International Women’s Day – A 2019 Round-Up

March 6, 2020

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women across the globe and all they have achieved to create a fairer world. On International Women’s Day 2020, we thought we would take this opportunity to celebrate some of the women who have made an impact over the past year to the environment, politics, arts, sports and literature sectors amongst others.

1. Greta Thunberg

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg was already making a name for herself on International Women’s Day 2019, but this year her impact is being even more keenly felt. Whether she’s sailing across the world to attend a climate change conference, rallying for all to start doing something to stop climate change or challenging some of the world’s top politicians, there’s no doubt Greta Thunberg is a powerful woman who will continue to influence people across the world to make a difference.

2. Lizzo

American singer Lizzo, is a champion of body-positivity and self-worth with her key message being to love who you are and never let your size or shape dictate how you feel or what you wear. With lyrics like ‘I am my inspiration’ and ‘I know I’m a queen but I don’t need no crown,’ if you want to feel empowered, confident and positive, listen to some Lizzo!

3. Baroness Hale

In 2019, Baroness Brenda Hale delivered the verdict that Boris Johnson’s attempted proroguing of parliament was ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’ and stopped undemocratic politics in its tracks. The legal expert is the first female head of the Supreme Court and since becoming so, has fought for better gender representation among the UK’s high court.

4. Jessica Meir and Christina Koch

In October 2019, NASA delivered its first all-women spacewalk. It was delayed by a few months due to the lack of appropriately sized spacesuits available. Only large, rather than the medium size needed for the women, were available, showing that space travel was formerly designed with only men in mind. On 18th October, Meir and Koch spent seven hours outside the International Space Station replacing a failed power control unit, making history in the process.

5. Sinéad Burke

In 2019, disability activist, Sinéad Burke became the first little person to appear on the cover of Vogue. Last year she also launched her first podcast which aims to challenge stereotypes and encourage people to make a difference to the world we live in.

In a powerful speech in 2017, Burke recalled how she was unable to reach the locks on toilet doors and since then she has called for design to be more accessible, challenging some of the biggest names in fashion to make clothing more inclusive in the process. Her TED talk, ‘Why design should include everyone’ will make you re-think the world of fashion.

6. Onjali Rauf

Onjali Rauf is the author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2019. She is also the founder of Making Herstory which aims to end the abuse, enslavement and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond.

7. Fiona Kolbinger

In 2019, German medical student Fiona Kolbinger became the first woman ever to win the Transcontinental Race, a gruelling cycle race which spans 4,000km from Bulgaria to France. She completed it in 10 days and beat 264 competitors, most of which were male. She was almost six hours ahead of the second person to cross the finish line too!

8. Sanna Marin

In 2019, Sanna Marin became the world’s youngest Prime Minister at just 34 years old. Since 2012 she has been an active politician in Finland and in 2019 she was elected to lead a coalition government led entirely by women. How inspiring is that?

9. Bethany Firth

In 2019, British Paralympic swimmer, Bethany Firth was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to swimming. The four-time Paralympic gold medallist and multiple world record holder overcame her fear of water after falling into a pool as a toddler to become Britain’s most decorated athlete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

10. Scarlett Curtis

In 2019, Scarlett Curtis followed up her successful 2018 book Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) with It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue (and other lies), an anthology of essays from high profile people about their mental health. Both books open up conversations around feminism, what it means to be a woman in modern society and mental health. She is also the founder of feminist activist collective The Pink Protest and in November 2019 she was awarded the annual Changemaker Award for young activists by Equality Now.

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