22 Books about Women in the Workplace

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The books about women in the workplace in the post below feature fiction and non-fiction characters alike. And though there are many genres represented in the stories, each of them also addresses how hard it is to be a working woman.

From the double standards in the workplace to the guilt and struggles of raising a family, to sexual harassment, even the lightest of the reads below can’t ignore the challenges women face.

But don’t think the books below are all women working boring office jobs! We’ve got women in publishing, science, politics, entertainment, chemistry, cleaning, and even female spies represented on this list of books about women in the workplace.

So whether you are here looking for a reading challenge prompt or just curious to find a book to commiserate with, we’ve got a pick for you!

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Contemporary Books about Women in the Workplace

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

I loved the insider look at Silicon Valley this book provided. Sophia starts off as a woman who seems incapable and flighty and grows into a serious power player in the tech industry.

There are lots of available discussion points here for a book club but it would make a fun vacation read too. 

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

June 2021 GMA Book Club Pick

Wow. I’m still processing this genre-defying novel. It’s a social commentary and a thriller all in one. It makes me want to sit down and discuss it with everyone.

Nella is the only black girl at her publishing house until Hazel is hired. Thinking she’s found an ally, instead, she begins to wonder if Hazel might be an enemy instead.

As Hazel’s career soars, Nella is left questioning her identity, her ideals, and what it means to be a black woman in the business world, while trying to uncover who is behind the scary notes she keeps receiving.

The Maid by Nita Prose

January 2022 Good Morning America Pick

Molly works as a maid in a grand hotel and gets joy from leaving things orderly and pristine. Molly struggles with reading social cues and has had even more trouble since her gran can no longer help.

When Molly finds a dead body in a room at the hotel, she becomes a prime suspect and will need all her friends to help her.

I loved the description of this book and I hoped it would live up to my expectations. I did that and more. I loved every minute of this book and closed the last page smiling.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita have worked at Truviv, Inc. for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge.

But the world has changed, and the women are watching this promotion differently. This time, when they find out Ames is making an inappropriate move on a colleague, they aren’t willing to let it go. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough.

The Helpline by Katherine Collette

Thank you so much to Atria for my copy of this book. I started reading this book and found that I had a really hard time putting it down.  It is one of those books where the main character is completely imperfect and often infuriating but, will grow on you!

If you loved The Rosie Project or Eleanor Oliphant then you will love this book.  Germaine has lost her job at an insurance company and begins working at a helpline for senior citizens.  The mayor has a side project for Germaine.  She wants Germaine to help her in the feud between the golf club and the senior citizen center.  Sometimes, as Germaine will find out, things are not always what they seem.

Office Romance Novels

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

I’m an avid weather lover, so this was one of my most anticipated Winter 2022 new releases!

In this romance novel, weather girl Ari teams up with sports anchor Russ to get their feuding bosses back together Parent-Trap style.

Along the way they kindle sparks of their own! There are lots of fun weather puns, adorable scenarios for both romantic pairs, and love scenes that aren’t for the faint of heart🔥🔥🔥.

The best part of all is that the book deals with REAL life issues like depression, body image, teen pregancy, and complex families. 

The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren

This one is for all you Chip and Joanna Gaines fans.⁣  Imagine if behind-the-scenes a beloved TV decorating couple actually hated each other’s guts.

Then imagine that they have decided to put out a book about their marriage and are heading out on tour. How to keep the trouble in paradise under wraps? Bring along a longtime female assistant and new handsome quasi-assistant to monitor the situation.

Let’s just hope the assistants can stay out of each other’s pants long enough to keep their bosses out of trouble.⁣

The Suite Spot by Trish Dollar

This charming story was an absolute delight. I fell in love with Rachel and Mason and their friends-to-lovers story.

Rachel’s little girl is a delight too and I like that the conflict in the romance wasn’t about Mason and Rachel’s relationship so much as something that had to do with Rachel as a single mom.

This sweet story is perfect for a quiet moment of reading; preferably rocking on a swing in the backyard at dusk with twinkle lights overhead.

Historical Fiction Books about Women in the Workplace

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

This book could be an amazing movie.  It is not the type of book that you “can’t put down” because it takes place on New Year’s Eve 1984 with flashbacks to the past. But, it is an incredibly interesting and very well-written book.

Lillian Boxfish takes the reader with her through a look at New York City through the ages.  I really enjoyed this book.

Rouge by Richard Kirshenbaum

The story of 2 (actually kind of 3) female entrepreneurs who kick-started the beauty industry was well crafted. This historical fiction mostly covered the 30s to 50s as Josephine and Constance constantly try to one-up each other personally and professionally.

These titans challenge each other to push their respective companies to greatness. Their lives parallel throughout the story in unique ways though they remain enemies until their dying day.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I read this book long before we started the blog and I still recommend this book to everyone as a must-read. 

