The 26th August marks Women’s Equality Day – commemorating the date when votes to women officially became part of the US constitution. This day marks a turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment of women and women’s rights. Whilst we’ve come a long way, there’s still many hurdles we as women face and, this week, we’re taking some time out to celebrate those fantastic females who are working to make the world a fair and even playing field for all.
Here’s our top picks ready to inspire you…
Scarlett may only be 25 but this writer and campaigner has already made incredible steps when it comes to helping improve the lives of women. Not only did she co-found The Pink Protest, an online community of activists who supported the successful #FreePeriods campaign to get free menstrual products in schools, ensuring those impacted by period poverty didn’t miss out, she helped push a bill through Parliament to make FGM part of the Children's Act. Incredible lobbying that will help make the world safer for young women! As a writer, Scarlett has been a huge advocate for helping to dispel the stigma around mental health. Her book, ‘It's Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies)’, brought together high-profile figures to talk about their own mental wellbeing, helping to make women feel less alone.
Tired of the pain she suffered wearing heels for eight hours a day at work, Yumi decided to vent her frustration on Twitter. Within days, Japan's #kutoo movement was born, with thousands of women sharing stories about being forced to wear heels to work as part of their office uniform. Yumi gathered a petition of 20,000 signatures which she presented to the government over the issue. Yumi’s commitment to exposing this level of discrimination that impacts women in their daily lives was a hugely important one and highlighted the small societal touches that continue to hold us back and must be changed!
At the young age of 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. Having grown up in the Bronx, she defied the odds and defeated a veteran congressman in the June 2018 primaries, and has since been dubbed the future of the Democratic party. She rocked her trademark look of red lipstick and hoops for her swearing in ceremony as a statement, highlighting that “next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they're dressing like a Congresswoman.” Committed to fighting for a future where no person is left behind, Alexandria explained that “when people want to stop talking about the issues that black women face, trans women face, immigrant women face, we've got to ask them, ‘Why does that make you so uncomfortable?' Because it is not just about identity, this is about justice. Everyone deserves justice.”
The hugely respected philanthropist and businesswoman consistently champions women’s equality and works to improve the lives of the impoverished through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition, Gate’s investment company ‘Pivotal Ventures’ is on a mission to increase the role and power of women in the tech sector, helping to transform the traditionally male arena for the future. In 2019 she pledged $1 billion to promote gender equality in the US over the next 10 years by dispelling the barriers women face at work, creating opportunities for women to scale to leadership positions and making sure businesses are held accountable for fostering gender equality.
Actress Jameela Jamil is best known as Tahani Al-Jamil on NBC’s The Good Place, but the London-born star has been doing much more than making audiences laugh. Jamil is committed to using her fame to inspire confidence in women and young girls, advocating for greater discussion around body image. In 2019 she kicked off her “I Weigh” campaign which called on women to focus more on what’s on the inside rather than what’s on the outside and sparked a social movement in the process. From calling out reality stars pushing weight loss products to celebrating body diversity, Jameela’s work has been inspiring and truly impactful.
Megan Rapinoe famously led the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team to become World Cup Champions in 2019. However, when it comes to Megan’s contribution to female equality there is so much more to this athlete. Rapinoe took on the dubious task of fighting for equal pay in sports and even sued the United States Soccer Federation for alleged gender discrimination. Megan explained; “Don’t settle for anything less, go for equal, go for more, don’t accept any of these sort of antiquated and BS answers.”
We hope these wonderful names inspire you to get out there and make a difference, because when women support women, incredible things happen!