International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a 100 years now and is observed on March 8, every year. In 2018, the theme for the day is #PressforProgress. This hashtag aligns with recent social justice movements. Scandals in Hollywood erupted, inspiring #metoo, giving women a voice as reported by The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. As an Attorney, I often learn about unsung heroes,
who are making strides and living #PressforProgress with their daily actions. While most of us know of Cleopatra, Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie, and Florence Nightingale, here are stories of three modern women who inspire me:
1. Preet Didbal – First Sikh woman mayor in the US, who is also a rape survivor.
2. Kamala Devi Harris, Attorney General - First Indian-American politician in history to represent California in the Senate.
3. Asha Puthli - Indian-born singer-songwriter, producer and actress who is considered a ‘world music’ pioneer, and has recorded ten solo albums for labels like EMI, CBS/Sony, and RCA, among numerous other works.
…and some more women from History you probably haven’t heard of who have been crucial to the women’s movement globally:
4. Olympe de Gouges: in the French Revolution, declared that women were equal to men.
5. Mary Wollstonecraft: British author and philosopher, mother of modern feminism.
6. Hatshepsut: pharaoh of Egypt who took male powers for herself.
7. Isabella I of Castile and Aragon, ruler of Spain who, as a partner ruler with her husband, sponsored Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World (among other significant contributions).
8. Barbara Jordan: first Southern African American woman elected to Congress.
9. Henrietta Lacks: The Immortal Woman - The human cells used in the tests for Polio, Cancer, Cloning all come from a young African-American woman named Henrietta Lacks.
10. Amelia Bloomer: Activist and Trendsetter, she established The Lily, one of the first newspapers written, edited, and published by women. She used this vehicle to advocate for women’s clothing reform to abandon corsets, petticoats for looser tops and shorter skirts with pants underneath.
Women, all across the globe, have been challenging archaic patriarchal notions and breaking barriers.. Think of all the courageous women you know, who manage multiple roles, act as backbones of institutions whether they be family, work or community! Thank them and celebrate them this International Women’s Day.
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