Happy International Women's Day!
I am proud to call myself a strong, independent, confident, constantly growing, creative, empathetic, sensitive, original, sassy, unedited, curious kitty of a woman. I am proud to describe so many of the women in my life with the same descriptors. I am so appreciative and proud of my friends, family and complete strangers that shock me daily with their uninhibited strength and courage to unapologetically do what they want, for what they believe in, whenever they please.
There has been no better time to be a woman in history than now. There is no shortage of strength (documented and undocumented) being projected by women worldwide. Women who continue to break the status quo, continue to relentlessly fight for their rights and freedoms and who will stop at nothing until gender equality has been achieved, roam among us and need to be celebrated.
I don’t have to tell you that there are still ways to go. There are still many battles being fought, many women who need help, many women bound by their own country’s unethical gender discriminating regulations. But, there are some noteworthy women with the resources needed, trying to do their part to help foster better lives for the female population around the globe.
Here are some ladies you should be looking up to:
This woman is not only a goddess but an intelligent, educated lawyer and activist fighting for social justice on multiple issues. She has previously lectured on criminal law and continues to fight for women globally. She has contributed to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative, that works to defend women’s rights in war zones, has represented Armenia against Turkey for the denial of the Armenian genocide, and most recently has partnered with the second notable woman on this list to bring the Islamic State to justice in front of the International Criminal Court.
(Side note: I am beyond excited that there will be two little Amal minis running around this world soon enough)
In the Economist’s February/March issue, Nadia shares her story. Nadia watched as the Islamic State murdered her friends and family because of their Yazidi faith. She was held captive for weeks and raped daily. Nadia escaped her captors and is now working with her lawyer, Amal Clooney, fighting for justice. Nadia is not alone. Thousands of women are experiencing the horrors she had to face. Her strength and perseverance and her ability to share the terrifying details with the world in hopes to change what is happening in her home country and around the globe is heart wrenchingly inspiring.
To read more about Amal and Nadia’s fight for justice click here.
“Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.”
I don’t really need to tell you what Emma Watson has done for women. Her feminist efforts are matched by her unedited vocalizations. Effortlessly shutting down internet trolls who claim she can’t possibly be a feminist because she posted a picture of her body (*Gasps* Women have breasts?!). Emma is a pioneer of the HeForShe campaign, encouraging men to advocate for women’s rights and the notion that equality needs the efforts of men’s voices too. Emma continuously publicizes the fact that feminism is simple. Feminism is not a confusing concept. Feminism is equality.
Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration and a reminder for women worldwide that there is much to do to ensure equal opportunities for women, especially when it comes to education. If you live under a rock here is a synapse of her story. Malala and her father have always been advocates for female education. In their home country of Pakistan, through death threats, they continued speaking out about the importance of education. However, in 2012, when Malala was walking home from school, she and two of her friends were attacked. Malala was shot and the bullet went through her head, neck and shoulder. Clearly, she was not going to let anything stop her. Malala is now recognized as a global advocate for girls being denied a formal education.
Not only did Malala win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, but she donated every cent of her winnings to finance an all-girls secondary school in Pakistan.
To read more about Malala you can visit her website or pick up a copy of her book “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” at your local bookstore.
Former First Lady, amazing Mother and women’s advocate started the Let Girls Learn initiative a couple years ago. She knows that over 62 million girls around the world don’t have access to formal education. She has the resources and power to influence women everywhere. Previously, Michelle and Let Girls Learn, partnered with massive charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help open an education camp in Rwanda. Let Girls Learn also has partnered with Nike Foundation in which the two have aimed to reduce the spread of HIV in countries with a high HIV prevalence.
Click here to learn more about Michelle Obama’s legacy and the Let Girls Learn initiative.
Ellen Page called herself a feminist before calling yourself a feminist was cool. Ellen Page called herself a feminist when the largest celebrities would dance around the question and be fearful of identifying as a feminist because of the small mindedness the world bestowed around Hollywood. Not only a self-proclaimed feminist but also a role model for the LGBTQ community. In 2014, Page came out publicly at the HRCP Time to Thrive Conference. Her authenticity and courageous delivery of her speech there is something you NEED TO SEE if you haven’t already. Click here to cry.
Page continues to advocate for women’s and LGBTQ rights. In January, she calmly confronted a homophobic preacher in D.C. Reinstating Michelle Obamas’s “When they go low, we go high” call to action. Watch the video here.
“Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement – good. It should be”
– Ellen Page
I could write a 50 page paper about influential women in this day and age. There is no shortage of strength and courageousness to go around. Today, think about the amazing women that surround you. Thank them for being in your life. Continue to fight for what you believe in. Don’t stand down, or by, when turbulence or roadblocks get in your way.
As women, we have the power to change the world (and you know it). Don’t waste this glorious power.
Happy International Women’s Day, you beautiful babes.