“we all move forward when
we recognise how resilient
and striking the women
around us are”
It looks like 2018 will be our year. By ‘our’ I mean we women, who have been misrepresented, sexualised and generally mistreated for centuries. It’s been 100 years since women won the vote and our plees for equality are louder than ever.
We have started the year (and our future) as we mean to go on; The Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment and assault has been prominent in mainstream media since it was announced by The New York Times in January (if you want to read the full ‘Open Letter From Time’s Up’ click here). Since its founding, every acceptance speech this award season has been filled with powerful words along the lines of ‘we’re not taking this shit anymore’.
Of course, there’s also #MeToo, which followed us into 2018 and is still continuing to give women who have experienced sexual assault a voice that they didn’t feel they had before. The hashtag has been used online over a million times on the Twitter accounts of those bravely willing to share their stories; including inspirational women such as Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Therman.
Whether you’ve been inspired by women wearing all black to the Golden Globes or holding white roses at The Brits, the coming together of women in the public eye is a lesson to all of us females around the world. We should be standing in solidarity, not just in issues surrounding sexual abuse, but in all aspects of inequality towards women.
This International Women’s Day, I’m taking some time out to recognise and celebrate the women who I consider to be my role models, those who are making huge changes to how the world sees women.
Although many will still see her as “that Harry Potter girl“, Emma Watson is one of the most powerful forces when it comes to gender equality. She is a proud UN Women Goodwill ambassador and an advocate of the HeForShe campaign which was launched by UN Women in September 2014. The campaign “is inviting people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality” and Watson’s speech “Gender equality is your issue too” perfectly outlines their main aims.
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To celebrate today’s #internationalwomensday I’ll be curating @natgeo’s Instagram feed, selecting and sharing powerful images taken by National Geographic’s emerging female photographers around the world. Women photographers are often under-represented and under-celebrated, so I’m thrilled to mark this day by profiling the talented female story-tellers and image-makers that are working hard to build empathy across borders x #iwd2018 #timesup
In 2015, Tanya used her online presence for something truly incredible. She gained her huge social media following from filming make-up tutorials in her bedroom, but now she is a successful business woman, author and proud UN ambassador.
Being at the forefront of the UN’s Global Goals campaign, Tanya was heavily involved in their Gender Equality goal, which was number 5 on a list of 17 aims agreed upon by 193 world leaders to put a stop to poverty, fight inequality and end climate change.
She got her audience of young women to think carefully about gender inequality and how they could stand up and make a difference. She has also spoken out about issues such as period poverty and marched in the #FreePeriods protest at the end of last year.
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This evening hundreds of us gathered opposite Downing St campaigning for Theresa May to make the decision for the government to provide all girls already on free school meals with free menstrual products. I didn’t realise period poverty existed until about a month ago until I heard about Amika’s campaign, but it is REAL. Girls who can’t afford pads and tampons are using things like newspaper or socks and taping them to their knickers which can be really dangerous and detrimental to their health, others are missing school for fear of bleeding through their school clothes, so are ending up behind in class. I really hope we made enough noise tonight to make a change. WELL DONE @scarcurtis @disgracecampbell & @amikageorge for putting together such a brilliant and inspiring protest ❤️ #FreePeriods
At the end of 2017, Georgia Toffolo, more commonly known as ‘Toff’, entered the jungle for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Best known for her appearances in Made in Chelsea, the British public already had a stereotypical assumption of Toff, but their assumptions couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Toff shocked viewers with her incredible knowledge and passion for politics and slammed other male campmates for some of their outdated gender stereotypes as she told them that she might be small, but she is mighty.
She has continued to encourage other young women to not be ashamed of taking an interest in current affairs and politics on her social media.
Former Detective Constable, Maggie Oliver, resigned from the Greater Manchester Police after she spoke out about the abuse that was happening during the Rochdale scandal. She had been instrumental to the investigation and gained the trust of vulnerable girls who had been victims of sexual abuse.
Maggie resigned “in disgust at the treatment of one the girls” and believed that what she saw in Rochdale “was police officers and senior cops acting without any shame because it was convenient to ignore the abuse they knew was happening.”
She was brave enough to speak out against the GMP as she felt she had to stand up for what she believed in.
Leanne is an Irish blogger that has used her platform pro-actively to campaign for the #repealthe8th movement. Abortion is currently still illegal in Ireland due to the amendment and 10-12 women travel to the UK every day to safely terminate their pregnancies, which is something that (I personally believe) should be a basic human right.
She has explained everything from what the 8th amendment is to the repeal the 8th referendum that is taking place in Ireland in May in more detail on her blog.
Rupi is an Indian-Canadian ‘Instagram-Poet’ that has published her collections milk and honey and the sun and her flowers. With over 2.3 million followers on Instagram, her poems that explore race, gender, sexual abuse and love are reaching a huge number of young women who are connecting with her words.
Before her poetry became an online phenomenon, Rupi’s first controversial incident with social media was during a college project, or ‘social experiment’, in which she posted a picture to Instagram with her clothes and bedding stained with menstrual blood. The image was removed from Instagram twice, before Kaur challenged it’s removal and it was eventually reposted. Make sure to read the caption on her post below.
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thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ this image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. you can view the full series at rupikaur.com the photos were shot by myself and @prabhkaur1 (and no. the blood. is not real.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.
Let me know all about your female role models and Happy International Woman’s Day!