Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is a celebration of everything it means to be a woman, whatever that means to you, but also a call to action to keep fighting for equal rights. It is a chance to celebrate our own successes and achievements – but also to celebrate those of others. Here are just a handful of amazing feminist moments from the past twelve months.
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1. Gina Martin got upskirting made illegal
After being targeted at a festival a few years ago and being told by police that upskirting was not a specific offence in UK law, writer and activist Gina Martin started a campaign to criminalise the act. Her petition received 50,000 signatures within mere days, and she worked with cross-party MPs to gain government backing. In April 2019, upskirting was made illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison.
2. Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic and spoke up for climate change
Not to mention her excellent Twitter sass battle with the President of the United States. I think we can all agree she won.
3. Ridhima Pandey, aged 11, joined Greta Thunberg at the UN to protest climate change
Greta Thunberg is far from the only teenage activist. When she was only nine years old in 2017, Pandey sued the Indian government for failing to take action on climate change, and she is still fighting. Four Indian cities rank among the 10 worst cities in the world in terms of air pollution, and Ridhima proves that even the youngest members of society are ready to stand up and speak out for the planet.
4. Ursula von der Leyen was elected the first female European commission president
In July, Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed as the European commission’s first female president. In an exemplary show of how people in power should make sure to open doors to other people too, she promised to ensure greater gender equality among the EU commissioners. Over the past 70 years, less than 20% of these commissioners were women.
5. Captain Marvel proved that female superhero leads are awesome
On last year’s International Women’s Day, Captain Marvel hit cinema screens in a burst of female power. It ranked at the 5th highest grossing film of 2019 and the ninth highest grossing superhero film ever – proving that a female-led superhero film was just what we needed.
6. Body positive icon Lizzo became Time Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year
The singer appeared on two magazine covers in the same day and was also the most nominated artist for the 2020 Grammy Awards. And this is probably only the beginning…
7. Jameela Jamil served the tea on harmful diet culture products
It takes some bravery to call out the actions of celebrities like Kim K. and Cardi B, but Jameela Jamil is having none of it. Many appetite-suppressant foods and ‘detox’ teas haven’t been regulated by food authorities despite the fact they claim to aid in weight loss – something which doctors find extremely worrying.
8. Women in Nigeria spoke up against sexual abuse
In August, Busola Dakolo, a Nigerian photographer, accused her former pastor of sexual assault and sparked a wave of #MeToo proclamations across West Africa. Unfortunately, these same women experienced a fierce backlash as critics accused them of lying or being complicit in their own assault – but perhaps this could be the beginning of a greater, more long-lasting movement to protect women.
9. The first all-female space walk finally took place
In a historic moment last October, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir replaced a failed power control unit on the ISS. The spacewalk took place seven months after it had been planned – because previously, the ISS only had one medium spacesuit on board.
10. Five women scored top spots in Finland’s government
The move was a beacon of hope in a time when so many governments around the world are moving towards more conservative and male-dominated politics. Four of the women are under 35.
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