Books That Pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test

The test is a simple but effective way to determine gender equality in fiction. Let's put some books to the test!


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Coined by a 1985 comic strip from Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, the Bechdel Test is a simple but effective way to determine gender equality in fiction: The work must have 1) at least two female characters 2) with names 3) talking about something that’s not a man. For the term’s 30th anniversary, Bechdel pushed to rename it as the Bechdel-Wallace Test, for the woman who actually originated the term. While the Bechdel-Wallace Test is usually applied to movies, we’re looking at books: tales of fractious female friendship; of female prisoners or survivors united by unforeseen circumstances; of women who have so much on their minds with quests, survival, and love that they don’t have time to care about the other sex.


Bookshelf curated by Natalie Zutter.

Featured Image by Spiderplay/

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About Natalie Zutter

Natalie Zutter

NATALIE ZUTTER has always been a voracious reader, from reading Agatha Christie and Entertainment Weekly above her age level as a kid to squeezing 52 books into the year whenever podcasts aren’t taking over her commute. A 2016 Amtrak Residency writer, Natalie also writes plays about superheroes and sex robots, and Tumblr rants about fandom. You can find her giggling over pop culture memes on Twitter @nataliezutter.