Seven influential women who are making history 04/03/2021

International Women’s Day is on Monday 8th March 2021 and we thought it would be the perfect time to shout about some of the amazing women we think are inspiring other women everywhere!

@Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Greta Thunberg

You’ve probably heard of the Swedish teenager taking on big corporations to tackle the ever-growing issue of climate change. Greta is no bystander when it comes to talking about the global climate issues that our planet is facing. It all started when in 2018, 15-year-old Greta won a climate change essay competition in a local newspaper. Later, she protested outside the Swedish parliament for the government to meet the carbon emissions target agreed by world leaders in Paris in 2015. Greta held a sign that read ‘School strike for climate change’, she regularly missed lessons on a Friday to protest urging a generation around the world to do the same. The hashtag #Fridaysforfuture went viral and by December 2018, more than 20,000 students around the world had joined her.

Greta continues to share her voice and attends many talks about climate change. The teenager won Times person of the year in 2019, she has since addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the pope and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike in September 2019, the largest climate demonstration in human history.

“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,”

Gina Martin

An activist, campaigner, author and law changer. Gina uses her social platform to back important causes and spreads her message that anyone can be an activist. Gina is known for changing the law to make upskirting illegal. In 2017 Gina was upskirted during a festival. Upskirting refers to the act of taking photos or videos under a person’s clothes without consent. It was two years of hard work and determination that allowed Gina and her lawyer Ryan Whelan to change the law to make upskirting illegal, the new legislation means that those convicted of the crime face up to two years in prison. Gina has since written her book, a toolkit for anyone wanting to make a change. 

“BE THE CHANGE is an essential handbook for the modern activist, whether your campaign is big or small, local or global, or somewhere in between”.

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Michelle Obama

Of course, this icon needs to be on our list, I mean where do we start. Michelle is a lawyer, writer and the first African-American first lady of the United States. With her many achievements, Michelle inspires a generation of women with her activism and intiatives. Some of the things Michelle is involved in;

“In 2010, she launched Let’s Move!, bringing together community leaders, educators, medical professionals, parents, and others in a nationwide effort to address the challenge of childhood obesity”.

“In 2011, Obama and Dr. Jill Biden came together to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities”. 

“In 2014, Obama launched the Reach Higher Initiative, an effort to inspire young people across America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university”. 

“In 2015, Michelle joined President Obama to launch Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government-wide initiative to help girls around the world go to school and stay in school. As part of this effort, Obama is calling on countries across the globe to help educate and empower young women, and she is sharing the stories and struggles of these young women with young people here at home to inspire them to commit to their own education”.

Michelle still continues to inspire and educate in her efforts to support women and young people. 

Jameela Jamil

An actress, radio presenter, model, writer, activist and founder of the I Weigh movement.

” Two years ago we started an Instagram account to try to create a safe and radically inclusive space on social media. A lot of us want to help others and change the world for the better, but don’t know where to start.
Activism can seem daunting. Sometimes it’s just hard and lonely. At I Weigh Community, we don’t believe it has to be that way. We believe in brick-by-brick activism, and making a difference in large numbers. We’re going to have to come together and do this as one to really shift the narrative of our society”.

Jamil inspires women and the LGBTQ+ community by talking about issues of patriarchal oppression, lack of representation, mental health and eating disorders. Now living in LA, the British born activist isn’t afraid of calling out harmful social media behaviours and dangerous celebrity endorsements. We can’t help but love her from her T4 days to her shouting about inclusivity. Yes, girl!

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Malala Yousafzai

You’ve almost definitely heard of Malala, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“My father was a teacher and ran a girls’ school in our village. I loved school. But everything changed when the Taliban took control of our town in Swat Valley. The extremists banned many things — like owning a television and playing music — and enforced harsh punishments for those who defied their orders. And they said girls could no longer go to school. I spoke out publicly on behalf of girls and our right to learn. And this made me a target. In October 2012, on my way home from school, a masked gunman boarded my school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” He shot me on the left side of my head. I woke up 10 days later in a hospital in Birmingham, England. The doctors and nurses told me about the attack — and that people around the world were praying for my recovery”.

Following her move to the UK and her degree at Oxford University, Malala continues to support and be the voice for women in Education. The young woman set up the Malala fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to a future she chooses.

“With more than 130 million girls out of school today, there is more work to be done. I hope you will join my fight for education and equality. Together, we can create a world where all girls can learn and lead”.

Michaela Coel

A British actress, screenwriter, director, producer and singer. You may have seen her in the iconic programme ‘I may destroy you’, a TV programme about a woman who was sexually assaulted in a nightclub, her life changes and she is forced to reassess everything.

Michaela breaks the mould using her own experience of being drugged and assaulted by a stranger in her TV series. “It’s rare that you see a Black woman writing, directing, and starring in their own TV show centered around the trauma she experienced.” This was something new, something all its revolutionary own.

“Michaela Coel played the lead, wrote the script,co-directed and acted as executive producer. Not only is that unheard of for a young black British female auteur, but her drama tackled the crucial issues of the year with a depth and emotional intelligence that remains unmatched”.

Michaela challenges stereotypes and breaks the mould, we can’t wait to see what she does next.

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Munroe Bergdorf

A model and activist this force to be reckoned with woman passionately believes in inclusivity for all, no matter your race, ability, religious beliefs, sexuality or gender identity.

“I happen to be mixed-race and transgender. I was assigned male at birth, but never felt comfortable with that label. Adolescence was confusing for me and at 24, finally, I began identifying outwardly as female. This was an incredibly freeing time for me and the start of my transitional journey – one that I accept will never fully conclude itself.
I dedicate my time to pushing forward and educating others on race and identity”.

Munroe continues to open up the conversation on PTSD, race, sexual assault and the transgender community. Munroe has achieved many things in her activism career including being awarded an honorary doctorate for contributions campaigning for transgender rights in 2019 by the University of Brighton.