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For International Women’s Day 2017: 5 Women Reaching for Gender Equality

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Fighting Gender Equality is Hard Work, Like Exercise

Let’s Aim for Women and Men to be Equals.

The day is almost here! March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017. I hope this special day will be full of actions that help move the world toward being gender equal. On IWD, which dates back to 1908, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of women around the globe. Here are five of the many women championing for equal rights for women:

Manal al-Sharif

As a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif inspired a campaign for women’s right to drive. She went against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and was imprisoned for nine days after filming herself driving a vehicle and then posting it to YouTube.

Her 2011 Women2Drive campaign put pressure on the government to change the law, particularly when social media picked up the story of this woman who questioned why women did not have the same rights as men. She continues to speak out about female oppression in her country.

Alma Gomez

In the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, Alma Gomez campaigns against feminicide. She co-wrote a chapter of the Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Americas book, as well as penning several articles on the killing of women who were involved in human rights causes.

Gomez talks about institutional sexism, meaning that females are discriminated against in society and men are given better opportunities. She works with equality campaign organizations in Chihuahua and around the world.

Naomi Wolf

American author and feminist activist Naomi Wolf is perhaps best known for her book The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women that published in 1991. This book was a bestseller, and Wolf became a founding figure in third-wave feminism. Her suggestion that the pressure on women to look young, slim, and beautiful was the latest way men are exerting power over women was revolutionary and generated important discussions.

Wolf’s book vigorously focused on women who seemed to have it all but were physically and emotionally pained by trying to look like celebrities. She continues to share her views on social media and news sites about gender inequalities.

https://twitter.com/lola_vendetta/status/702531788846047233

Julia Gillard

In addition to being the former Austrian Prime Minister (2010-2013), Julia Gillard is a prominent advocate for bettering education systems for girls around the world. She explains that if educational structures are not improved, girls will be left behind.

She is currently a patron of Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education. Camfed fights poverty and inequality by providing supports for girls to attend primary schools and stand up for their rights. Gillard has spoken extensively about universal education and improving education for girls in developing countries.

Global statistics on children out of school

Screenshot from teachermagazine.com of an infographic on out-of-school children around the world.

Malala Yousafzai

In 2012, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in Northwest Pakistan after she wrote a BBC Diary defending girls’ rights and speaking out against the Taliban’s ban on girls from school there. Today she is at the forefront of the women’s change movement and the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

She reminds us that we are never too young to advocate for change and not to be scared away from a mission. She founded the Malala Fund with her father, co-wrote I am Malala, and, on her 18th birthday, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls.

Celebrating and Empowering Women

Making changes, no matter how big or small, are possible, as these five amazing women illustrate for us. No matter what part of the world you live in, I encourage you to organize and participate in activities that encourage gender equality on Women’s International Day 2017 and beyond. By celebrating the accomplishments of females, we are helping move toward an environment in which women and girls are equal to males.

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68 Comments

  1. Good evening 🐞

    Reply
  2. Teagan Geneviene March 6, 2017

    Exceptional post, Christy! I was counting on you to do something for Women’s Day, and you surpassed expectations. Well done.
    First thing this morning I was feeling a lot of what you quoted Ms. Wolf, “Her suggestion that the pressure on women to look young, slim, and beautiful was the latest way men are exerting power over women”… and indulged myself in a little FaceBook rant. LOL.
    Celebrating you on IWD. Hugs.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      Your comments are always so heartfelt and for that I thank you, Teagan. You have been a long-time supporter of this blog and that encouragement has helped me keep publishing here. Knowing there is a readership who wants to participate in advancing women’s rights means a lot to me. You are making a difference and I celebrate YOU on IWD xx

    2. Teagan Geneviene March 9, 2017

      You’re too kind, Christy. I do try… hopefully little grains of sand add up to a beach. Have a thriving Thursday. Mega hugs!

  3. Aquileana March 6, 2017

    I am curious about Naomi Wolf and will look for more information about her book, as I have always felt that Beauty patterns could become a burden as they tend to underestimate and objectify women. At the same time, women endorse those social dictums, as they are seen as “legit”, which pretty much leads us down a blind alley… It could seem just an aesthetic point, but it has an enourmous signifiance, as I see it. Very inspiring post, dear CB 🌹💐 have a great week and women’s day~~

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      You make many good points here, Aqui, and it’s awareness on the part of both men and women that will bring change. I think that’s what you are saying at the core here. We all need to step up for change. I appreciate your support here. I know we’re in a changing state but our golden time will come again, dear you xx

    2. Aquileana March 9, 2017

      Yes, Christy… I know what you mean, and I have the same feeling!… Much love. xo :)

    3. Christy B March 9, 2017

      Love you, Aqui!! :)

    4. Aquileana March 9, 2017

      Love you too, dear CB <3

    5. Teagan Geneviene March 9, 2017

      I agree that Aquileana is absolutely right.
      From my perspective, I have known far too many women who knowingly buy-into the objectification, women who will do anything for male approval. I’ve given up trying to analyze or even understand them. Their way of thinking and “advice” is a “slow” poison that seeps into others. Time for work… Hugs all around!

