United) Saru Jayaraman has some truly fascinating insights into the lives and struggles of the USA’s restaurant workers. In Behind the Kitchen Door she uses investigative journalism, economic theory and personal anecdotes to look at the way our dining out culture impacts workers (especially women) all over the world. It’s a sobering read but Jayaraman finishes with a compelling argument to raise kitchen workers quality of life that will have you cheering in your seat.


Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

Many readers will come to Ellen Pao’s book about sexism in Silicon Valley thinking that they already know what went down, but only a couple of chapters into Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change, it’s easy to see why Roxane Gay praised the book as “necessary and incisive”. Burnt out and struggling to decide if workplace sexism will ever get better? Read this book. Want to make changes but not sure how or where to begin? Read this book. Just fancy an easy read that will enrage and inspire you in equal measure? Read this book.