HALEY KOLSETH // ERICA VENABLE
International Women’s Day is a day backed by the United Nations in order to honor the achievements and struggles of women worldwide. March 8 goes out to the tall women and the short women, the petite women and the big women, the loud women and the quiet women, the suffragettes, the feminists, the moms, the business women, the actresses, the singers, the teachers, the role models and most importantly the women who empower and build up others so that they can have the opportunity to change the world.
The theme this year for International Women’s Day is Pledge for Parity which is the progression towards closing the gender gap between men and women internationally. In honor of this day, here are some of our personal favorite women.
Susan B. Anthony: An American suffragette and feminist who started her activism career with anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. Anthony founded the Women’s Loyal National League in 1863 to campaign for an amendment to the US constitution to abolish slavery in the United States.
Malala Yousafzai: An activist for the education of young girls who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for her known activism against the Talib ideals. Being shot did not discourage Malala, though. She spoke in front of the United Nations as part of her campaign to ensure free compulsory education for every child. Yousafzai is also the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lady Gaga: An openly bisexual women who uses her platform as a singer to raise awareness for causes such as rape prevention in her latest song “‘Til It Happens To You”, is the perfect example a powerful and independent woman. Her philosophy is “I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time”. She actively fought against the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy pertaining to soldiers’ sexualities.
Kesha Rose: A woman who is currently fighting to sue Lukasz Sebastian “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, the man who sexually, emotionally and verbally abused her for over a decade, and get released from her contract with the producer. She is determined to use this lawsuit as a way to try and regain control of her career and personal freedom over her music. Kesha Rose is a role model for young men and women who are afraid to speak out about sexual abuse.
Rosie the Riveter: An American icon who is a symbol of a time where women worked together to serve their country proudly during WWII. Women had achieved much during World War II in professions that had been previously closed to them for years. During the war, women had proven that they could do a “man’s job.”
Gloria Steinem: A woman who is recognized as a spokesperson and activist for the Feminist Movement in the early 60s and late 70s. Steinem works “to make women visible and powerful in the media” through her organization Women’s Media Center.
Ellen Degeneres: A woman who is an active member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community and has made great strides for women involved in comedy. She holds multiple People’s Choice Awards, her most recent awarded to her for Favorite Humanitarian.
Oprah Winfrey: A woman who received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Entertainer of the year award in 1989 when people of color were struggling to gain recognition in the entertainment industry and has earned multiple Emmy Awards for her talk show.
Michelle Obama: The first African-American first lady of the United States who took initiative to improve the health of children through her organization, Let’s Move! Michelle Obama is also the only First Lady to hold two Ivy League degrees, making it known that she is not an extension of her husband but an independent woman of her own. First Lady Obama has empowered young girls and boys to eat healthier as well as know that they can overcome any obstacles that stand in their way.
Emma Watson: An actress who fights for gender equality through the organization HeForShe and has delivered multiple speeches in front of the United Nations about gender equality. On top of that she has been involved in the fight for women’s education in third world countries such as Bangladesh and Zambia.
Kathryn Smith: The first female assistant coach in the National Football League. Smith was hired in January of 2016 as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bills. The team hopes that the league will follow suit and offer more positions to women in the future.
Sally Ride: The first female astronaut to go to space, joined NASA in 1978 as part of the Challenger voyage. Ride stayed in NASA until 1987, but was a part of the teams that investigated the Space Shuttle Columbia and Challenger disasters.
Mary Wollstonecraft: The woman who coined the feminist movement. She was a European philosopher who fought for equal rights for both genders in a time where such ideals were unheard of.
In the past 250 years since Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women, many advancements have been made to give women the much needed rights that they deserve.
Still, the fight is not over. In first-world countries such as the United States, women, especially women of color, still have a considerable wage gap from men and have to battle Congress for full control of their bodies.
In the United Kingdom, Parliament has enforced a luxury tax on feminine products, making women pay more for items that the British government find to be “luxurious” – items most women consider essential.
In third-world countries women and young girls are having their genitals mutilated as attackers go unpunished for the brutalities.
In countries such as India and certain African nations, young girls are being forced into arranged marriages as children.
On International Women’s Day it is important to stand up for our sisters all over the world who are being mistreated because of their gender and applaud the women who have been successful and have overcome gender roles to become positive role models for future generations.
As two strong feminist members of MV Media, we are proud to honor these and many more powerful and inspirational women from the past and present in hopes that future girls are empowered and brought up with confidence in their gender. Our hopes is that gender will no longer create obstacles for young girls and women to overcome. On behalf of MV Media, happy International Women’s Day, Vista.