Today, we may take it for granted that a woman can be the secretary of state, the CEO of a big company or even president of a nation but it wasn’t so long ago when it was just a dream for a woman to achieve any of these accomplishments.
There has been several women in our history who have broke records, broke ground, blazed trails, and suffered trials, shattering glass ceilings and even tougher stuff. Young women today can owe these freedoms to the courageous women who broke boundaries before them.
However, despite the enormous progress women have made, much work remains before we can declare equality between the sexes. That’s why today we want to honor and share a list of women to look out for on 2017 because they might as well be in history books in the years to come.
Kamala Devi Harris is an American attorney and politician who is the junior United States Senator from California. Harris is just the second black woman ever elected to the upper chamber. She’s also the first Indian-American ever elected to the Senate. Among her more high-profile efforts: eliminating the state’s backlog of untested rape kits, leading attorneys general standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and she played a big role in the fight for marriage equality.
Sam Bailey and Fatima Asghar
Sam Bailey and Fatima AsgharDirector Sam Bailey and writer Fatimah Asghar created a web series called Brown Girls, an intimate story of two friends navigating the messiness of their twenties in Chicago. They brought something honest and rare to television: young people of color telling their own stories. Asghar says: “In politically turbulent times, these representations are important as we’re being silenced on an identity level.”
The woman of standing rock
women are the backbone of the movement. The women of Standing Rock are willing to risk their lives to stop the pipeline construction that desecrated their ancient burial and prayer sites and threatens their land, water, and very existence. They exemplify what it means to be an authentically empowered woman in the matrilineal way of being. A woman’s strength is motivated by a desire to serve the greater good.
On the night Donald Trump was elected president, Ilhan Omar became the United States’ first Somali-American state lawmaker, She is a Muslim American, a Somali, and a refugee. “The best thing you can do in this world is be the best of you — by the way you lead, and the way that you live — I think that should be your legacy.” Omar said of the posturing common of politicians.
In 2016, Marley created a book drive, #1000BlackGirlBooks, to ensure more young black girls saw themselves represented in books. Since her story went viral, Marley has been able to collect 8,000 books to donate to young girls. She also became editor-at-large of her on mini zine on Elle.com, Marley Mag. This year, she is is publishing an activism guide for children and teens. Go Marley!
In 2014, she was awarded British Artist of the Year by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In the same year, in efforts of becoming one of the foremost celebrity faces of feminism in the world, she was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Only three months later, she pushed to launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, an initiative to call men to advocate for equal rights and opportunities for both men and women and making them feel comfortable calling themselves feminists.
Is serving as the junior United States Senator for Illinois since 2017.Tammy is easily one of the biggest badasses in the incoming Senatorial class. Duckworth is the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand. In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq to fly helicopters in combat. She lost both her legs when the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. In the years since, she’s become an outspoken advocate for Veterans, was awarded the Purple Heart for her heroic efforts in the military.
Queen Elizabeth II
Even though she is not a new face, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She celebrated 65 years on the throne in February 2017 and counting. No female head of state even comes close to Elizabeth’s record for longevity or clout. Elizabeth II is more than just a figurehead, she is a veritable global institution – just recently slowing her grueling schedule of world travel at the age of 90. Talking about endurance, have you seen The Crown?
Organizers of the Women’s March
Lastly, at the beginning of this year we witnessed a powerful movement: men and women coming together for the same cause. Thanks to all the organizers, including Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland, there’s now action steps to fight for issues we care about. The Women’s March’s platform calls for equal rights for women but also racial and economic equality; anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans; access to affordable reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion; criminal justice reform; an increase in the federal minimum wage; immigration reform; and protections for the environment.
Props to all these wonderful women and many more that are not included on this list fighting for equality and human rights!