A high school student, a Hollywood actress, a comedian. This International Women’s Month, we’re celebrating eight of the world’s most inspirational women.
From the Time’s Up movement to #MeToo, meet the women across the world who are standing up for what they believe in and impacting change across the world for the better.
On February 14, 2018, 17 people tragically died after a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire on students and teachers. The day after the harrowing attacks, student and activist Emma González gave a powerful speech that will go down in history as the day that teenagers started to fight back and voice their opinions on gun crime in the US.
The 18-year-old pushed for stricter gun laws and called out Donald Trump and every politician who has taken donations from the NRA. She told the world that teenagers are “tired of being ignored” and fought against any adults that had bashed her and her fellow pupils for being “too sensitive.”
“Adults are saying that children are disrespectful. But how can we respect people who don’t respect us? We have always been told that if we see something wrong, we need to speak up; but now that we are, all we’re getting is disrespect from the people who made the rules in the first place. Adults like us when we have strong test scores, but they hate us when we have strong opinions.” – Emma González
Since the shootings, Emma has gained more followers than the NRA on her Twitter account and organised March for Our Lives, which is due to take place on March 24.
She may be known for playing Phoebe in Charmed, but Alyssa Milano came back into the press hard last year when on October 15, 2017, she posted a tweet that created a sea of change.
By encouraging people to reply to her tweet using the hashtag #MeToo, millions of people, including multiple Hollywood names, came forward to share their experiences of being sexually harassed or assaulted.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
After the fall of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Alyssa wanted to highlight that this issue isn’t something that just happens in Hollywood, it’s something that affects people everywhere. Speaking to Forbes earlier this month, she said:
“This is so much more than a hashtag. It is hope. Hope that silence won’t be the norm for future generations. Hope that my children will never have to say, ‘Me Too’.”
“I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”
Those are the words that Oprah Winfrey spoke upon accepting her Cecil B. DeMille Award, the most prestigious award at this year’s Gloden Globes. It was the speech that stole the entire evening, where the actor, author, wife and entrepreneur had the audience hanging off of her every word as she addressed not just the #MeToo campaign, but to highlight the abuse and assault that women everywhere have endured over the years.
Oprah’s speech was met with huge applause as she brought hope to what was a very dark time in Hollywood.
Having starred on shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and fronting BBC’s The Mash Report, Rachel Parris’s known for putting a comedic spin on important issues, spreading the word on everything from the gender pay gap to ‘A guide to Serious Journalism’ following Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump.
Rachel’s approach to some of the biggest stories are like a breath of fresh air; because despite the seriousness of the subjects she’s discussing, she’s drawing in the attention of viewers and getting us all talking about things that really matter.
Alongside her Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan rose from the ashes to become one of the many celebrities to share her stories as a victim of sexual assault. One of the first to come forward and share her involvement with Harvey Weinstein, the actress and activist’s decision to speak up about being harassed helped him to be uncovered as one of Hollywood’s biggest serial harasser’s.
“We’re running out of time. I don’t have time to play nice. – Rose McGowan, TIME, December 2017.
Rose went on to become one of the most powerful women of 2017, sharing her stories with anyone who was willing to listen so that people knew they weren’t alone. And alongside Alyssa, Taylor Swift, Ashley Judd and more, Rose was recognised in TIME’s Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers last December and recently released her book, Brave as well as her documentary film, Citizen Rose.
women empowering women is so much more beautiful than tearing each other apart. that is part of the patriarchy that's gotta go. there is room and space for all women to succeed, and even help and support each other at the same time. this experience has changed my outlook and my life, i feel so lucky and blessed to have been so selflessly held up by these insanely talented women that deserved solo performances in their own right. (and @camila_cabello was giving a beautiful speech about equality and dreamers rights as this was happening, which i very vocally support-but we missed you girl❤️❤️)
Kesha is yet more proof that women are not to be messed with, whatever industry they’re involved in. Following a traumatising court battle against producer Dr. Luke in 2016, the Praying singer came back in 2017 stronger than ever before.
And this year she made an outstanding and inspirational return to the stage at the Grammy’s, where she was joined during her performance by some of the world’s biggest female stars including Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels and Bebe Rexha. The super-group joined forces all dressed in white to show their support to the #TimesUp movement, delivering one of the most moving performances of the year.
2017 was a huge year for 22-year-old Dua Lipa. Not only did she release her self-titled debut album, which was the biggest selling female debut of the year, she also toured the world playing dates at Glastonbury and a sold-out show at Birmingham’s O2 Academy – and that was just the beginning.
Ever since, Dua’s broken streaming records on YouTube for her videos for New Rules and IDGAF, she’s been named on Forbes’s 30 Under 30 Europe list, announced another world tour, received the most female nominations ever and picked up two awards at this year’s BRITs…the list goes on.
When accepting her award for British Breakthrough Artist, Dua brought her younger brother and sister on the stage with her, because she wanted to show them that magic was real, and she wanted them to experience it first hand.
You can read our interview with Dua here!
At 23, Ariana Grande faced one of the biggest challenges not just in her career, but in her entire life. After a terrorist attack took place at her Dangerous Woman concert at Manchester Arena, claiming the lives of 22 people, Ariana pulled together a charity concert just two weeks after the incident took place. Some of the world’s biggest artists including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Coldplay took to the stage to play to a huge crowd, some of which had attended Arina’s concert just weeks before.
As well as pulling together One Love Manchester, which raised over £2.35 million for the British Red Cross’s Manchester Emergency Fund, Ariana also went to the hospital to visit victims of the attacks, a huge amount to deal with given the circumstances she was left in. Although Ariana wasn’t always taken seriously in the world of music, where she has been previously criticised by parents for her stage outfits, no-one could argue with the inspirational effort and courage that she showed.