Women’s History Month: Four Empowering Women of Our Generation

March marks the celebration of Women’s History Month, the annual recognition of all the contributions that women have made throughout history.
 
The idea for the month was inspired by a weeklong celebration started by a school in Sonoma, California in 1978. They celebrated women's contributions to culture, history and society. This concept spread, and in 1987, instead of just a week-long celebration, the full month of March was recognized as Women’s History Month.
 
International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th every year, coincides with the month as well. The day reflects on the progress we've made, acknowledges what else can be done, and celebrates “acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”
 
So in honor of this month, here are four inspiring women currently making a difference in the world! 
 
 
1. Kat Blaque
Kat Blaque is a children’s illustrator, an animator, and a YouTuber. One of the most widely known transgender users on the site, she’s passionate about issues of racism, sexism, misogyny, and transphobia. She’s garnered over 100k followers on her Facebook page as well, writing and sharing posts regarding these issues. She sparks important and necessary discussions, while still being entertaining and engaging.
 
Most importantly, Blaque is vocal about the importance of intersectionality, which is the concept that describes how societal institutions (race, gender, class, etc.) are interconnected and can’t be talked about separately. She says, “I'm a woman, I'm black, I'm curvy and I'm trans. There are a lot of things that I deal with. When I talk about those things, I am literally talking about my embodiment of these intersections.”
 
 
 
2. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is an activist and a Noble Prize laureate. The youngest person ever to win the award, she’s a Pakistani women’s rights activist advocating for female education. Her activism made her a target of the Taliban, who in 2012, shot her in the head as she was traveling home from school. Luckily, she survived without suffering major brain damage, making her a hero at only 18!
 
Although she still remains a threat to the Taliban, nothing is stopping her from her advocacy. She’s the author of the autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, and the subject of a documentary titled He Named Me Malala. She established the Malala Fund, which brings “awareness to the social and economic impact of girls' education and to empower girls to raise their voices.” She also took all of her prize money ($1.1M) from the Nobel Prize and put it towards financing a school for girls in Pakistan.
 
 
 
 
3. Lilly Singh
Lilly Singh is a comedian and a YouTuber. Garnering over eight million subscribers and over one billion views, she’s become a household name on the site. Some of her most popular videos feature her impersonating her parents, where she dresses up and plays the parts of her mom and dad in skits. In doing this, she’s embracing her Indian culture and heritage, as well as sharing it with millions of others.
 
Recently, Singh launched the #GirlLove campaign, which aims to end girl-on-girl hate. Through this hashtag, she encourages women to acknowledge how amazing other women are, empowering women by standing together instead of against each other. She donated all the money she made from the video to the Malala Fund, raising $4000 for the cause.
 
 
 
 
4. Zendaya
Zendaya is a singer, dancer, actress, and model. Though she’s only 19, her talent is undeniable. She stars in the Disney Channel show, K.C. Undercover, just recently released her new song, “Something New,” earlier this year, and is the newest face of CoverGirl. She’s also not afraid of taking risks and doesn’t shy away from touchy topics, making powerful statements on social media and through her personal style. 
 
At the 2015 Oscars ceremony, she was seen confidently sporting dreadlocks and an off-the-shoulder dress. When Fashion Police’s Giuliana Rancic commented that she “feels like she [Zendaya] smells like patchouli oil...Maybe weed?” Zendaya was quick to shut her down. She writes on Twitter, “There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society … My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough. To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane.”
 
Happy Women's History Month to all the powerful ladies out there!