    6. Aquileana March 9, 2017

      I hear you! Many women look ridiculous trying to please Man in general (not their man, which could be understandable). What is grotesque is that it is a little differentiated behavior, since the expressions are often the same. “Generality” becomes a social norm. And (as we know) every norm, even if it is subtle, implies coercion.
      Thank you dear Teagan for endorsing my thoughts…
      Many Hugs to Christy & You. <3

    7. Christy B March 9, 2017

      Hi Aqui, I hope you see my comment back to Teagan here… It’s a BOOM moment for me considering what you and I talked about re men lately.. I’m always learning and thank you and Teagan for helping me ((HUGS))

    8. Aquileana March 9, 2017

      True… these comments are absolutely associated with what we were talking about!. Maybe Time makes certain people converge when he wants to send us a “message” ;) Many hugs :D

    9. Christy B March 11, 2017

      Oh yes, timing is so important! :) Thanks Aqui for the update to the discussion here ♥ Happy weekend to you both

    10. Christy B March 9, 2017

      Teagan, you offer a great reminder that we must pay attention to ourselves first and foremost, rather than a man. I have had struggles, as Aquileana knows, so your comment here is spot on! HUGS

  4. Eliza Waters March 6, 2017

    Inspiring women~ As far as we’ve come, there is so much more to do!

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      Indeed, Eliza! Let’s take stock of accomplishments and not stop moving forward

  5. shehannemoore March 6, 2017

    Great post Christy. mind you all your posts always are x x

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      You’re the sweetest, Shey. Happy Women’s Day xx

  6. Jay March 6, 2017

    This is the post we all need right now!

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      It is a scary time in many respects, isn’t it? Thanks for making time here, Jay. I know you’re busy and it means a lot to me

  7. Vanessa Daniela March 6, 2017

    Great post, Christy.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      Thanks Vanessa. The work you are doing on your site is impressive

    2. Vanessa Daniela March 9, 2017

      Thank you, Christy. Trying to work very hard to bring awareness to all subjects thru different mediums, but it is not easy.
      I started reading your book, but I am taking my time absorbing each poem.

    3. Christy B March 9, 2017

      I think some of the best things take time to show up <3 That is how it may be for you to see the results you want… but I can see your blog is already having a positive impact. I hope you are enjoying the book xx

    4. Vanessa Daniela March 9, 2017

      This message made my night. I am enjoying it very much. xx

  8. Mabel Kwong March 7, 2017

    Inspiring list of women, Christy, and women from all over the world, age and background too. It is sad that we are still having conversations that women deserve as much equality as men for so long…but it is only by speaking up that women all over the world can feel encouraged to do what they want to do. Naomi Wolf’s perspective is an interesting one. The way we choose to look and dress and do our makeup is an art in itself, and so naturally some of us women – and men – take pride in their image and looking a certain way. I’m all for that but at the end of the day, I do believe that there is more to a person than looks and the way we treat others – and help others and give them opportunities – is more important.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      I am all for seeing a person’s spirit rather than their makeup ;) I know exactly what you are saying, Mabel! While makeup has its good points, it’s more about making positive changes in the world.. HUGS

  9. macjam47 March 7, 2017

    Fabulous post, Christy. The list of women who are speaking out is impressive. I’m sure there are many more.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      Oh yes, there are many more women to highlight. I would love to write about more of them as they are so encouraging to read and write about. Happy Women’s Day to you! <3

    2. macjam47 March 8, 2017

      And the same back to you, my dear friend.

    3. Christy B March 9, 2017

      Thank you xx

  10. vivachange77 March 7, 2017

    These are inspiring and awesome women. Thanks for introducing them in connection with International Women’s Day.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      My hug for you is HUGE!!

  11. Sheila March 7, 2017

    Thank you for these inspiring stories. I’ll have to look up The Beauty Myth because I’ve always felt that way, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling that way. After reading Versions of the Self, I think you should be added to this list of inspiring women. Your poetry is incredibly inspiring. Happy International Women’s Day!

