Women’s History Month Celebration!!

Welcome back to the 255! This week we are highlighting the work of activists all around the globe in celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. We picked out four specific individuals whose work we wanted to highlight. We encourage you to use this post as an inspiration to start following and supporting activists fighting for equity, equality, and social justice both near and far. Below are two fascinating articles on important women activists both international and domestic if you are interested in learning more. Also, throughout the post, we link other articles, podcasts, and videos for those wanting to dive further into the work of these women. Finally, we would like to acknowledge that the women we highlight in this post are just a few of the awesome, hard-working women fighting for global women’s rights. There are many more activists whose work is just as important. Without further ado, let’s get started!

LAVERNE COX

Marymount’s own alumni, Laverne Cox, is an American actress and LGBTQ+ rights advocate. Laverne Cox rose to fame through her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, in which Ms. Cox became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy award. Cox is known as a trailblazer for the transgender community, and has won many accolades for her activist work in spreading awareness and advocating for proper representation. In 2014, Laverne Cox was featured in Time magazine sharing her childhood story. Cox shattered the glass cieling and made headlines as the first transperson to be on the cover of Time. After sharing her personal story, Cox reminds the audience that “there’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience.” Cox was also the executive producer of Disclosure. This Netflix original film tells the story of Hollywood and the media’s evolving view of transgender people over the years, the violence the trans community faces, as well as movies and shows that have opened up opportunities for trans people to appear on screen. To learn more about Laverne Cox’s work, check out her ongoing instagram advocacy through her #TransIsBeautiful initiative and her podcast entitled “The Laverne Cox Show.”

MALALA YOUSAFZAI

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Malala was born in the Swat district of Pakistan where her father was a school owner and actively addressed educational issues. In 2009, Yousafzai blogged for the BBC explaining her experience during the Taliban’s growing influence in the region. As a result, the Taliban attempted to assassinate Malala in 2012 as she was returning home from school. After surviving the assassination attempt, Malala has adamantly continued her work in expanding the rights of children and women world wide. In 2014, Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. At age 18, in 2015, Malala opened a school near the Lebanon-Syria border for Syrian refugees. Despite the struggles she has faced, Yousafzai continues to demonstrate her commitment to making sure that girls around the world are able to access education. Check out this video of Malala speaking in front of the United Nations Youth Assembly. Attached below are two links, one to an interview between Malala and Teen Vogue and the other to the Malala Fund describing her work in greater detail.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a feminist Nigerian writer whose works have included non-fiction essays to short story to novels. All of Adichie’s work revolves around feminism and contemporary African literature. In 2012, Adichie presented a TEDx talk entitled “We should all be feminists.” In her presentation, Adichie shares her experiences of being an African feminist, and her views on the social construction of gender and sexuality. Her presentation gained over five million views and went on to be sampled in Beyoncé’s hit-song “Flawless.” In the same year as her TEDx talk, Adichie released a book long essay entitled We Should All Be Feminists. Most recently, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie released Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions published in 2017. Adichie has received many awards for all of her writings and is recognized as a New York Times Best Selling Author. In 2008, she was the recipient of the MacAruther Genius Grant. Below is a link to her website to check out more of her writing and information followed by a famous quote she gave in her TEDx Talk.

I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better

Excerpt from “We Should All Be Feminists” TEDx Talk 2012

GRETA THUNBERG

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who is internationally known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action against climate change. Thunberg gained notice as she adamantly confronted world leaders directly and criticized them for failing to take sufficient action to prevent climate change. Greta is most well known for her local movement to organize student strikes for climate change that developed into an international phenomenon. In 2018, Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference and participated in the following year in the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit. Despite Greta only being 18 years-old, she has proven herself a force to be reckoned with. Thunberg was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and featured as the youngest Time magazine’s Person of the Year. In addition to all of her accolades, Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for three consecutive years. Check out Greta’s speech in the link below as well as an article to learn more about Thunberg’s current projects.

Laverne Cox, Malala Yousaifza, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Greta Thunberg all demonstrate the power and capability of women to advocate and progress global agendas for social justice. However, the stories do not end with these four individuals. There are so many women who have contributed and continue to contribute to the fight for women’s equality, equity, and international justice. We highly encourage you to use this month to reflect on the amazing work of women all around the world. Although the celebration of women is not solely subjected to the month of March, it is a great place to find motivation and inspiration to start your research into these amazing global advocates and activists. We hope you enjoyed this post on the 255 and look forward to seeing you next week. Lastly, we would like to remind everyone to be kind, stay safe, and celebrate women!!

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