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

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.

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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65 thoughts on “For International Women’s Day 2017: 5 Women Reaching for Gender Equality

  1. 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.

    • 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. 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~~

    • 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

    • 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!

      • 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. ❤

      • 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))

      • 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 😀

      • 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

  3. 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.

    • 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

  4. 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!

    • 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

  5. 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. ❤ xo

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 8th March 2017 – Olga Nunez Miret, Geoff Le Pard, D.G. Kaye, Christy Birmingham and Norah Colvin | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  7. 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

  8. 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! ❤

  9. 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. “

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    • 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

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