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This past year has brought about many positive changes, especially in regards to female activism. Here is a list of  a few of the women who have been an inspiration to all of us this year, as we say goodbye to 2014.

Lena Dunham

Not only has Dunham been successful over the last few years with her hit television show Girls, she has also released her own novel called “Not That Kind of Girl” this year, in which she opens up to the public about a sexual assault she experienced when she was a teenager. Dunham opens up the floor to other women struggling with sexual assault, and is therefore a strong inspiration to all women.

Hazel McCallion

McCallion was  the fifth mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, holding the position since 1978. As of 2014, McCallion announced she was stepping down from her position as mayor and retiring at the age of 93. She is a true inspiration not just with her dedication to the city of Mississauga, but through her countless decades in Canadian politics, a field often dominated by men.

Lupita Nyong’o

Upon winning an abundance of awards for her role in the film 12 Years a Slave in 2013, Nyong’o has gone on to accomplish more than just acting since then. In 2014, she gave a speech on the beauty of black women and the racial insecurities she had as a child growing up. As well, Nyong’o  has become the face of Lancome, Vogue and Elle magazine.  In 2014, Nyong’o also helped to initiate the making of a baseball field in a historic neighbourhood in  Virginia, where slave trade used to take place before the Civil War. Nyong’o continues to change and represent the success of black women in the film industry.

Marissa Mayer

Mayer has been the president and CEO of Yahoo! for nearly two years, but remains a constant inspiration for all women. With a degree from Stanford University in symbolic systems and computer science, she has changed the face of women in the science and engineering field. Mayer brought about many changes to Yahoo! in 2014, including pairing up with the company Yelp and enhancing Yahoo’s video platforming by pairing up with BrightRoll. She has also doubled stock prices for the company.

Malala Yousafzai

Yousafzai, a Pakistani youth, has been a major influence to young women all over the world, through her dedication to the rights of children, women and educational rights. This past year , she spoke at the Girl Summit in London, received the World Children’s Prize, and donated $50,000 to help rebuild schools in Gaza. In 2014, she was announced as the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. You can read more about her story in her novel titled “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.

These women have been more than just strong influences within the last year. They are helping to change the face of women within society through religion, education. and race. Let’s see what 2015 will have to offer in terms of female empowerment! 

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Veronica Puistonen

Wilfrid Laurier

Contributing Writer for the WLU Campus Chapter. Fourth year Honours Communication Studies student. 
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