First, they came for the Presidency. Then, they came for Harry Potter. Then, they came for Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year. But what about the women?
Although the tone is light, I’m chatting about the serious manhandling (pun intended) of the personal and political realms in society by men this year. Indeed, this was the week where Bono was named Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year (because he just gets women, you know?), Johnny Depp was cast in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film (whilst his ex, Amber Rudd, is shunned by the glitterati for speaking out about her abuse) and, well, Trump.
It feels like the world is melting a little bit. Men in high places with too much money and too much power and not enough bloody respect, taking over our television screens, our political offices, our courtrooms and our paving slabs.
It can get pretty sad/lonely/boring seeing the same type of person being celebrated in society. Especially when they’re not very nice at all. So, since mainstream media won’t display the diversity and vibrancy of the women out there, and since history pretty much writes out and over women’s achievements and voices, I think it’s time to inject a little solidarity into the world. And I want you to do so as well.
Here are my top sheroes (in no particular order, because I don’t want to rate/pit women against each other, ew) – women who remind me that women are badass and beautiful and pretty much the strongest thing in the world. I want to hear yours! Let’s make some room for them on the stage, guys.
- Candice Brown – This year’s GBBO winner who, through sheer Cockney strength and an impressive range of lip shades, showed determination, vulnerability and passion in equal measure. Her creativity was dazzling and her friendliness in the tent was heart-warming. She was a true champion, showing us that you really can make your dreams come true.
- Malala Yousafzai – A Nobel Peace Prize winner at just 17, Malala is a global advocate for girls’ education across the globe. After being shot by the Taliban in her homeland of Pakistan, she defied expectations to continue speaking out about the necessity of getting girls’ educated in order to secure their political, social and economic freedom.
- Leymah Gbowee – A Liberian peace activist who led a women’s peace movement, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Demonstrating the power of collective action, and women’s organisation, she has literally helped shape the future of a nation.
- Priscilla Mensah – Ms Mensah was President of the Cambridge University Students’ Union last year when I worked there. She was the first ever Black Woman to be elected to the position, and came to the role after earning a Double-First, working with the National Organization for Women in America and generally being a superstar intersectional feminist. In her time as President, she introduced new policies to do with unconscious bias training for staff, racial discrimination legislation and equitable education provision for all students. All this whilst being a phenomenal ally and inspirational woman.
- The women of Iceland – Okay, so it’s not one woman, but literally the entire women population of Iceland are incredible. On October 24 1975, 90% of Iceland’s women refused to work, cook or look after children in protest at the state of women in the country. For many, it was a wake-up call,and today, Iceland is regularly ranked the best country in the world for gender equality. That didn’t stop the women protesting again recently at the 14% pay gap that still exists by leaving work 14% early. Badass.
Oh, and my mum. Obviously.
So they’re my sheroes – spanning decades, countries, races and ages, but all confirming that being a woman is pretty incredible and that, over time, we’ve done some pretty incredible stuff. I’d love to hear about the women in your life who inspire you – so get in touch! Let’s introduce a little positivity back into the world!
Written by Charlotte Chorley, Shape History’s Campaign Partnerships Lead.