Few things make me happier than books and empowering women so this post just might the best Venn diagram ever.

I am often asked by readers to recommend my favourite books for empowering women so I’ve decided to begin making a few book lists of my favourites to recommend.

First up are these ones: non-fiction favourites for ordinary women. These are the books accessible for almost anyone – you could read them with your book club at church or in your neighbourhood or with your bible study or on your own.

We all know that I could have probably listed 100 books easily but I’ve decided to keep this simple by focusing on accessible, easy-to-order, fairly recent non-fiction with a mostly Christian focus. Some of these are hilarious, others are sobering. Some are essays about being a woman and others are persuasive arguments.Some of them are written by church leaders, one is written by a best-selling tv-writer. One is releasing next week, a few others are old favourites. They are all inspiring, they are all challenging, they are all originators of good conversation, and I just plain liked them all.

And keep your eyes open: I’ll be publishing another list of fiction favourites to empower women, a list for empowering young girls, and another one for the more scholarly/theological/academic folks among us in the next week or two!

My hope is that there is something here or in one of those future lists for you or for the women in your life to read and talk about this winter.

The books we read shape who we are. If we are reading books that are reminding us that we are called, chosen, capable, strong, wise, empowered by the Holy Spirit…well, the dangerous thing is that we might just believe them. As the proverb says, when sleeping women wake, mountains move!

NIV Bible for Women with devotionals by Shauna Niequist, Sarah Bessey, Enuma Okoro and more

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right Again by Lisa Sharon Harper*

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You Are Supposed to Be and Be Who You Are by Brene Brown

Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry by Tara Beth Leach*

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

Dear Ijeawele; or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie*

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’ by Rachel Held Evans

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes*

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World by Katelyn Beaty*

Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James

Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World by Osheta Moore

Why Not Women?: A Biblical Study of Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership by Loren Cunningham, David Joel Hamilton, and Janice Rogers

More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World by Jo Saxton

50 Women Every Christian Should Know by Michelle DeRusha

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle

Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church by Nancy Beach

And of course: Jesus Feminist by yours truly

*these titles are not pictured because they are either on my Kindle or loaned out at the moment.

P.S. Don’t forget – my annual Christmas Gift Guide to Empower Women is coming out soon! To get first-access sneak peek on November 20th, sign up for my e-newsletter Field Notes (and not to spoil the surprise but there will be an exclusive giveaway just for subscribers, too!). But don’t worry – The Gift Guide itself will be posted here on November 22. I’m busily putting that together at the moment and it is AMAZING this year. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Your turn: What non-fiction books would you recommend to empower women?

I love to talk about books! You can also check out:


Our Favourite Books of 2016

My Favourite Books of 2015

My 10 Favourite Books of 2014

10 books that changed my faith

10 books that influence my parenting

10 books by Canadians I wish the world would read

10 books for tinies and 10 books for older tinies (ages 4-7)

10 books I read over and over (and over)

10 spiritual memoirs

My daily books + 10 books of poetry

*affiliate links

Really, I Blame the Women :: Celebrating 10 Years with Heartline
My Favourite Picture Books to Empower Girls
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  • Debserwin

    I recommend ‘Equals’ by Jenny Baker – excellent.

  • I love anything by Lisa Bevere — eg. Girls With Swords, Lioness Arising, Without Rival…

  • Ruth

    Fashioned to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill Their Divine Destiny by Kris Vallotton

  • Sammy Millar

    “The Liberating Truth” by Danielle Strickland and also “Powerful and Free” by Danny Silk.

  • I adored “Being Brave” by Kelly Johnson. Her conversational style of writing immediately draws you in and then she whips out nuggets of wisdom to knock you flat. It is so so good and is something I intend to buy for each of my women friends who want to embrace the bountiful life they were created to live.

  • Jessica Epple

    One of my favorite books about female empowerment is “Play like a Girl” by Ellie Roscher. It is all about how a soccer school in Kenya’s slums started a revolution. Roscher beautifully tells the story of KGSA, Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. She tells us all about the dedicated people who started the school, how they believed in the power of girls and women, and started changing a community. By empowering girls through holistic education and care, the girls started rising above the dangers of slum life and becoming the best advocates for their friends, families and community. This story and book makes a powerful argument for holistic care and female empowerment not only in slums, but everywhere. By showing the power of hard work, love and women themselves. Roscher worked directly with people from KGSA and uses their own words to describe their story. It is so incredible, and I recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Amy Case

    I’m surprised you recommend a book by Glennon Doyle Melton. Do you know much about her? She is peddling a feel-good gospel that has no resemblance to the message of Christ. Many women are following her. It’s pretty concerning. That being said, you have some great options on this list! Thank you. 🙂

  • Bethanylynn

    Hey Sarah!

    I am really looking forward to your Christmas gifts that empower women post! I love using my consumer power for the greater good and your past posts have always been a great resource!

    I just wanted to send you a message and raise my concerns about MLMs as I saw that several women were pitching their MLMs as a potential option to be listed in your posting. I have seen MLMs rip thru my own personal circles and cause hurt and pain. Maybe I am already preaching to the choir but I have found personally and through research that MLMs are the opposite of empowering for women.

    MLMs claim to empower woman, promising economic freedom and flexibility while training women to trade on their own intimate and personal relationships for capital gain. This turns their relationships into transactions. I would argue that this is opposite of empowerment and sisterhood and at its core, unethical and predatory. The MLM structure uses the trust that women have built, their intrinsic desires to support each other and have community while the company lines its pockets at the expense of the consultant/distributor often damaging her own relationships and self-esteem in the process.

    On top of that, the FTC claims that 99% of women lose money in MLMs, so this is actually a predatory scheme that lures women in with promises they rarely fulfill. Also, considering how distinctly gendered the MLM world is, I think what MLMs have done is take advantage of the barriers women face in the traditional workplace and claim to offer something better which is not empowerment when most women lose money and end up commodifying their own sacred relationships and communities.

    Here are a couple good articles and resources if you want to look further at the topic.


    There is an entire community of women with a strong online presence who help each other as they leave the spiritually and emotionally manipulative MLMs they were once a part of. Pink Truth is a good place to start and they even have a tag for religion & spirituality. http://www.pinktruth.com

    My vote is for fashionABLE. I know you covered them a couple years ago. I love their stunning necklaces! I love how they believe that connecting women with resources has the power to bring entire communities out of extreme poverty and how their products are made locally in communities all over the world.

    Thank you for your voice in this world. You have encouraged me so much. I lived in Vancouver for several years and went to hear you speak at Trinity Western a few years ago and it was incredibly impactful for me.


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  • Sarah M

    We are on the same track, girl. I’ve read more than half of these and loved em’. The 50 Women all Christians Should Know was one of my favorite non-fictions of last year.

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