Thursday, March 8th was International Women’s Day, but really, isn’t everyday International Women’s Day?
In the past few months, we have seen so many amazing women raise their voices and start a new wave of activism and representation for all women. Here are five women who have done some amazing things and inspired us all to celebrate their strength and the strength of all women.
The Cuban high school senior has become an activist for gun control after surviving the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She is best known for her powerful speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale. Following her speech, González and her classmates have become young activists that are taking on gun control laws and even the NRA in the hopes of a better and safer future. In her powerful speech, González stated, “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about the mass shootings in America, but because we are going to be the last mass shooting.” González has presented us with an image of resilience and has shown us the power of the youth.
2. Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe made history by being the first African-American woman to win an Emmy in Comedy Writing for her work on “Thanksgiving,” an episode on the Netflix show Master of None. Since winning her Emmy, Waithe has created a new show, “The Chi,” about her hometown. She aims to present a new image of Chicago that is different from the stereotypical ideas of violence. Along with her amazing work in TV, Waithe is also part of the TIme’s Up movement, in which she has taken a very powerful role. When asked about her presence in Time’s Up, Waithe said, “It’s my job to be an ally for those women, but it’s also my job to pipe up and say, ‘But what about a black writer who is silenced on their own show? What about a queer person who is spoken to as if they were a second-class citizen?’” Waithe has made history, and on top of that, she is bringing awareness to the importance of creating a feminism that is intersectional.
3. Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke is the founder of the #MeToo movement, which was a groundbreaking movement allowing for many survivors of sexual assault to speak up and brings awareness to just how large of an issue sexual assault is. Burke also has her own company, Just Be Inc., which is a non-profit organization that offers help to victims of sexual assault and harassment. Burke has proved that there is nothing stronger than a woman’s voice, and has found a way to unite thousands of women across the country to support survivors. The #MeToo movement came to Augustana as well with many brave students talking about their experiences and raising more awareness on our campus. With Burke’s bravery, survivors have found a safe space where they can feel protected and make a huge difference in the national conversation on sexual assault.
4. Amika George
Like Gonzalez, Amika George is also a very young activist. The 18-year old from the UK is fighting against period poverty in the hopes that girls do not have to miss out on school and other activities just because they don’t have access or can’t afford menstrual products. Her #FreePeriod campaign aims to give free sanitary products to students that get free school meals. Menstrual poverty affects a lot of women all over the world, and George is doing everything she can to make a difference in at least one part of the world. She created this campaign in the hopes that the government of the UK would take notice and try to implement George’s idea. She has already gained support from the country’s Liberal Democrats, Green Party, and Women’s Equality Party. George doesn’t just want to stop at menstrual poverty, she wants to end the stigma and embarrassment that is associated with menstruation. With the way things are going, it seems George will be incredibly successful in her campaign and create a significant difference for young girls in the UK.
5. Amber Rose
Though many consider her to be just another celebrity, Amber Rose is so much more. She is an author, activist, and the founder of the Amber Rose SlutWalk. Rose has become an activist fighting slut-shaming and rape culture. Her annual SlutWalk looks to empower women and spread the message that a woman can be whoever she wants to be. The SlutWalk also raises awareness about gender inequality and injustice. It has been attended by over 20,000 people and has raised over $700,000. Rose’s main mission is to stop derogatory labels, especially “slut,” as such a label propagates rape culture and victim blaming. Rose has also been labeled as a “slut,” and instead of hiding from the label, she has embraced it and found a way to turn such a negative term into something that can be empowering for women who have faced discrimination.
Though International Women’s Day was on March 8th, we should support, empower, and find inspiration from women every day whether they are public figures, powerful activists, or women in our personal lives. Celebrating women of all walks of life is the best way we can continue the conversation on reaching equality for all.