Malala’s Girls and #HeforShe: #IWD2016
In celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8th, global voices join this week to celebrate the achievements of women, both historically and in real time. But this week also highlights issues of gender disparity worldwide, with calls for commitment to #PledgeforParity. The hashtags #IWD2016 #InternationalWomenDay and #FelizDiaDeLaMujer are trending on Twitter and throughout social media today.
The Google Doodle above features a multilingual, multicultural vision of many girls and women called #OneDayIWill that includes global animal rights advocate and planet guardian extraordinaire, Jane Goodall, who has taken to social media in the past year with a growing movement for saving our environment, including live Facebook video chats. Not bad for an 80+year old!
Let’s shine a spotlight on a few inspiring voices driving the equality dialogues this year:
Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan had a dream: to go to school. She started a blog at the age of 11, advocating for girls education. Her reward? The Taliban boarded her school bus one morning and attempted to assassinate her. Except she didn’t die. Airlifted to England, she underwent extensive surgeries and her face bears witness to her injuries. But that didn’t stop Malala. She has dedicated her young life to speaking out on behalf of girls education. She spent her 16th birthday addressing the United Nations and, in 2015, at the age of 18, became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then she has worked tirelessly for girls and youth education initiatives, including bringing special attention to refugee children who due to no fault of their own, have been taken out of the education system due to dislocation from war-torn regions, living in limbo awaiting asylum in safer havens.
About The Malala Fund:
As succinctly stated by GirlsRising.org,
Educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.
Educated girls stand up for their rights, marry and have children later, educate their own children, and their families and communities thrive. Yet millions of girls around the world face barriers to education that boys do not. Removing barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery and sex trafficking means not only a better life for girls, but a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all.
Emma Watson, millennial icon of the Harry Potter series, and now Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, has taken her #HeforShe campaign to expansive forums with a huge positivity response online that includes vocal support from President Obama, Actor/Activist Matt Damon and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.
Watson’s #HeforShe address at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 20, 2014 has garnered over 1.7 million YouTube views:
Watson recently announced that she was taking a break from acting to focus on her work as an ambassador for the United Nation’s #HeForShe initiative for gender equality.
Watson has received criticism about her position of privilege as a white wealthy feminist, which has been levied toward feminists since the 70s Second Wave, calling for a much-needed discussions of diversity and the ways gender inequality affects individuals and communities along racial lines. She has used her social media channels to promote dialogue with her characteristic thoughtfulness:
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) October 9, 2015
Here is the text of that moving speech:
‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’
That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.
You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.
And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union: Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy. Thank you.
The newly elected prime minister of Canada wasted no time this year in promoting a millennial agenda for gender equity when he announced his inaugural cabinet would be 50% female. When the press asked why, Trudeau famously answered, “Because it’s 2015.”
Watch this clip of his discussion at the 2016 World Economic Forum with Facebook CFO Sheryl Sanders:
Aziz Ansari, whose successful 2015 Netflix series, “Master of None,” explored issues of diversity, millennial dating, and the conundrums of mainstream representation, put him on the map as an important refreshing storyteller, reaching beyond his previous roles and appearances. He has also been outspoken in labeling himself as a feminist, as this GIF underscores:
And of course a discussion of 2015-16 bold moves in the realms of all genres of taboos in gender boxes would not be complete without Amy Schumer’s series, Inside Amy Schumer, which explored, age, sexism, racism, sexuality and “the universe” with bold hilarity, especially in this vignette featuring Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis Dreyfuss, “Last F**kable Day”:
Add your favorite voices to the chorus of gender equality changemaking in the comments below! And celebrate all the girls and women, boys and men out there putting themselves to the test of crossing the gender lines.