Influential Women of the World

BY: AMARAH DIN

Every year on March 8th, people from across the globe come together to discuss the issues that women face and how society can progress in caring for women. This day is known as International Women’s Day. In order to further commemorate and honor the contributions of women in history and society, beginning in the 1980s, March was declared as Women’s History Month. Instead of waiting for others to make change, there are women who spark movements themselves. These women have crossed boundaries and broken glass ceilings to help their communities and the world. In the spirit of Women’s History Month, here are some extraordinary women you should get to know.

Malala Yousafzai

Yousafzai is an activist for girls’ education. She’s been advocating for a girl’s right to education ever since the terrorist group, the Taliban, banned women from attending school. After speaking out against the injustices in 2012, she was shot by a member of the Taliban; fortunately, she survived. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of seventeen. She now attends Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Get to know about her current activism:

https://malala.org/

@Malala on Instagram and Twitter

Nadya Okamoto

At sixteen-years-old, Okamoto co-founded the organization, PERIOD, to provide menstrual aid to girls in need after experiencing homelessness in herst years of high school. The organization distributes pads, tampons, and menstrual cups to people experiencing period poverty. PERIOD has served over 850,000 periods globally and hopes to destigmatize the topic of menstruation. In 2018, Okamoto wrote the book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement. She has sparked dire conversations about the reality of menstruation and has helped so many girls with their struggles. Take a look at the organization’s goals and find a chapter near you:

https://www.period.org/

@NadyaOkamoto on Instagram and Twitter

Greta Thunberg

Thunberg is widely known for her environmental concerns and protests. The seventeen-year-old from Sweden started the movement, #FridaysForFuture, to promote the creation of climate policies regarding the crisis affecting the earth right now. She has faced much backlash from climate change-deniers, but persists in raising awareness and rightfully demanding climate action. Get to know about her movement:

https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/

@GretaThunberg on Instagram and Twitter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez is the U.S. House Representative for New York’s District 14. Majoring in International Relations and Economics, AOC graduated from Boston University in 2011. She has proposed legislation like the Green New Deal to combat climate change. Her goal as a congresswoman is to provide justice for people of all races, genders, economic backgrounds, etc. Get to know about her goals for America:

https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/

@AOC on Instagram and Twitter

Helena Gualinga

Gualinga lives in Sarayaku, Ecuador, a part of the Amazon Rainforest. The indigenous people that make up her community have faced oil companies taking over their land and destroying everything in sight. At the 25th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, Gualinga called out world leaders for not doing enough to combat the lasting effects of environmental injustice against native people. She speaks for indigenous groups all over the world. Learn about activism within the indigenous community:

https://www.wecaninternational.org/post/people-power-rises-for-climate-justice-at-cop25

@HelenaGualinga on Instagram / @SumakHelena on Twitter

Yara Shahidi

Shahidi is a model, actress, and activist. She inspires black girls through her role in the shows, Black-ish and Grown-ish, and many others; she has shown continuous support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Shahidi co-founded an organization called, Eighteen x 18, which encourages the youth to vote and also started Yara’s Club through the Young Women’s Leadership Network of New York to tackle poverty through education. She currently attends Harvard University where she is double majoring in sociology and African-American studies. Get to know about her organization:

https://www.eighteenx18.com/

@YaraShahidi on Instagram and Twitter

Roxane Gay

Gay is the author of best-selling books, such as, Bad Feminist, Hunger, and Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. She often discusses the importance of girls breaking societal standards. She mainly writes fiction, but a lot of her work is about the struggles of being a queer black woman and dealing with eating disorders. Her work is eye-opening and inspirational to many readers. Learn more about Gay’s past and her literature:

http://www.roxanegay.com/

@roxanegay74 on Instagram / @rgay on Twitter

Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex is known for her acting career and relation to the Royal Family, but Markle has been an activist since her youth. Early on, she protested against the Gulf War and sexist television ads, and she volunteered at soup kitchens in her teenage years. As a growing actress, she began speaking out against sexism within the industry and in foreign countries. She regularly visits and donates to struggling communities. She is an inspiration to young girls around the world. Take a look at the organizations and charities Meghan Markle supports:

https://www.royal.uk/wedding-charity-donations

Emma Gonzalez

After surviving the 2018 Parkland school shooting, Emma and her classmates have continuously fought for gun control in Florida. They started the March For Our Lives movement, which sparked a nation-wide school walkout. Students all over the United States have hosted protests, marches, and walkouts since then. Emma has called out the National Rifle Association for their blatant disregard of the death by gun violence statistics in America. Her outspokenness inspires students to demand change. Learn more about the movement:

https://marchforourlives.com/

@emmawise18 on Instagram / @Emma4Change on Twitter

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