2019: Females who crushed it

Text by: Shirlene Green Newball Photo: Al-lami-Ali

This year has been convulsed by a series of social protests by or for women’s rights, fight for policies, environmental, and other future issues. There were moments where women held the power, took over the show, inspired action, won a game or a prize, or simply enjoyed the moment. 

In 2019, we gave one more step; we know how far we have come, and where we still need to go. Here is a look back in frames of these unforgettable moments.

Nancy Pelosi, a congresswoman from the Democratic Party in the United States of America, became in January the speaker of the House of Representatives. She is the first female to hold this position. 

Jacinda Arden, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, showed a strong commitment against the shooting of two mosques in Christchurch City. She pushed for substantial gun reform laws and also was firm in not mentioning the shooter’s name, just the victims. 

Yaritzia Aparicio, a Mexican actress was the first indigenous woman to be nominated for Best Actress Academy Award for her role in the movie, Roma, produced by Netflix. 

Yumi Ishikawa, is the creator of #KuToo  kutsu (shoe), kutsuu (agony). This hash tag became the icon for Japanese women in a fight to stop using high heel shoes at work as part of a dress code in a conservative and patriarchal nation. Her campaign got over 28,000 signatures on Change.org petition to raise awareness for the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, about the problem.  

Sudanese women, thousand took over the streets to overtrow president Omar Al- Bashir after 30 years ruling. A lot of women led the manifestation. One of them was Alaa Salah, a 22 year-old student dressed in white, who made her voice to be heard in the social uprising.

Joy Harjo, was named Poet Laureate of the United States of America. She is the first indigenous woman to hold this award. She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. In her writing, she incorporates feminist, social poetic traditions, indigenous myths, symbols, values, land, and tribal history. 

Women’s World Cup Football, one of the biggest events in sports, was held in France during the months of June-July.  At the final match between the Netherlands and the United States of America, the crowd shouted “Equal pay! Equal pay” Why? Because for this tournament, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) awarded $30m, but for the men’s team they granted $400m last year, which is almost thirteen times more. The same issue happened with the money given for preparation cost and club compensation.

Olga Misik, age 17 years. This teenager´s photo went viral on news and social media after reading the Russian Constitution to the riot police during a protest against the government for banning the opposition candidates from running for the upcoming elections. She was imprisoned for 12 hours even though she is a minor.

Photo: Vera Oleinikova/BBC

Greta Thunberg, the teenager environmental activist said, ” charge is coming whether they like it or not”. During her visit to the United States of America in September, she inspired millions to join climate strikes globally.

Waad al-Kateab, a Syrian filmmaker produced a documentary titled For Sama, which records her life at a hospital where she met her husband and gave birth to her child during the rage of the brutal war in Aleppo.  It was filmed over five years.

NASA had the first all-female spacealk.  Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir went outside the International Space Station to restore a controller. The mission lasted over seven hours.

According to the New York Times, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has 12 female astronauts in ranks from a total of 38 active ones.

Simone Biles, at age 22 became the world’s artistic gymnast in history.  She owns twenty-five World Championship medals, of which 19 are gold and five were won at the Championship in Stuttgart, Germany this past October in these categories: team all-around, individual all-around, vault, balance beam, and floor.

Northern Ireland made progress on abortion to be decriminalized by March 2020, and same-sex marriage will be legal from January 2020.

Emoji Period, menstruation,   periods,   monthly time, etc. Call it how you want, but there is still a taboo to talk about it with family and friends. Since the emoji is a growing language, Plan International from the United Kingdom created the emoji and partnered with others.  So now, it is available on your phone. 

Las Tesis, a Chilean feminist collective, created the performance A rapist in my way, which was sung and choreographed in many American and European countries. 

Photo: Social Media

Sanna Marin, at age 34 she is the world’s youngest Prime Minister. She was sworn in early December. Marin, is the third woman to hold this position and the youngest in the Finnish history. The government in Finland is a coalition of five parties all headed by women; four of whom are under 35 years old.  

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