Today is International Women’s Day, a celebration of the many social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Full Court Press rounded up some of the female figures who have most inspired us. These change-makers are merely a small sample of the incredible women working to make the world a better, more just place for all. They demonstrate for us all ways to #BeBoldForChange .
Sarah’s pick: I’m inspired by Dolores Huerta’s decades of activism for women, immigrants, workers, the environment, and many more issues. She has helped change our laws, elect women to public office, built bridges across different social movements, and is still going strong in her 80’s. I was so glad to see that she was honored by President Obama in 2012 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a civilian can receive in our country.
Erin’s pick: I’m emboldened by Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced by critics or oppressors. Senator Warren recently rose above the noise to read a pointed criticism from the late Coretta Scott King of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Warren’s perseverance gave rise to this generation’s new battle cry, reclaimed straight from the mouths of GOP leaders intending to minimize and silence her.
“Nevertheless, she persisted.” — a crowning moment of inspiration from Warren, and a brief history of every woman who’s ever taken a stance for change.
Caitlin’s pick: Thomas Jefferson said, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” No one demonstrates living this truth more than former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. She was fired by the forty fifth President of the United States for ordering her staff not to defend an executive order that closed the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominately Muslim countries. Yates unapologetically defied a sitting president, holding steadfast to her duty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. I’m grateful for women like Sally Yates who show men and women alike what it means to demonstrate exemplary character and principled leadership.
Dan’s pick: Today I’d like to celebrate Golda Meir – a diplomat, a stateswoman, a leader, and Israel’s first female Prime Minister. Her amazing life journey led from the pogroms of Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century to teaching in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and eventually to being a key voice in the founding of the modern state of Israel. She served with great distinction in many roles in the government and in civic life. She was a leader with great intellect, sharp wit, and an indomitable will.
Erika’s pick: I’m encouraged and empowered by the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The Nigerian author not only gives a mean Ted Talk (and inspires Beyoncé!), but she powerfully captures the diverse experiences of women in the modern era. Her work not only depicts the female experience, but the immigrant experience and the expat experience. I’m inspired by her depiction of individuality and of home in a time where the technical and global often dominate, and her depiction of our shared humanity in a time when nationalism and division are on the rise. She proudly proclaimed that “We should all be feminists”, and profoundly demonstrates the importance of voice, storytelling, and representation in the fight for equality.
Audrey’s pick: On International Women’s Day, I am reminded that women are disproportionately impacted by corruption, and I write to thank the women around the world who devote their lives to fighting for government transparency. Mukhtar Mai was gang raped in Pakistan in 2002 by a neighboring clan as a form of “honor revenge,” allegedly on orders from the village council. Although custom dictates that victims of such an atrocity should commit suicide, Mukhtar fought back by taking her assailants to court. In 2011, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted five of the six men convicted of gang-raping Mukhtar. Once she recovered from the attack, Mukhtar began her life as a women’s rights advocate and author – educating girls with the objectives to raise awareness and to prevent future honor crimes.