International Women’s Day is next week and there will be celebrations around the world. At Soneva there is drive to hire more women on the resorts, backed by lots of incentives and opportunities, particularly for local Maldivian women.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day and World Book Day which was on 4th March, I asked Soneva women from around our sun-drenched islands which book by a female identifying writer has inspired them the most.
Nicola Reynolds, Soneva Jani Tennis Coach - Untamed by Glennon Doyle
“I’ve never really thought I would have liked a ‘self-help’ book like this, but because of the reading therapy with Alice I was recommended this and it was the best book I could have possibly read at this stage in my life. It is the first book I’ve really related to, possibly because it’s a female writer reflecting on the female experience. I found it inspiring and hopeful.
It’s a book that breaks down stereotypes and gives the view of the world being less complicated which is inspiring with all the shit that goes on, and I connected with the message that its ok to learn how to stop caring what other people think.”
Ash Shivakumar , Soneva Fushi Barefoot Bookseller – The Art of Murder Series by Josh Lanyon
“Hold up, I know what you're thinking, 'that's not a female author'. Au contraire, Reader, she is. What her real female name IS however, that I cannot be sure. A niche but hugely influential name in the Male/Male romance sphere, she took a male pen name years ago because she was rejected over 25 times using her real name. She has talked about how disheartening that was but I must say I'm grateful she took the plunge. She is one of my all-time favourite writers and probably has played a very large role in my writing career.
Reading her work alongside writing my own, there's no way she hasn't influenced how I approach characters, and dialogue in particular. I'm always so excited when she releases a new project - I pre-order everything - and she will continue to inspire how I write even though I've crafted my own unique style and voice.”
Asal Aden, Soneva Jani Life Team Leader – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
“Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books. At its heart it is about a woman who is so strong despite all the unfortunate events that happen in her life. She overcomes all the obstacles in front of her whilst always being kind to others and I find that very inspiring.”
Carissa Nimah, Guardian of the Brand (Chief Commercial Officer) – Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
“I love this book as its what I read to my little girl to inspire her.”
And finally, the book that I find inspirational - 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
Elif Shafak is an advocate for women’s rights, freedom of speech and minority rights. Whilst she was writing 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World, a powerful novel about a woman who becomes a sex worker in Istanbul, she was investigated by the Turkish authorities for ‘crimes of obscenity’ for writing about sexual harassment and child abuse. The Turkish authorities have been silencing writers in the country in recent years, succeeding in closing 150 media outlets. While the country suffers from increased gender violence, the authorities are busy quieting writers who ‘insult Turkishness’ and bringing in laws such as clearing a man of rape if he marries his victim.
Shafak’s fiction and non-fiction work is an incredibly powerful statement against an oppressive patriarchal government and incredibly important for sharing truths of everyday people living in Turkey.
Whether its women who stand up to gender violence, inspire other women to learn about themselves or simply provide beautiful words for us to read, here’s to women around the world standing together and supporting each other. Happy International Women’s Day!