5 Awe-inspiring Women You Should Know About this International Women's Day

International Women’s Day brings with it a plethora of emotions. People feel inspired, liberated, and sometimes indignant. It is a day that has been recognized by the United Nations since 1975. In some countries, it is a public holiday. In others, it is a day of protest. Personally, I like to use it to become more cognizant of the remarkable women who are changing the world as activists, artists, political leaders, teachers, and so much more. I am always moved by the strength and tenacity of women. Learning more about them and their accomplishments make me more driven to follow in their footsteps and be unabashed in my womanhood. Here are some women who are currently changing the landscape with their fierce intelligence, steadfastness, and creativity.


1. Valarie Kaur

Valarie Kaur is a civil-rights activist, filmmaker, lawyer, and faith leader. She has advocated for issues such as net neutrality, anti-racism, and prison reform. Her debut film, Divided We Fall, became renowned as the go-to documentary on post-9/11 hate crimes. While working on her various projects, she identified what she calls the ethics of love. Today, she leads the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a public ethic. The project creates stories, films, curricula, and more to help mobilize people to practice the ethic of love. In a world full of anger and division, it is refreshing to see someone embolden others to practice love, empathy, and kindness.


2. Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay is an Emmy, BAFTA, and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker. Her work includes the historical drama Selma and Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time. She also directed 13th – a documentary addressing the prison industrial complex rampant in the United States, for which she was nominated for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Her next project is currently in production and is based on the notorious criminal case known as the Central Park Five. She is also integral in proliferating the work of women and people of colour through her production company Array. We are so excited to see what she has in store for us next!


3. Donna Strickland

University of Waterloo’s very own Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She won the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with her Ph.D. supervisor Gérard Mourou. In 1997, she became part of the UW faculty. She is currently developing high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations alongside her ultrafast laser group. Her research interests include ultrashort pulse generation through multi-frequency Raman generation, a two-colour fibre laser system for mid-infrared generation, and self-focusing in the crystalline lens. She has many awards and distinctions, including the 1999 Premier’s Research Excellence Award. Hooray for #WomenInSTEM!


4. Vicki Saunders

Vicki Saunders is a Canadian entrepreneur who is paving the way for the next generation of change makers. She is the founder of SheEO. This organization brings together 500 women annually who together help finance five women-led Ventures at zero interest. The company started out in Toronto but quickly transformed into a global initiative with ventures in places like Australia and Silicon Valley. In 2018, she was named 1 of 30 “World-Changing Women in Conscious Business” by Conscious Company Magazine. She is applauded for incentivizing the investment and empowerment of women.


5. Christine Sinclair

Christine Sinclair is the captain of the Canadian national soccer team and the most successful soccer player to ever compete for Canada. That’s right, not just the most successful female player, but the most successful overall. She has competed in the Olympics twice, bringing home a bronze medal from the London 2012 games. She has been named Canadian Player of the Year fourteen times and has been nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year seven times. In 2012, she was named Athlete of the Year by Sportsnet. This year, she and her team will represent Canada at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, so be sure to join us in cheering her on!


I hope you learned something new about the ways in which women are making a global impact in today’s society. Let us know which women you find inspiring in the comments below!


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