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Who runs the world? Men. Which is why we need feminism.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to do some things to promote feminism and encourage everyone to stand up and fight for equality. Yesterday, I took part in YouTube’s #HerVoiceIsMyVoice campaign by creating a video called “How to Be a Feminist.” (Please watch it. I try really hard to be funny while also providing useful information! Win-win!)
In that video, I mentioned how important it is to find women who inspire you to speak up and be a part of this movement. So for today’s blog post, I wanted to talk about some of the women who inspire me.
At 2 years younger than me, Malala’s story is an absolute inspiration. She has been advocating for female education since she was a child in Pakistan, and has faced incredible difficulties (such as receiving death threats and being shot) because of it. But she survived and has continued to devote her life to female education. She even became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of 19, she has already started her own fund, opened schools for refugee girls, and written a book, I Am Malala*. Malala is an incredible inspiration, not only for her age, but also for her incredible strength and passion.
Perhaps one of the most widely-recognized feminists, Emma is so much more than “that girl from Harry Potter.” As the Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and a fierce believer in education, Emma frequently speaks out about feminism and gender equality. She even started “Our Shared Shelf,” a feminist book club which aims to further readers’ feminism education and promote constant learning. Emma is the epitome of a celebrity who has used her platform for the greater good.
Best known for her role in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Laverne is an advocate for transgender rights both on and off screen. As a transgender woman herself, she has devoted her career to activism and has played a large role in the increase of transgender awareness in recent years. She is another example of a woman who has used her accomplishments, such as being the first openly transgender individual to be nominated for an Emmy award and appear on the cover of Time Magazine, to inspire and increase awareness.
Maya was a poet, writer, and activist who passed away in 2014, but her work no doubt continues to resonate today. Throughout her life, Maya was a strong supporter of women’s rights and the pro-choice movement. Her politically-charged poetry often influenced many women’s lives. She particularly resonated with black women who felt like they didn’t belong. Her famous book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings*, speaks on themes of race and femininity and became an important part of the Civil Rights and Feminist movements.
Perhaps better known by her YouTube name, iiSuperwomanii, Lilly is one of the most popular online video creators today. She not only uses her platform to promote female struggles and positivity, but she also recently started an online campaign against girl-on-girl hate. “Girl Love” is a massive online movement that encourages girls to compliment each other and spread positivity. As an added bonus, all of the revenue from her original #GirlLove video is donated to the Malala Fund.
Gloria is an activist and writer who has only become more inspirational with age. She has been advocating for the feminist movement and inspiring women for decades, writing many books and speeches on various topics related to women’s rights. Gloria has also founded many women’s rights groups including the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Action Alliance, and Choice USA. She also originated one of my favorite quotes, “decisions are best made by those who are affected by them.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
As an award-winning Nigerian writer and speaker, Chimamanda is well-known for her beautiful and inspiring TEDx talks on intersectional feminism. Her speeches aim to teach women what it means to be a feminist and how to embrace other races and gender identities within the movement. Her bestselling book, We Should All Be Feminists,* discusses what it means to be a woman and is at the top of my to-be-read list.
Karlie may be best known for being a supermodel, but there is so much more to her than that. Not only is she inspirational in her own life, but she works hard to inspire other girls as well. Most notably, she founded “Kode with Klossy,” a scholarship program that gives girls the opportunity to learn coding; a largely male-dominated field. In doing this, she consistently inspires young girls to go against societal norms and reminds them that women are incredibly smart, strong, and powerful.
These eight women are only a few of the incredible people who have devoted their lives or used their platform to advocate for women’s rights. Whether big or small, these people have had a huge impact in my life and no doubt many others.
So on this International Women’s Day (or any day, really), I hope you feel inspired to do your part in fighting for women’s rights. So go out there and be the badass woman I know you are!
Who are the women that inspire you? Let us know in the comments!