It is the middle of the Great Depression and Jacob finds himself orphaned just shy of earning his Veterinary degree. He finds himself a job with a circus caring for a menagerie.

Here he meets Marlena, the beautiful star of the show, and an untrainable elephant named Rosie.

I loved everything about this book from the romance and tension, to the beauty of the animals and their relationship with the people around them.

A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

I was interested to read this book about a housewife turned female informant for the FBI. I went in interested to learn about the government’s efforts to root out Communism in the 50s but stayed to understand Katharina’s story.

I can’t imagine being a wife in the 50s. The ideals that society put on women were just too much. Too many constraints, too many rules, and far too much judgment.

I loved seeing Katharina find herself through her undercover work, but sometimes those scenes of her life at home were hard to read about because I came to despise her husband.

We’ve got a list of more than a dozen books about female spies.

Non-Traditional Working Women Books

Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

This is another perfect pick from our favorite Indie bookstore.  Main Point Books in Wayne did a fabulous job of matching me up with this book that I might not have read otherwise.  I needed something with a great story that would make me feel good and this was perfect. 

This is the story of two sisters, one farm and the lives that they share.  I loved this book for its great story, quirky subject, and great writing.  I sat down with this book and had read over a hundred pages before I looked up.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

April 2022 GMA Book Club Pick

I don’t even know where to begin with this unique story. Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 50s when women were expected to know their place in society — their place being the kitchen and the home.

Elizabeth struggles to be taken seriously in her field and as a single mother, that just won’t due. So when an offer to host a cooking show for women is put in her path she reluctantly takes it.

She uses her no-nonsense attitude and chemistry principles to teach the women in America to not only cook but to follow their dreams outside of the home.

Zott is a quirky character like Eleanor Oliphant with a charming daughter and a dog whose inner monologue is as quirky as hers. An absolutely wonderful read!

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time.

Elderly, recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.

But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.

Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what really happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.

I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favorite book of the year so far.

Non-Fiction Political Books about Women in the Workplace

From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein

This memoir about Beck’s life as the stenographer in the Obama White House read like a fiction book. It was like Sex and the City meets Scandal.

I had no idea how juicy things got in Washington! I also appreciated how much Beck respected the Obamas and the work they did for our country. This is one of my favorite non-fiction books abut women in the workplace.

First Women by Kate Andersen Brower

This non-fiction book about the powerhouse women behind the presidents was fascinating. I had no idea what a job being the First Lady really is…an unpaid one at that! This intimate look at the many hats the modern First Lady plays showcases all the women from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama that have been FLOTUS.

I was fascinated to see the differences between Hillary Clinton to Lady Bird Johnson. I know FLOTUS is one job I never want to have, but I have such respect for all the women that have held that office.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I am so happy that I finally read this book.  Michelle Obama is a brilliant woman who is so well-spoken with such a wonderful story to tell. 

I listened to this and was so happy to hear the story read by Obama herself.

For more stories like these, head to our list of Books about Women in Politics

Non-Fiction Books about Women in the Workplace

The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt

This nonfiction book sheds light on the talent of Disney’s pioneering female animators and the struggles they faced in a male-dominated field. I loved learning about these incredible women – like Mary Blair who created the art for the “It’s a Small World” ride. ⁣

I was appalled by the disparate treatment female in the animation field received, but I was also impressed by their gumption. The author does a tremendous job of showing their struggles put also how these women shaped animation as we know it.

I was heartened to see just how far they have come. The book ends with Frozen and you could clearly see the studio’s growth.⁣

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Woman Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

This true and amazing story of the black mathematicians and their role in the space race reads like a fiction novel.

So many people know this story because of the movie but, the book gives so many more details- as is usually the case with adaptations.

Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell

While I’m always interested in the justice system, I often find non-fiction books about the topic to be dry, too technical, or just plain confusing.

But not Judge Cordell’s book which has a perfect balance of example-based stories and explanation of legal issues without the legalese that can be confusing to those outside the justice system.

Her detailed antidotes about her life on the bench were compelling and troubling, drawing me in, and forcing me to see that our legal system needs to work across ALL divisions.

I spent most of my time listening to this book, which is narrated by Judge Cordell, and I couldn’t pause it. I finished it in one day while ignoring life around me.

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

I read this book in college and I still think of it today. For one year, Barbara set out to live off minimum wage at the lowest paying jobs in America.

Over the course of the year, she is a hotel maid, a waitress, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aid, and a Wal-Mart associate. Her stories of the conditions she lives in and what people need to do to get by on the poverty line fundamentally changed the course of many people’s thinking over the years.

It shows how hard people are working for minimum wage, how little those salaries get you, and just what is wrong with what we value in this country.

Did you find any books about women in the workplace to add to your list?

The post 22 Books about Women in the Workplace appeared first on Beyond the Bookends.

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