Strong. Intelligent. Beautiful. Courageous. Caring. Thoughtful. Stubborn. Shy. Outgoing. Brave. These are just a handful of words that can be used to describe many of the women I’m lucky to have in my life. My mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, my cousins, my sister. They each embody different aspects of what I believe being a woman means, and they each show me different ways to improve myself and become the best kind of woman I can be. In honour of International Women’s Day, I felt that it would be fitting to showcase some of the brightest and most influential women in our world today. Truthfully, there are many women in society who inspire me, but these are just a few that have my attention lately. They each represent different ways that women have changed the world and strive to not only create a better world for us to live in, but to inspire others to become better as well.
Laverne, popularly known as Sophia Burset from Orange Is The New Black, is notably the first transgendered woman to face the cover of Time’s Magazine, as well as the first transgendered woman to be nominated for an Emmy award. As an LGBT advocate, Laverne demonstrates to young women, especially those who are a part of the transsexual and transgendered community, that being a woman is more than just your anatomy or the name you are given at birth. She reminds us that women are allowed to decide how they express their womanhood, that all women matter, and that each woman possesses the ability to achieve great things through courage and respect.
Made famous by her role in the Harry Potter films, Emma Watson is now an appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, as well as an advocator for feminism through her launch of the HeForShe campaign, which encourages men to support gender equality. Emma inspires young women and men to lead lives of respect and understanding, encouraging them to embrace equality and create a better and more positive world.
Though Malala is only 17 years old, she has accomplished more in her short life than most. As a Pakistani activist for female education, Malala has inspired the world and advocated for the necessity of schooling for young women. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and she also influenced the creation of Pakistan’s first Right to Education bill. Through her courage in the face of violence and adversity, Malala has demonstrated to young women that education is key in allowing them each to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness, and that each woman is deserving of this opportunity.
Judith is a philosopher and gender theorist who has famously challenged the notions of gender and gender performativity. She is an LGBT rights activist and inspires young women to embrace their gender and realize their potential, encouraging them to decide for themselves what defines them as women regardless of the systems that society has placed around them.
These are the women that we see every day. They are our teachers or professors, doctors, friends, employers, coaches, mentors and family; the people that guide us each day towards being the best kind of people we can be. They teach us new things about ourselves and the world around us, reminding us that we matter and that regardless of what anyone says, we can be successful and reach our goals. These are the woman that often make us who we are. They show us that all women matter, that all are important, and that all women deserve respect.