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      You are most certainly not alone in your feelings about the beauty myth, Sheila. I’m so thankful for your beautiful review of Versions of the Self. You have me feeling so emotional, in a good way, especially on this women’s day. I wish you a beautiful day of love xo

  12. Carol Balawyder March 7, 2017

    What a great reading list, Christy, to celebrate International Women’s Day! <3

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      Thanks Carol, and I wish you a beautiful woman’s day ♥

  13. dgkaye March 7, 2017

    Inspirational post Christy! Wonderful women depicted here for their brevity and empowering actions to use their voice and some, risk their own lives to do so. Happy Women’s Day to you my friend. <3 xo

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      YOU are an inspiring woman, Deb, and for that I thank you. I wish you an amazing Women’s Day xx

    2. dgkaye March 9, 2017

      Aw, I’m truly touched my friend. I hope yours was amazing too. <3 xo

    3. Christy B March 9, 2017

      I meant every word ♥ And happy to hear you are doing well too

    4. dgkaye March 9, 2017

      Huge hugs! xoxo :)

  14. Excellent Christy and have put in the Blogger tonight. thanks Sally.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 8, 2017

      I appreciate you, Sally ♥ May your women’s day be as extraordinary as you are!

  15. Resa March 8, 2017

    Happy Women’s Day, Christy! This post is a wonderful reminder of where we (women) have been, where we are, and where we are headed. Much love and peace! xo

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 9, 2017

      Oh yes, oh yes! Your comment sums it up well, dear Resa <3

  16. Pinkspen March 8, 2017

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Please check out my blog and my post
    https://aladyhoodjourney.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/beboldforchange-on-international-womens-day-2017/
    I would love your feedback!

    Reply
  17. Linnea Tanner March 9, 2017

    Reblogged this on Apollo's Raven and commented:
    This is a wonderful article about influential women around the world that was posted on #blog WhenWomenInspiire by Canadian Author, Poet, and Blogger Christy Birmingham.

    Enjoy and be inspired

    Reply
  18. Marje @ Kyrosmagica March 11, 2017

    Inspiring post Christy, gives such heart and hope, female role models lift us up and empower us.

    Reply
  19. reocochran March 11, 2017

    All kinds of amazing and triumphant stories of women who continue to impact the world. Each one makes such a powerful and unique mark in their country and makes me ashamed at the way we still have to fight and struggle in most of the world to reach equality, Christy! <3

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 11, 2017

      It’s hard to believe sometimes how much is still to be done, but I’m encouraged by the women in this post for sure. Thanks for making time here to applaud these women along with my clapping hands :)

    2. reocochran March 11, 2017

      Yes, I would be happy to do a standing ovation, Christy! xo

  20. Bintangjasa March 12, 2017

    like this..super woman.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 15, 2017

      Bring on the powerful ladies!

  21. ahavaha March 13, 2017

    Excellent post Christy.
    Thanks for sharing.
    And I really liked this line from you.
    “Making changes, no matter how big or small, are possible, as these five amazing women illustrate for us. “

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 15, 2017

      I’m honored by your words :)

  22. irinadim March 16, 2017

    Great post, Christy! They’re all inspiring women, but the bravest are , I think, Malala Yousafzai and Manal al-Sharif . Naomi Wolf speaks for the Western women, and I totally agree with her.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 18, 2017

      Awww it’s wonderful you came to join in the celebration here of these women, Irina <3

    2. irinadim March 21, 2017

      My pleasure, Christy. :)

  23. Maria F. March 17, 2017

    Great selection Chisty, you think of all as usual.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 18, 2017

      Oh sweet friend, thank you for taking the time at my blogs and for joining us in the celebration of women around the world xx

  24. Inese Poga Art plus Life March 21, 2017

    These are outstanding women.
    I think it’s pretty much enough when a woman really enjoys being a woman.
    I cannot see how women feel powerless in countries like Canada and USA because they can pursue everything and be everything.
    There are places on Earth where women really are suppressed and exploited, it’s worth to try giving a hand.
    I find that sometimes people just do not dare enough. Every woman should dare to be confident, relaxed and beautiful. That’s a dream which often comes true with not that huge efforts. I liked what you shared from Naomi Wolf.

    Reply
    1. Christy B March 23, 2017

      Sadly Inese things are not always what they seem and many women in Western society are kept down by patriarchal structures, as unreal as it may seem in this day in age.. Great that you enjoyed the details of Naomi Wolf and thanks for sharing your views! Hugs

  25. imafeministblog September 6, 2017

    This post was such an interesting read, and brings up such important points and issues… well done! Very inspirational women mentioned here!

    The campaign #ImAFeminist: We are for equality, is mentioning topics related to this. It is a recently started campaign that previously have mentioned the topic of why men need feminism as well as this week the issues of the gender pay gap as well as what Intersectionality is about. The campaign also has a Facebook and Twitter page worth checking out, and would love your comments, likes and shares if you enjoy it. If you have any ideas for topics important to feminism worth writing about please tell us. Thanks for checking it out and helping us improve and expand our campaign.

    ImAFeminist: We are for Equality
    E.L.

    Reply
    1. Christy B September 7, 2017

      Your positive words and the campaign you are creating online through your site and social media are radiating hope! Let’s keep going as feminists deserve to be heard :) I just connected with you on Twitter and will check out your site. Thank you!

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